For the potluck, I'm bring a bowl of fenugreek herb and flaxseed oil rolls to serve warm or cold, with soup, vegetable or meat stir fry, or coffee, tea, or alone.
This recipe is very special to me. I grew up on these rolls. The whole family live on these rolls. Whenever anyone is hungry, unrolling these rolls is the first, last and all time thing to do unless there is the meal on table already. Mothers and housewives panic when their houses run low on them.
The star ingredients in this recipe are fenugreek herb and flaxseed oilwhich are not familiar or common in the American market, yet there are a lot of information on internet about these ingredients. They both arguably have very important health benefits.
Both the fenugreek leaves and fenugreek seedsof the plant have a characteristic aroma. The leaves (specially processed) is widely used as a spice in making the bread rolls in the region of China where I came from. It's also used as tea, tea flavorings, room deodorant. Fenugreek seed ground is used as curry ingredient in India and other cuisine. (Never buy the seeds unless you plan to plant them or you have an industry mill. The seeds are not possible to ground at home).
The fenugreek herb I used in this recipe is from my root family in China a few years ago. Folks in my root family hand pick leaves of fenugreek plant, specially process the leaves to preserve its aroma and then dry them together with a red orange wild flower petals and crush the dried leaves by hand to medium tea sizes for use in making the rolls. I can promise I'm the only one in America who has this herb processed this way. It seems there are simply dried fenugreek leavesonline. You may try to use that in this recipe. I don't expect the simple dry leaves are as good as my specially processed herb. Or you may try the fenugreek seed groundwhich is carried in stores specialized in spices or online.
Flaxseed oil is the only vegetable cooking oil used in the region I grew up. However here, it's sold as supplement in health and personal care section of stores or online.
Because my root family don't have oven, I grew up on steamed rolls. In this Instructables, I did both baking and steaming. Since here you can't find the fenugreek herb I have, I did both the herb I have and the seed ground. So it's like a two factors (steaming vs. baking) by two factors (leave herb vs. seed ground) design. I made 12 rolls for each combination of the factors, total 48 rolls. I was preparing for a potluck gathering of about 50 people. If you want to try for a smaller batch, start with a half or even quarter quantity. I like the steamed rolls and baked rolls equally. Every time I eat, If I eat one baked roll, I must eat one steamed roll. I definitely prefer the herb rolls to the seed ground rolls for the stronger aroma.
8 cups all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water or milk (110-115F)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
Crushed dry rose flower petals (optional)
Makes 48 rolls
All ingredients without quantity specified are sprinkled based on my instinct and experience. To me that is the real cook's way of cooking, measuring ingredients is scientist's way of cooking and I found I'm always trying to get away with not measuring if possible.
Step 1: Yeast Freshness Test
Using a one-cup liquid measuring cup, dissolve 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar in 1/2 cup warm water or milk at 110°F-115°F. (Microwave cold water or milk for 20 seconds should get it very close to the temperature . Using a thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the correct liquid temperature. Any thermometer will work as long as it measures temperatures between 75°F and 130°F.)
Stir in 2-1/4 tsp of dry yeast until there are no more dry yeast granules on top. (Yeast should be at room temperature before using.) In three to four minutes, the yeast will have absorbed enough liquid to activate and start to rise. After ten minutes, the foamy yeast mixture should have risen to the 1-cup mark and have a rounded top. It should look like the second picture below.
If this is true, your yeast is very active and should be used in your recipe immediately. If the yeast did not rise to the 1-cup mark, your yeast has little or no activity. Discard the yeast. Get fresh yeast for your project.
Step 2: Finish Preparing Liquid
Add remaining 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast.
Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
Pour together the starter test yeast solution.
Set it aside.
Step 3: Form the Dough
Reserve 1/2 cup to flour the rolling surfaces and dough.
Gradually mix flour and liquid until all is incorporated and knead it to dough (dough should be medium softness).
Step 4: Prove the Dough
Place the dough in the bowl.
Brush oil or glide butter stick on top of dough so the surface doesn't get dry.
Cover the bowl.
Place it in a warm place until it has doubled in size. (The best way to prove I found is: Preheat the oven to the lowest setting for 2 minutes; Turn off the oven; Place the bowl in the oven with door closed. It'll take about 1 hour for the dough to double in size this way).
Step 5: Roll the Rolls
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle about 16 by 10 inches.
Drizzle honey over the dough.
Drizzle flaxseed oil over the dough.
Sprinkle turmeric powder over the dough.
If you are using fenugreek seed ground powder, sprinkle it over the dough. Then following the remaining steps. If you are using the fenugreek leave herb, proceed to the next step.
Fold and unfold the four sides of the dough in a row to distribute everything evenly.
Sprinkle almond meal over the dough.
Tab the edge of the strainer to sprinkle dry four evenly over the dough.
Sprinkle fenugreek leave herb over the dough if that's what you are using.
Crush and sprinkle dried rose petal over the dough if you have.
Roll up the dough along one long end and evenly divide it into 12 rolls.
Step 6: Prove the Rolls If You Are Going to Bake the Rolls, and Then Bake the Rolls.
Place the rolls apart in the baking dish.
Brush the top of the rolls with beaten egg yolk so the rolls have nice color when baked.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap, place it in a warm place to prove about 45 minutes until they almost double in size and snuggly touch each other. You won't need to wait at all if you are steaming rolls at the same time, so proceed to next step.
Bake the rolls
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Once the rolls done proving, remove the plastic wrap covering the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Step 7: Steam the Rolls
Repeat the step of "Roll the rolls' to make 12 rolls to steam.
Add water to the steaming kettle.
Load the rolls in the basket.
Start steaming at high heat, once the water starts to boil, turn the heat to medium and steam for 20 minutes.
Step 8: How Do They Turn Out?
Fenugreek leaf herb rolls, baked
Fenugreek leaf herb rolls, steamed
Fenugreek seed ground powder rolls, baked
Fenugreek seed ground powder rolls, steamed
Step 9: Present and Serve
Arrange them in a bowl or basket, place it in the center of the table, it'll become the center piece of the house/party. Cover it with cloth to keep them soft and from disappearing before the party starts. Unveil it when the party starts and watch them gone in minutes.
Step 10: Go to Bed/schoo/work to Wake Up/come Home to Unroll the Rolls
Now go to bed/schoo/work to wake up/come home to unroll the rolls.