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~Go Back to School: One-Skillet Chicken Parmesan~

IMG_3112I do not miss getting up with the birds to get three kids off to school.  That said, on Tuesday morning, 7:45AM on-the-dot, when I'm laying in bed and I hear the brakes squeal on the school bus, at the school bus stop across the street and just outside our bedroom window,  I won't be able to not reminisce about how much I do not miss the organized, orchestrated, whirlwind chaos. School shopping, lunches, after-school activities, fund-raisers, homework, playtime, bedtime -- and, of course, getting a really good meal on the dinner table in the midst of it all.

IMG_4955Lot's of busy moms turn to the slow cooker to help them through these trying times.  I rarely did, because most recipes can't be cooked to perfection in a Crockpot.  When my kids went back to school, my electric skillet was my go-to secret weapon.  There's more: my family preferred a skillet dinner over a Crockpot dinner -- unless it was my chili or pulled-pork sandwiches.

In terms of countertop appliances, I think the 16" electric skillet is one of the most versatile.  Its big surface area allows you to pan-fry or saute an array of foods (meatballs, hamburgers, steaks and/or chops) in one large batch -- enough to feed a family of 6.  It's great for making pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and, reheating late-night leftover pizza.  You can even boil water in it to cook a lot of pasta or ravioli.  My favorite feature (which you can't easily do on the stovetop) is:  On the warm setting, with the lid kept on, your on-the-go family can grab a hot meal when it is convenient for them -- in between inconveniently scheduled activities.

1 electric skillet + 1 baking pan = stress-free, mess-free chicken parmesan

IMG_2957My method for making chicken parmesan takes all of the stressful mess out of making chicken parmesan and I came up with it all by myself.  I think you know what I am talking about -- conventional methods require three pans (one for IMG_2961a dry flour dredge, one for a wet egg dip, and, one for a breadcrumb coat).  It's not hard to do, but, by the time you're done, you have quite a mess to cleanup before you even start to saute the parmesan.  I figured out a way to eliminate 99.9% of the cleanup.  Read on:

I'm limiting all of the mess to 1, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan lined with plastic wrap and parchment paper, and, when I'm done, I don't even have to wash the baking pan.

IMG_2964~ Step 1.  Place 10 chicken tenderloins on prepared pan. Cover tops of tenders with plastic wrap and using a flat-sided meat mallet lightly-pound them into thinner cutlets (don't smash them).

~ Step 2.  Season and sprinkle tops with freshly ground sea salt, peppercorn blend and Wondra flour.  Flip them over.  Salt, pepper and flour the second sides.  Set aside 5-10 minutes, to allow the IMG_2983flour time to absorb moisture.

IMG_2978~ Step 3.  In a 1-cup measuring container, using a fork, whisk 3 large eggs with 1/4 cup water.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Using your fingertips, flip each piece of chicken back and forth, two or three times, until it is completely coated in egg mixture.

IMG_2994 IMG_2986~ Step 4. Top each piece of chicken with about 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs (about 1 1/4 total cups of panko breadcrumbs).  Using your fingertips, pat and press the breadcrumbs onto the tops.  Don't flip the chicken over.  We'll coat the second sides in the next step.

IMG_3000 IMG_3006~ Step 5.  With skillet at 150 degrees melt 4 tablespoons salted butter into 4 tablespoons olive oil.  Add chicken to pan, crumb coated sides down.  Coat 2nd sides w/panko and press it in.

IMG_3042 IMG_3047~ Step 6. Are you ready?Take five seconds to clean up the mess.  Roll up the plastic wrap and the parchment and throw it all away. Wipe the baking pan with a damp paper towel and put it way.  Done.

IMG_3011~ Step 6.  Increase heat to 250-260 degrees and cook chicken until nicely golden on the first side, 4-5 minutes.  Prior to turning chicken over to the second side, add 3-4 more tablespoons of EVOO to pan.

IMG_3013Cook chicken on the second side, until nicely golden, another 4-5 minutes.

IMG_3027 IMG_3018~ Step 7. Sprinkle top of each cutlet with a generous 1 teaspoon Parmigiano-Reggianno cheese (I eyeball this and use a microplane grater), then, place 1 folded slice of mozzarella cheese on the top of each cutlet. Reduce heat to 125-150 degrees, put lid on skillet and wait for cheese to melt, about 3 minutes.

