I grew up eating crescent rolls out of a can. You know, the ones made by the company whose name rhymes with Phillsbury? Yup, those are the ones! And those are good, but nowadays they are a special treat because they are loaded with calories and a host of other unpronounceable ingredients. I wanted to make a dinner roll that was lighter in calories, tasted great, looked beautiful, and was easy to make so that I could share it with you. Let me introduce you to these wonderful low-fat, golden, light and airy dinner rolls. I think you’ll become fast friends.
crescent dinner rolls
from the book Modern Baker, by Nick Malgeiri
note: this makes 12 crescent shaped dinner rolls
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup warm water
egg wash: 1 large egg white whisked with a pinch of salt
Line two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans with parchment paper.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir to combine. Stir in the oil, making sure it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Add the yeast and water to the mixture. With the mixer set on low, mix the dough for 2 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it over so that the top is oiled. Press plastic wrap against the surface and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press it into a rough square. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 6 pieces. Form each piece into a rough sphere and cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
To roll the dough, take one of the pieces of dough and flour it lightly. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it with a rolling pin to make a thin rectangle of dough about 12 inches long and 3.5 inches wide. If the dough resists, set it aside, cover, and roll another piece. After the first piece has rested for a few minutes, it will roll out more easily.
Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the rectangle down the middle from one corner to the diagonal corner, forming two long triangles. Starting with the wide end of the triangle, roll the dough towards the shorter end. Repeat with the remaining rectangles.
Place the crescents on the prepared pans. Cover the pans with a towel or oiled plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise until they are not quite doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
About 15 minutes before the rolls are fully risen, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush the rolls with the egg white mixture. Bake the rolls until they are well risen, about 15 minutes. Switch the pans from top to bottom and from front to back. Continue baking until the rolls are a deep golden color, about 10 minutes longer. Slide the rolls on the parchment paper onto a rack to cool.