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Chipotle tomato rolls

November 19, 2012

A hearth bread with chipotle as a dominant flavor was the original intention of this recipe.  I was going to use bread flour, some whole wheat flour,  and cornmeal along with the chipotle to give it a little rustic feel.  I happened to come across “Panini al Pomodoro” , tomato rolls,  in Carol Field’s “The Italian Baker.”  I had seen it some time ago and kept it on the backburner hoping to try it out sooner or later.  The recipe incorporates tomato and onions into the dough and dabs some on top for flavor and appeal.  I would add chipotle to the mix and also change the recipe profile for a more tender crumb.  I use milk for the liquid,  add sugar and use vegetable shortening instead of the olive oil.  I decided to go with all bread flour, part of it in the form of an overnight biga.  This would help bring out more flavor from the wheat.

Though I think I could have used  bit more tomato in the dough , the chipotle pepper does come through with just enough heat not to overpower.  I wonder if using ground up dry chipotle peppers would make a good alternative to the canned variety since the smokiness got masked by the other flavors.  All in all however, the recipe made for a very tasty, satisfying, and visually distinctive roll.  The crumb had the lightness and tenderness I was looking for.

The process begins with a biga. If you start in the morning you can have rolls ready in the late afternoon. The biga needs to ferment at least 2-4 hours. I opt to making it the day before and refrigerating it overnight for a longer fermentation time.

The biga: (from Peter Reinhart’s “The Baker’s Apprentice”)

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/2 teaspoon yeast

3/4 cup water plus 2 or more tablespoons

In your mixer bowl, stir the flour and yeast together. Gradually add the water, mixing in with a spoon until you get enough to make a coarse mass of dough. Knead with your mixer for about 4 minutes or until you get a smooth and elastic dough. It should be neither sticky nor dry. You may have to adjust with more flour or water.  Remove it to an oiled bowl. Make sure you get some of the oil on the dough so that it protects it from forming a dry crust. Cover the bowl with plastic and let ferment for 2 to 4 hours or until it nearly doubles in size. When ready, take it out of the bowl to lightly degass it. It is now ready to use in the recipe. Or you can return it to the bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate overnight for more flavor development.

Tomato chipotle paste:

In a small bowl stir together 8 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 1/2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle pepper with some of the adobe sauce,  and 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water. The mixture should form a paste that is moist but not runny. Adjust as needed. It will be mixed in the dough as well as smeared on top of the shaped rolls before baking.

Final dough:

The biga

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

About 1 cup of milk scalded and cooled to room temperature

The tomato chipotle paste

If you refrigerated the biga, take it out to return to room temperature about 1 hour or so before you plan to begin.

1. Put the bread flour in your mixing bowl. With a dough scraper, cut the biga into about 10 pieces and add to the bowl. Stir in the yeast, salt, and sugar.  With your hands, rub in the vegetable shortening until it’s well dispersed.

2. Add most of the milk and stir by using a spoon or using the paddle attachment of your mixer.  Keep adding the milk until a coarse ball of dough forms.  Change to the hook attachment of the mixer and knead about 3 minutes, adding more milk as needed to begin forming a smooth elastic dough. To facilitate the addition of the tomato chipotle paste,  I removed the dough from the bowl and began kneading  in the paste by hand. After adding about half the paste, I returned the dough to the bowl and kneaded by machine again.  The paste makes the dough slippery  and thus difficult to knead.  The mixer was able to do the rest of the work fairly easily.  ( Be sure to reserve some of the paste to dab the dough with afterward.) After about 3 more minutes, the dough should  be smooth and elastic with good gluten development.

3. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl making sure to also oil the surface of the dough. Cover with plastic and let ferment to almost double in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When the dough is ready, remove it from the bowl to shape.  Scale and shape as desired and place them on a baking sheet. If you are using a baking stone, you can also put them on parchment paper.  My rolls were 2.5 ounces in weight.  The torpedo shapes were heavier. Let the dough proof until they reach almost double in size.  Now carefully, so as not to deflate the rolls, smear some of the tomato chipotle paste on top. You may also top with sesame seeds, fresh minced or dried herbs, or whatever you wish.  You may score the rolls if you want.

5. Place them in the oven and immediately lower the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are done. Put them on a rack to cool down. Your curiosity may tempt you to try one as soon as they come out of the oven.

Even though the rolls have an “Old world” look about them, chipotle peppers and tomatoes are “New world” ingredients.

A nice glass of wine would round out this substantial snack.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2012 3:06 am

    Oh MAN!!! Oh Yeah!!! Bravo! Great photos, I think you could have a second career as a food photographer! Man that looks GREAT! It’s good to see you pushing the mixtura, I gotta make up there soon. And thank you for the exhibit invite, if it includes being a taste tester, I’m there!

  2. November 19, 2012 3:09 am

    Becky just said you need to write a book! See, I’m not the only one…

  3. November 19, 2012 3:13 am

    Thanks Roberto and Becky! Very much appreciated! You need to come and help me eat this.

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