IMG_3034Step 8.  You have a choice to make here and it all boils down to a matter of personal preference.  You can drizzle about 1-1 1/2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce around the chicken cutlets, working it underneath each one by lifting it up a bit with the spatula, and bring them to a simmer for about 1 minute, or, you can serve the chicken and sauce it afterwards.  I serve it as is, because I prefer my chicken parmesan with a crispy top and bottom crust.

Note:  Parmesan that has not been sauced reheats better than previously-sauced parmesan.

Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh parsley or basil:

IMG_3082Go Back to School:  One-Skillet Chicken Parmesan:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; plastic wrap; parchment paper; flat-sided meat mallet; 1-cup measuring container; fork; electric skillet; spatula; microplane grater

6a0120a8551282970b019b04749fb4970dCook's Note:  I'm no stranger to Parmesan recipes that are off the beaten path.  ~ Not Your Mama's Parmigiana" (Chicken or Veal) ~ is one such example.  To get my recipe for batter-dipped deep-fried Chicken Parmesan, just click into Categories 3, 11, 12 or 19. 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


~ Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft-Pretzel Knots ~

IMG_2888I love biting into a steaming-hot, crispy and salty on the the outside, chewy and tender on the inside, soft pretzel.  More than eating it as is, I adore pulling bite-sized pieces from it and dipping each one into some Gulden's brown mustard.  I save the knot for last -- it's the brass ring of the soft-pretzel world.  Yes indeed-y, for me, the soft pretzel is on my short list, with a hot dog or a slice of pizza, in terms of "walk around the county fair or carnival" and eat yourself happy foods.

J3You can find soft pretzels nationwide -- they're a mass-marketed snack-food institution.  

That said, NO WHERE will you feel their presence more than in The City of Brotherly Love -- Philadelphia.  They sell them on street corners and in cafes, convenience and grocery stores, gas stations, sports stadiums and race tracks, movie theaters and concert halls, and, they hand them out in school cafeterias too.  

As per Wikipedia:  The signature S-shaped soft pretzel, served with brown mustard was established as a part of Philadelphia's cuisine for snacking at school, work or home and considered by most to be a quick meal.  The average Philadelphian consumes twelve times as many soft pretzels as the national average. (The above "S-pretzel" photo is courtesy of philadelphia.backstage.com.)

IMG_2768I mostly find myself baking soft pretzels in the Fall because they are the quintessential snack food for tailgate and Oktoberfest.  They're not as hard to make as you might think (they're actually fun), but, I know my limitations.  Not being a professional pretzel twister by trade, I quickly realized they were much easier for me to handle if I made small slider-sized ones, and, once I figured that out, there was no reason to go big -- everyone adored the little ones.  There's more: half-sized pretzels bake up into an adorable pretzel knot -- what's knot to love about that!

IMG_2879If I hadn't watched Alton Brown make them on TV, you probably wouldn't be reading this post. By meticulously following his recipe, my first attempt came out great.  What I'm telling you is:  this is his ingredients list -- I've noted the minor changes I made to it.  The major change I made was to prepare the dough in the food processor (rather than in a stand mixer), and, rise the dough in a food storage bag that has been sprayed with no-stick (rather than in an oiled bowl)  -- the food processor is much faster and lots easier, and, the food storage bag is mess free.  His recipe is written, in my own words with my photographs, to reflect my food processor method.

IMG_2665For the dry ingredients:

22 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour, weighing the flour is important, do it

1  tablespoon sugar

2  teaspoons fine sea salt (Mr. Brown uses kosher salt.)

1  envelope Fleishmann's yeast (Mr. Brown uses rapid-rise yeast I do not.)

For the wet ingredients:

4  tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups hot tap water (Mr. Brown uses warm water, the food processor requires hot water.)

no-stick cooking spray (Mr. Brown uses canola oil to coat the bowl the dough rises in.)

For the water bath:

8  cups water (Mr. Brown uses 10 cups water -- he's making bigger pretzels in a bigger pot.)

1/2  cup baking soda (Mr. Brown uses 2/3 cup baking soda -- he's using more water.)

For the pre-baking finish:

1  large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on pretzels

IMG_2675 IMG_2677~ Step 1.  In work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, using 5-10 on-off pulses, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

IMG_2684~ Step 2. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a separate container measure the hot water.  

IMG_2689~ Step 3.  With processor running, via the feed tube, in a slow steady stream, drizzle in the butter, then start adding the water (pictured above).  Continue adding the water until a ball forms, meaning: stop adding water when a ball forms. Continue to knead dough in the processor for 30 seconds.

