Never heard of Kamut®? It’s an ancient grain, and I give a brief overview of what it is and why we use it in Ancient Wheat — a Potential Alternative to Gluten Free. These rolls involve time — mixing and kneading — but it’s a relaxing, introspective process.
You’re going to want a mixer of some sort. If you’ve got a KitchenAid — wow, I envy you — but a mixer with dough hooks works well. This recipe makes 24 rolls; I generally make 12 rolls and refrigerate the other half of the dough for a later day — the sugar in the dough gives the yeast something to nibble on during refrigeration.
2 cups liquid (I used cold tea left over from breakfast, but water will do, or milk, coffee, or a combination; warm the liquid until it feels like hot tub water)
1 cup sour cream (this adds texture and moistness to the final dough; you could use yogurt as well)
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
1/3 cup sugar (honey works as well, or maple syrup, agave syrup — just nothing artificial with unpronounceable, chemical-laden ingredients produced in a laboratory)
1/2 cup oil (I used coconut oil, which is hard at room temperature and needed to be melted; olive oil’s tasty as well; butter’s fine, melted)
Kamut® flour — 8-10 cups — how much flour your eventually use depends upon the flour itself and the humidity in the air.
In a large bowl, mix the tea, sour cream, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil. Add 2 cups Kamut® flour and beat in; beat for three minutes. If you are using a hand mixer and you move it around, choose a direction — clockwise or counterclockwise — and stick with it; while this sounds weird, it’s not — the gluten in the flour (which enables the dough to expand when the yeast does its growing thing) is developed through the beating process, and when you move the mixer in the same direction, the gluten stretches as opposed to breaks. Kamut’s® gluten needs this beating process to fully develop and stretch, and the more time you spend with the beater, the less time you spend hand kneading. It’s oddly relaxing, moving yourself and the beater around and around and around, with the added benefit that people take one look at you doing this and they generally leave you alone.
Add the two eggs and beat for another three minutes. They should be thoroughly incorporated.
Over the next ten minutes, add two more cups of flour, beating the entire time. You can add the flour a cup at a time, and beat five minutes between each, or you can sprinkle the flour in one tablespoon at a time. You should have a fairly thick batter, coming close to being a soft dough.
Add 1/2 cup flour; beat for three minutes.
Add another 1/2 cup flour; beat for three more minutes. By now your dough should be pretty thick and soft, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Stir in 1 cup of flour. Spread 1 cup of flour on your kneading surface, and then dump your dough atop. Over the next 15-20 minutes, knead the dough, incorporating up to 2 more cups of flour — 1 tablespoon at a time — into the dough. Do not rush this process, or try to force flour into the dough at a faster rate. Knead, and when the flour on the table is used up, add a tablespoon, then knead some more.
As time goes by, you will notice the dough growing softer and more pliable. Eventually, you want to be able to knead the dough without any additional flour at all, but if you never get to this point and 20 minutes has gone by, then call it a day. Oil a bowl, plop the dough in, turn it to be oiled on all sides, and cover it with a damp towel.
Set the dough aside to rise in a warm place (room temperature’s fine, as long as you don’t live in an igloo) for one hour.
Punch the dough down. Divide it in two; set one half, covered, in the refrigerator to be used another day (bring it back to room temperature before you shape it). Divide the other half into 12 rolls and place in a greased pan (and of course, if you want 24 rolls, use all of the dough and don’t store any in the refrigerator).
Cover the shaped rolls and let rise for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, heat the oven to 385 degrees. When the oven is heated, bake the rolls for 25 minutes, then briefly check them — they should be browned on top and lightly browned on the bottom; if not, bake longer in five minute increments. Kamut® bread products have a tendency to bake faster than bread made with contemporary wheat flour.
When the rolls are done, run a stick of butter over the tops and let melt in. This softens and flavors the tops.
This makes great pizza dough as well.
This article was originally published in ThoughtfulWomen.org.