Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Roll On - Brown Ale Rolls

When life gets crazy I make bread. When I need a break, marching into the kitchen to bake seems completely logical.

Thoughts are drowned out by the churn of my mixer, I let flour fill the air and slip into a zen state induced the labor of kneading, transcending into more peaceful mindsets as the bread rests, rises and works its yeasty magic. I pull hot bread from the oven and all hell breaks loose because I fall victim to fragrant hot steamy bread. It is simple and satisfying.

Life is crazy right now. Emotional. Unpredictable. Weird. I am confused by it all yet incredibly curious about the science behind these events and the levels of consumption of the human race that demand man to create energy by varying means. 

Earth and all of life is in a dynamic dance. We are surround by complexities that will for ever elude our knowledge.

I do not have answers for you or the world, other people have written powerful words that give me hope. I don't have answers for my own life which also feels a bit rocked and uncertain. My trials pail in comparison, for that I am incredibly grateful, I have more than I need, I am loved. No melt downs here.

Moving on to things that I can control and aspects of life I understand, food made with love and thoughtful ingredients is crucial to our well being. I bake because healthy food is important for everyone, fresh bread is one of the finer foods in life.

Food matters.

Pretty, shiny, sesame seed studded buns make me smile.

Spring brings hope. It is almost Spring, right?

I like beer and I love to cook with it, drink it, mix it into bread and drink what is left over. Did I mention, I love beer, I bet you do too.

I like to try different brews ranging from a light lager to an heavy thick stout or a sweet barley wine. When I see a new product at the store, I enthusiastically slip it into my cart and share it with J. The beer that is the shining star in this bread was one such purchase. We cracked it open, J had the idea of cutting the sweetness and adding some body to the fruity beer by mixing it with a porter. The man is brilliant. The rest of the bottle went into the bread, just like with the porter beer cocktail, the raspberry flavor is prevalent, fruity and distinct.

Oatmeal Ale Rolls

adapted very slightly from flour dusted, and girlchef . I used a fruit flavored ale, use any sweet ale you can get your hands on, a nice brown ale would be ideal.

makes 12-16 rolls

¼ c. warm water
12 fl.oz. Brown Ale 
¼ c. pure maple syrup, room temp.
1 egg, room temp., lightly beaten
2 Tbs. oil
½ tsp. fine sea salt
450 g. (~3 c.+ 1 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour + more as needed
180 g. (2 c.) rolled oats, measured and then ground fine
30 g. (3 Tbs.) vital wheat gluten
27 g. (¼ c.) wheat germ
7 g. (~2¼ tsp. / ¼ oz. / 1 packet) active dry yeast
1 egg white, beaten (optional for egg wash)
sesame seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm water (~110° F). Add ale. Using a wooden spoon (or in mixer bowl using dough hook attachment), stir in the oil, maple syrup, and egg. Add the ground oats, wheat germ, vital wheat gluten and salt. Gradually mix in flour to form a soft dough. If dough seems too sticky, add in more flour, ~1 Tbs. at a time.  Once dough is too difficult to stir (if making by hand), turn it out onto a floured work surface.  Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for ~1 hour or until doubled in size.  Punch dough down.

Turn out onto a floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, divide dough into 12 equal portions (or 16 for smaller rolls).  Stretch surface of dough to bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter turn as you go to form a ball, flouring your hands as necessary. Place each ball on a tray (or two) lined with a silpat or parchment, or that has been lightly greased. 

Cover and let rise in a warm place about an hour, or until doubled in size.  Preheat oven to 375° F during last 15 minutes of rising time.

For a glossy crust, brush tops with the beaten egg white and sesame seeds.  Slash them if you wish.
Bake rolls for ~25-30 minutes and loaves for ~35-40 minutes, or until they are deeply golden and cooked through.


  1. Oh. Yes! Aren't these beyond fabulous? Still my favorite...and I love the thought of using a fruit beer in them, too. They definitely bring me peace of mind...at least for a bit. And they're just so darn pretty ;)

  2. Oh my gosh, that bread looks absolutely fabulous!! I wish that I knew how to make bread. I like to bake...not a very healthy addiction!!

  3. Trader Jo's has a heady oatmeal beer that I think would make lovely rolls. I am the beer drinker here, I love it! These would taste just right for a Sunday dinner, warm with butter of course!

  4. Heather, so pretty! thanks for the recipe!

    Megan, just try it, you can make bread, I promise.

    Melynda, I would love to hear about different beers, I miss TJ..