~ Step 3.  Place dough in a food storage bag that has been sprayed with no-stick spray, seal the bag closed and set aside until dough is doubled in bulk, 40-45 minutes. Mine took 40 minutes today.

IMG_2707 IMG_2693~ Step 4. Place dough on a scale and weigh it. IMG_2704You should have 2 pounds, 4 ounces of dough. Portion the dough into 18, 2-ounce balls.

Note:  If you haven't invested in a kitchen scale  -- do it.  This recipe is foolproof if you have a scale. 

IMG_2719~ Step 5.  One-at-a-time, place a ball of dough on an unfloured surface.  I use a wooden pastry board.  This may seem odd, but I find this dough remarkably easier to work with on an unfloured surface. Using the palm of your hand, start by fashioning it into a cigar-shape IMG_2721by rolling it up and down the board.

As it gets longer, use the palms of both hands to roll it into a 16" rope. Fashion the rope into a a classic pretzel knot as follows:

IMG_2724 IMG_2725 IMG_2727~Step 6.  Pull the rope into a U-shape.  Lift one end over the other to form what looks like an unclasped necklace.  Lift the same end again and give it a second twist.

IMG_2729 IMG_2732 IMG_2736Form the drop-shaped bottom into a curved-sided triangle.  Lift the two loose top ends up and drape them down over the triangle.  Tuck the two loose ends underneath and voila:  you've got a classically shaped pretzel knot.  A full-sized pretzel, of course, would be formed in the same manner, using a longer rope and the same knot tying skill, only it would be much looser.

IMG_2774 IMG_2767~ Step 7.  As you continue to form the knots, place them on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  You will have three rows of six knots.  Cover with a flour-sack-type cotton towel for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, line a second baking pan with parchment paper, then, prepare the water bath as directed below:

IMG_2800 IMG_2699~ Step 8.*  In a wide-bottomed 3 1/2-quart chef's pan stir the water and the baking soda together. Bring to a boil over high heat and adjust heat to simmer.  One-at-a-time carefully and gently drop four pretzel knots into the the water.  I do this with my fingers, but, you can use a large slotted spatula if you are afraid to do that.  Simmer pretzel knots, for 30 seconds.

*Note:  Poaching the unbaked soft pretzels in alkalized water is key to this recipe.  The water bath gives soft pretzels their shiny, crackly crust and dark brown color.  Test one to prove how easy this is.  The baking soda gets very foamy when the pretzels get dropped in, and it tends to sputter too.  The white residue it creates on the side of the pot is harmless, and, because baking soda is a natural cleaner, it leaves your pot and stovetop shiny clean too.

IMG_2801 IMG_2804~ Step 9. Using a large slotted IMG_2806spatula, remove each knot from the simmering water, in batches of four, arranging them, well-apart, nine-to-a-pan, on each of the two parchment-lined baking pans.  How adorable!

IMG_2822 IMG_2819~ Step 10. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of one pan of the pretzels with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the coarse sea salt.  Bake on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven for 14-15 minutes.  Pretzel knots should be a deep golden brown.  

Note:  Do not paint and sprinkle 2nd pan until 1st pan is out of  oven.

IMG_2845~ Step 11.  Using your fingertips or a spatula, immediately transfer the baked pretzel knots to a cooling rack.  Wait 5-10 minutes prior to serving hot, or longer to serve warm or at room temp -- and always the same day they are made.

Don't throw mama from the train just yet boys...

IMG_2860... you're gonna need her around to make many more of these! 

IMG_2943While soft pretzels are best served the same day they are made, don't dispair.

You can successfully make them a day ahead of serving them with little compromise -- I won't say no compromise, because that's just not so.  Allow them to stay on the cooling rack, uncovered, overnight.  Place the day-old pretzels on a plate or on a platter and heat, uncovered, in the microwave (a conventional oven will dry them out) for about 30 seconds.  

They will emerge in a totally enjoyable state -- if they are consumed immediately!

IMG_2955Mel's Philly-Style Slider-Sized Soft Pretzel Knots:  Recipe yields 18 slider-sized soft pretzels.

