This is one of the more successful bread recipes I’ve made. I usually botch every bread dough I attempt, either it becomes too shaggy or too wet, to a point where I’ve gotten used to just playing with a wet dough and convincing myself that “It’s all good” and that “It’s just bread!” Deep inside I’m frustrated why it won’t just come out like the pretty pictures in my cookbooks. Until this bread!
When I saw the promotion of Claire Saffitz’s new cookbook “Dessert Person,” I knew I had to have it. It’s all about baking, it’s modern, it promises thorough instructions for a foolproof bake. True enough this cookbook includes quite an extensive collection of baked goods. I was even surprised that she included some savory bakes as well. The recipes (and even the pictures) are detailed and exhaustive, perfect for beginners and advanced bakers alike.
Honestly I wanted to make everything! But of course I can’t. I’ll end up eating all of it myself and I’ll get even fatter, so pacing it is. It was hard to pick which recipe to try first, and it became a toss between this sour cream & chives roll and Claire’s famous focaccia recipe. I’m obsessed with anything sour cream and garlic flavored so I chose this bread first.
I’ve made dinner rolls before so making a “tangzhong” wasn’t exactly new to me. For this bake though, I now understood that a tangzhong—which is a combination of flour, milk, and water—helps enhance the dough’s capability to retain moisture. This will make the bread soft, pillowy, and feather-y, everything you want in a pull-apart dinner roll.
But I did screw up a little on this recipe. I used an old batch of yeast, which then resulted to a minimal rise in my dough. By then I felt like my old self again, botching yet another crucial step. Lo and behold it didn’t completely ruined the whole thing. I followed all of Claire’s instructions to a tee, waited patiently for two whole proofs before I was able to finally pop it in the oven and realized I made it exactly as the pictures showed me.
I realized this is quite a forgiving bread recipe, and that I should always use fresh yeast (or at least keep them in a sealed container in the fridge). Even then this bread was delicious. Decadent, yes! I mean Claire Saffitz wanted me to lather more butter on top as finish. I obliged! Our house smelled warm and savory. Once cool, the bread portion peels in a dreamy fashion, like sliced pizza, stretchy and tender. This bread was as easy as it was delicious! Thanks, Claire Saffitz!