Monday, January 28, 2008

Quick Wheat Bread Muffins

When time is not a luxury and I need to furnish my bread bin, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get my breads hot and ready within an hour. Of course, cold fermentation is definitely not in the horizon, as it slows down yeast production, therefore making the dough rise very slowly (but makes for oh-so-delicious bread!). So, when pressed for time and I just cannot be bothered with a sponge method, I use a flavoring to lift up the taste of the bread. In this case, I used a vanilla flavored corn syrup in place of the honey--whose flavor, when used as a mere sweetener, is mild in the finished bread.

And to make the bread rise quicker, I divided the dough into 30g portions and placed them on greased muffin holes for a neat look, especially if you want to veer away from the more typical dinner roll style. I think they're aesthetically more interesting this way and the resulting dough rises more quickly-- almost half the time it will take for them to rise as one loaf; this ,ultimately, shortens the baking time to about 10-15 minutes (mine took 13 minutes at 350F, tops). This is the type of bread you'd definitely be able to prepare on a short notice. Another plus factor is that the vanilla scent and flavor masks any bitter wheat kernels (if there's any), making this a child-friendly bread.
Cooling time for these bread rolls are just as quick and you don't even have to transfer them onto wire racks, saving you one less item to clean. Just roll the breads on their sides (still on their muffin holes) and by the time you've reached the 24th bread roll, the 1st one is just about perfect to enjoy.

Quick Wheat Bread Muffins

2t yeast
1 C milk (or 1C water+3T milk powder, nonfat is ok)
1/4 C vanilla corn syrup (or honey or any desired flavor of corn syrup)
2 1/2-3C bread flour, sifted
3/4C whole wheat flour, spooned lightly
2 T butter, softtened
1/2 t salt

*yolk wash

Grease 2 12-hole muffin pans, set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Dump 2 1/2C of bread flour, all of wheat flour and salt into the mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and put milk, yeast and corn syrup.
2. Knead on low speed using the dough hook attachment. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky at this point, add more flour. Add the butter and beat for 2 minutes more. The dough should be smooth and tacky.
3. Let rise for 15-20 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Gently punch dough down, divide into 24pcs, weighing 30g each. Roll dough into balls and place on prepared muffin tray.
4.Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes. The bread should be over the top of the tray, but not mushroom-ing to the sides. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown and the bread easily slips off the muffin hole.
5. Let cool.

Dough weight of 30g is just right for a 2oz sized muffin hole, you wouldn't want a mushroom-ed bread as this will be hard to remove from the tray. And when the top's too heavy, its weight will crush the whole body of the bread, resulting in a squat roll.

*half an egg yolk mixed with 2t water; or for a velvety crust, melt 2T butter and use as wash instead.

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