Special Equipment List:  2-cup measuring container; 1-cup measuring container; food processor; food storage bag; kitchen scale; pastry board, preferably wood; paring knife; 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; flour-sack-type kitchen towel; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; large slotted spatula; cooling rack; thin metal spatula

IMG_2488Cook's Note:  To get my recipe for a classic ~ Philadelphia's Famous Cheesesteaks a la Melanie ~, just click on the Related Article link below.  For a twist on that recipe, you can find ~ Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza ~ by Clicking into Categories 2, 12, 17 or 19!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 


~Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie~

IMG_2488I haven't decided if this post is going to be a rant or not.  I'll just keep writing and see where I end up.  As a well-seasoned woman who spent quite a bit of her young-adult life in Philadelphia, from my perspective, the iconic Philly cheesesteak neither needs nor deserves a "new twist" on it.  That said, conceptually, I clearly see how it could be morphed into a pizza IF one plays by some long-standing, well-defined Philly cheesesteak rules (which apparently, many misguided pizza lovers are too lazy to research).  Ok, I suppose I'm headed in the direction of a rant: 

IMG_2588#1.  Thou shalt not put deli-beef on a traditional pizza and call it "cheesesteak pizza".

6a0120a8551282970b01bb07e2ba65970dA Philly cheesesteak is always made with high-quality, nicely-marbled, thinly-sliced, rib-eye steak. For example:  this rib-eye would be cut lengthwise into 4-5 thin steaks. The sliced meat is quickly cooked on a large lightly-greased flat-top griddle.  As the meat cooks it gets rough chopped into bits and pieces.

IMG_2252 IMG_2256That said, "I get it", pizza toppings are associated with "easy", so, for a 2nd choice but acceptable substitution, head for 2 boxes of user-friendly, 100% beef Steak-umms. Don't roll your eyes -- salty deli-beef gets funky-greasy in the oven and belongs on no earthly pizza.  

#2.  Thou shalt not use broccoli or Alfredo sauce to top cheesesteak pizza.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c73f09cc970bEach cheesesteak sandwich is made-to-order.  You decide what you want from a short list of options. Vegetable options are limited to:   sauteed (not raw) onions, peppers and/or mushrooms, which get tossed into the sauteing meat. "Steak sauce" in Philly lingo means "a tomato product similar to pizza sauce", and, if you want it,  IMG_2312it gets judiciously mixed into the sauteed meat/veggie mixture.  As for cheese, which melts over the top of the sandwich, the options are provolone or Cheez Whiz ( and occasionally American cheese).  I use them both when making cheesesteak pizza.  To make 2, 12" pizzas purchase 1 jar Cheez Whiz and 1 pound sliced provolone.

Alfredo sauce in place of "steak sauce" and/or any of the traditional cheesy choices?  Seriously dude -- take a "time out" from pizza making. 

#3.  Thou shalt not use a pretzel crust to make cheesesteak pizza.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb07e2c825970dIn Philadelphia, cheesesteaks are placed on an Amoroso or Italian Vilotti-Pisanelli roll, with the Amoroso being the most famous. They are long, 10"-12", thinnish and medium-textured -- neither fluffy nor soft, and decidedly not hard.  A cheesesteak is an all-Italian sandwich invented by two Italian-American guys who value the right roll for a sandwich as much as they do the right crust for a pizza. 

IMG_8197While Philadelphia is famous for its soft pretzels, using a pretzel crust instead of a traditional crust to make a cheesesteak pizza is not only an abomination, it shows lack of respect for the iconic cheesesteak. While you're at it, put some ballpark mustard on your bastardized pizza too.  In the name of brotherly love, don't embarrass yourself like that -- even a Boboli would be better.

Now that the facts are on the tailgate table, let's make a cheesesteak pizza to be proud of. 

IMG_2593Part One:  Making the Pizza Crust

IMG_2432Use your favorite pizza dough recipe and pat it out to form 2, 12"-round pizza crusts.  There are a few pizza crust recipes here on KE, but, for my cheesesteak pizza, I use my recipe for ~ Nobody's Pizza - For the Somebody in All of Us ~.  I choose it because it is resemblant of "the crispy chew" of a loaf of superb Italian bread.  I make and rise this dough in the bread machine too, which frees up my hands and time to make the meat and veggie topping while the machine is working its magic for 58 minutes. Just click into Categories 2, 12 or 25 to get this easy recipe.

