Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls and Poppy Seed Crackers.

by Anna Buckley

IMG_9922[1]These rolls and crackers use the same dough base but produce two very different yummy treats…both are ridiculously easy.

I was motivated to make them because I’d learnt how to harvest poppy seeds over the weekend.
20160107_160150.jpgWe were staying at Cherry and Clarke’s gorgeous country house for the weekend. Cherry has a way with all things green and I’m always amazed at how she’s transformed a few empty hillside paddocks into this breathtaking garden. I wrote about it more extensively here.

20160107_160415.jpgShe is a woman of great style and thinks of everything to make us jaded city folk feel welcome.

20160108_123516.jpgOne of the first things we do is go for a walk around the property. We’d reached this rather sad looking bed and I wondered why she hadn’t replaced the poppies with something new for her picking garden. So she told me to hold out my hand, picked a dried pod and shook the contents into my palm. Out tumbled hundreds of little black seeds.

“Thought you might like to see where real poppy seeds come from!” she responded cheekily.

20160108_185746.jpgSo we snipped off the dried heads. Placed them in a big bowl…

20160108_194352.jpgAnd shook until we had a nice little stash of the seeds.

Always generous Cherry loaded us up with all sorts of delicious things from her garden to take back to the city. I felt compelled to make something special that honored the precious little black seeds and the wonderful woman who had grown them. This is what I came up with…

 

PULL-APART DINNER ROLLS AND POPPY AND CHEDDAR CRACKERS

The recipe I’m giving you today makes enough dough to produce both crackers and rolls. The entire process will take a few hours and is a good thing to do on a lazy weekend morning. If you think you don’t have time to do both just halve the following BASIC DOUGH recipe. Apart from rising and cooking time the rolls are quick and easy to make. The crackers, although really easy as well, are labour intensive and will take about an hour to press out by hand. Making the crackers is a good job to do with a friend…with a nice glass of bubbles to help you along the way.

IMG_9922[1]INGREDIENTS

BASIC DOUGH*

1 kg pkt or 8 cups plain flour (all purpose)

4 cups warm water

2 sachets or 2 tablespoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon cooking(regular) salt

*this is a great basic yeast dough that I use for bread, pizza and rolls

EXTRAS

2 cups plain flour (for kneading)

1/2 cup poppy seeds (for crackers)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds (for rolls)

1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup salt flakes

1 cup milk

1/2 cup olive oil
IMG_9871[1] Start by mixing yeast with warm water.

IMG_9873[1] In a large mixing bowl combine pkt of flour with cooking salt. Mix with hands until salt is evenly distributed.

IMG_9875[1] Add water/yeast combo and mix till a sticky dough is formed.

IMG_9876[1] Tip dough onto floured surface and knead until a smooth ball is formed. This should take no more than a minute or two.

IMG_9877[1] Divide dough in half. Form one half into a ball.

IMG_9878[1] Put this first ball into lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a nice warm place to rise.

IMG_9880[1] With other half of the dough place on floured work surface and slightly flatten it. Drizzle and smear both sides with a little olive oil and then continue to flatten dough with fingers until a rough rectangle forms. The oil lubricates the dough and stops it from tearing and shrinking back on itself (I use this technique for making huge slab pizzas because it’s so much easier and quicker than using a rolling-pin).

IMG_9881[1] Onto the flattened dough sprinkle cheese and about 1/3 cup of poppy seeds.

IMG_9882[1] Roll dough into long sausage.

IMG_9884[1] When thick sausage is formed cut in half and put two pieces on top of each other. Then roll into same sized sausage again.

IMG_9886[1] Repeat this process 3 to 4 times until cheese and poppy seeds are evenly mixed through.

IMG_9887[1] Place dough on floured tea towel and loosely wrap so that dough is completely covered. Set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.

You will now have two separate yeast dough’s quietly rising away. On a warm day this should take about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. In winter I use my oven to prove dough and the interior should be no hotter than a warm summers day!

PULL-APART DINNER ROLLS

IMG_9889[1] When dough in bowl has doubled in size….

IMG_9890[1] Tip onto floured surface and knead until dough is no longer sticky.

IMG_9891[1] Roll into long sausage.

IMG_9892[1]Cut sausage in half then divide each length into six. You will have 12 pieces of dough but you will need 13!

IMG_9893[1]What I do is take a pinch of dough from each of the 12 to make up the 13th piece. If you want all your rolls to be the same size you can weigh the dough. Each piece generally weighs about 75-80 gms (2 and 3/4 ozs) I like to do this as the finished pattern looks prettier if the rolls are the same size.

IMG_9894[1] Take a round (33cm, 13 in.) non stick, lidded roasting pan and dust interior with flour. If you don’t have one a baking sheet will do.

IMG_9895[1] To make round rolls stretch top of dough tucking in underside as you go. Repeat till surface is smooth and a neat little ball is formed…this will take a bit of practice.

IMG_9899[1] When done flip dough over and pinch underside folds together.

IMG_9896[1] Place first ball, smooth side up, onto centre of pan.

IMG_9897[1] Repeat with six more balls and form ring around first roll…don’t let dough touch.

IMG_9900[1] Place last six balls as a third ring in the gaps of second ring.

IMG_9901[1] Place lid on pan and set aside till dough has doubled in size…about an hour.

Turn oven to 240c. (460 f)

IMG_9912[1]Lift lid and brush with milk.

IMG_9914[1]Sprinkle remaining poppy seeds over rolls then add a pinch or two of salt flakes.

IMG_9916[1] Place lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. Using the lidded method creates a steam environment which will aid in the rising of the rolls. Don’t worry if you are only using a baking sheet… they might not be quite so fluffy but will still be bloody delicious regardless!

After thirty minutes remove lid and bake rolls till golden…about another 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Allow to cool then serve with lashings of butter…YUM!

IMG_9920[1]

 

POPPY SEED AND CHEDDAR CRACKERS

While your rolls are proving and baking you can begin to make the crackers.

IMG_9905[1] Start by taking a small ball of the cheddar/poppy dough, lightly flatten with your fingers, then smear a little olive oil on both sides.

IMG_9906[1] Place this on work surface and flatten till thin.

IMG_9907[1] Take this thinned dough, place on non-stick baking sheet and continue to flatten and spread until dough becomes almost paper-thin.

IMG_9908[1] When you have filled the tray coat each piece of flattened dough with milk and sprinkle over salt flakes. It takes quite a while to press out the crackers so while I’m working on the second tray I like to get the first started in the oven and get a bit of a production line going…

Bake in same hot 240c (460f) oven (as your rolls cook) until crackers are golden brown… for about 8-10 minutes depending on your oven.

IMG_9913[1]Some crackers will cook faster than others so I always have tongs ready to remove the darkest ones first.

IMG_9917[1] When cooked allow crackers to cool on wire rack. They should be very crisp when cool and dried. Both rolls and crackers can be placed in zip lock bag and frozen.

IMG_9921[1]

Serve with your favorite dip or a big chunk of Parmesan cheese…and a nice cold glass of Prosecco!

Cheers, Anna x

Anna Buckley Books

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