Fresh homemade bread is a wonderful accompaniment to just about any meal. It tastes amazing, and guests always seem really impressed by it (even though it’s darn easy to make!) Usually I like to serve more of a plain bread or roll with crack compound herb butter, but this time I decided to try a recipe with the herbs mixed right into the dough. This recipe was really interesting to me because the method was slightly non-conventional. You mix up the yeast dough as you normally would, but you don’t knead it. You don’t transfer it to an oiled bowl to rise – just leave it in the mixing bowl. Then scoop it into muffin tins, let rise a little longer and bake. Pretty low maintenance as dinner rolls go. I also loved the added detail of the fresh herb pressed into the top of each roll. It provided a nice elegant touch, and made for some lovely rolls.
2 tsp. salt
4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 cups bread flour
½ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme, sage, basil, dill, etc.)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. milk
Whole fresh herb leaves (for topping)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and salt on medium-high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the yeast, sugar, milk, melted butter and flour. Stir until a dough forms. Beat in the chopped fresh herbs until incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Generously butter 18 muffin cups. Punch the dough down. Scoop the batter, dividing it evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise about 45 minutes more, until slightly puffed.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Uncover the rolls and brush the tops lightly with the beaten egg mixture. Gently press a fresh herb leaf into the top of each roll so that it adheres completely. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (Note: I had to run a small paring knife around the edge of each roll to get them to release from the pan.) Let cool before serving.