Part Two:  Making the Meat and Veggie Toppings

IMG_22792 boxs frozen Steak-umms, unthawed and cut into 1/2" strips

2  tablespoons olive oil

2  tablespoons salted butter

2  teaspoons dried oregano for seasoning meat + 1/2 teaspoon for seasoning veggies

1/2-1  teaspoon red pepper flakes

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend, for seasoning both meat and veggies

2  cups halved and very thinly-sliced yellow or sweet onion (6 ounces)

1  cup 1/4" julienne of green bell pepper, julienne strips cut in half (4 ounces)

1  cup 1/4" julienne of red bell pepper, julienne strips cut in half (4 ounces)

1  cup stemmed, cleaned and thinly-sliced white button mushroom caps (3 ounces)

IMG_2309 IMG_2298~ Step 1. In a 12" skillet melt butter into oil over low heat. Stir in oregano and pepper flakes.  Add Steak-umms strips and lightly season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to saute, stirring almost constantly, until steak is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the "chipped" meat to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool.

IMG_2310 IMG_2303~ Step 2. Add the veggies to remaining meat juices in the hot skillet and lightly season with 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Saute, stirring almost constantly, until veggies are softened, but still a bit colorful and a bit crunchy, about 3 more minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veggies to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool. 

Part Three:  Topping and Baking the Pizza

IMG_2343pizza dough, enough to form 2, 12"-round unbaked pizza crusts

1  pound sliced provolone cheese, about 24 slices, keep 12 slices (8 ounces in slices) and grate the rest (8 ounces = 2 cups grated) 

1-1 1/2  cups pizza sauce, preferably homemade (Note:  I find store-bought pizza sauces to be too thick and too sweet.  I use ~ My Fresh & Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce (Marinara) ~.  It is typical of the sauce you find in a Philly cheesesteak.  Click into Categories 8, 12 or 22 to get the recipe.)

1  15-ounce jar Cheez Whiz, you will only use about 1/2 of the jar

all of the meat & veggie topping, from above recipe

4-6  tablespoons finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

IMG_2318 IMG_2328 IMG_2332 IMG_2334 IMG_2337 IMG_2340 IMG_2345~Step 1.  Once the crusts are in the pans, add the toppings, in the following order, to each one:  6 slices provolone cheese; a IMG_2370generous 1/2 cup pizza sauce; 1 cup grated provolone; 1/2 teaspoonful dollops of Cheeze Whiz (use half the jar between both pieces and refrigerate the rest); 1/2 of the meat topping; 1/2 of the veggie topping; 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Allow the assembled pizzas to rest, uncovered, about 45-60 minutes. This rest will allow the dough to rise up around the toppings.

IMG_2424 IMG_2392~ Step 2.  Place pizza stone on center oven rack and preheat to 365 degrees.  Because door will get opened during the baking process this insures the temp won't drop below 350 degrees.

IMG_2468One-at-a-time place pan of pizza on stone and bake for 9 minutes. Open the oven door and, with the aid of a spatula, lift a corner of the pie up, and, using your other hand (and a pot holder or oven mitt), tilt the pan to slide the pie off the pan and onto the stone.  Close the door and bake the pizza an addition 8-9 minutes. Using a pizza peel, transfer pizza from stone to cooling rack to cool for about 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving.  Remember to return the oven to 365 degrees before baking the second pizza.

It's a tough job but ya gotta do it -- wait the 10 minutes prior to eating it.

IMG_2616Now allow me to offer you a slice of a Philly cheesesteak!

IMG_2511Philadelphia-Style Cheesesteak Pizza a la Melanie:  Recipe yields 2, 12" cheesesteak pizzas.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12" skillet w/lid, preferably nonstick; 2, 12" pizza pans; pizza stone; large thin spatula; pizza peel; cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d0c80e4a970cCook's Note:  Cheesesteak pizza is a fun recipe to keep in your recipe box for the tailgate season. Everyone really does enjoy eating it.  If it is the sandwiches you'd rather serve, click on the Related Article link below to get my recipe for ~ Philadelphia's Famous Cheesesteaks a la Melanie ~.  PS: It's full of cheesesteak history and cheesesteak eating etiquette too!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)  


~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~

IMG_2208I made dinner rolls today because I had buttermilk leftover in my refrigerator.  I wish they'd sell buttermilk like cream, in one and two cup cartons -- a full quart is usually about twice as much as I need.  For example:  On Friday of last week, I used one cup to make my ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~, to use as a dip for my ~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings ~.  One week later, I still had three cups of buttermilk lollygagging around in my refrigerator.  Happy ending:  These dinner rolls will make everyone very happy!

IMG_2196Every serious home cook needs one go-to dinner roll recipe.  It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be really good.  Everyone loves a freshly-baked, warm dinner roll, and, there are, in fact, occasions when nothing store-bought will do.  This is a treasured recipe of mine, but it didn't start out as mine.  You can find it, in its original form, on page 72 of any 1972 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook, and, it is responsible for my first attempt at baking dinner rolls from scratch being a successful one.  Over the years, I've used it as a template to experiment with a few variations, including this one, which for the most part, simply substitutes buttermilk for regular whole milk.  I'm rolling them into crescents today, but, it makes nice cloverleaf, pull-apart and parker house rolls too (as per Betty Crocker's helpful and instructional illustrations):

IMG_2072Their original recipe, taste and texturally, worked just fine.  That said, when I decided to use tangy buttermilk in place of whole milk, after the first go-round, I felt that it could benefit from a bit more salt, sugar and shortening.  I didn't go overboard and that little bit went a very a long way, because I couldn't have been happier with the slightly saltier, sweeter, buttery-rich end result! 

IMG_20794 1/2-5  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2  envelopes Fleishmann's yeast, not rapid-rise yeast

6  tablespoons sugar

1 1/2  teaspoons salt

1 1/2  cups buttermilk

2  large eggs

6  tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, very soft

6  more tablespoons salted butter, melted, for brushing over rolled dough & the finished, baked rolls

1/2  cup bench flour, for rolling 

IMG_4561 IMG_4557                                          ~ Step 1.  In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, the sugar and the salt.

~ Step 2.  In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk and butter over medium heat.  Stir until the butter is melted and mixture has reached a temperature between 120-130 degrees.  The best way to insure the proper temperature is to monitor the mixture as it heats using an instant-read thermometer.

IMG_4567 IMG_4576 IMG_4581 IMG_4583~Step 3.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.  Using a hand-held electric mixer on medium-speed, beat until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula frequently, about 30 seconds.  Beat in the eggs.  Increase mixer speed to high and beat in another 1 cup of flour.  Beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Remove the mixer and begin stirring in the the flour, in 1/2 half cup amounts, until a soft, manageable dough forms.

IMG_4595 IMG_4602~ Step 4. Using the heal of your hand, begin kneading the dough, turning the bowl a quarter turn with each push down, until a smooth ball forms, continuing to sprinkle in additional flour to keep it from sticking to sides of bowl.  Kneading takes 4-5 minutes and I always need to use the full 5 cups of flour.

IMG_2088 IMG_4603                                        ~ Step 5. Cover the dough in the bowl with a clean towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  

Note:  This rest will allow the gluten in the flour to develop which will make the dough easier to roll.

Uncover the dough.  If you have a kitchen scale, use it.  You will have 2 pounds, 10-12 ounces of dough.

IMG_2106 IMG_2093                                           ~ Step 6. Divide the dough into two equal parts.  

IMG_2104Lightly-flour the work surface and roll first ball into a 14"-15" circle.  Brush the top surface with a light coating of butter.  

IMG_2129 IMG_2120~ Step 7. Cut the circle into 4 quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 wedges.  Beginning on the wide outside end, roll each wedge up.  

IMG_2135As you work, place the rolls, slightly- IMG_2144apart, on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Repeat process with the second ball of dough. When finished, you will have 3 rows of 8 rolls on the baking pan.

~ Step 8.  Cover the pan with the clean towel and allow the rolls to rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.  Mine rose in a quick 40-45 minutes today.

IMG_2170~ Step 9.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Mine baked for 18 minutes today.  Remove from oven and brush the tops with the remaining melted butter.  You will probably have some butter leftover.

IMG_2188~ Step 10.  Using your fingertips, gently pull rolls apart and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool to slightly-warm or room temperature. Note:  By the time you brush the tops with butter, they will be cool enough to handle.

Paint with butter as soon as they emerge from the oven:

IMG_2157Give the melted butter about a minute to soak in:

IMG_2166Gently pull rolls apart & place on a rack to cool!

IMG_2184TGIF:   Slightly larger than slider-sized subs in Happy Valley!

IMG_2225Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls:  Recipe yields 2 dozen.

Special Equipment List:  large bowl, preferably oversized; 2-quart saucepan; instant-read thermometer; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; clean cotton kitchen towel; kitchen scale (optional); rolling pin; pastry brush; chef's knife; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; cooling rack; small metal spatula

IMG_4684Cook's Note:  In the event you are new to dinner-roll baking and you'd like to try your hand at a simpler recipe, my recipe for ~ Want buttery, 'pull-apart' rolls with dinner tonight? ~ can be found in Categories 5, 9, 11, 18, 19 or 20.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)