These are marvelous little rolls. They have a crisp crust and a soft interior. They are very like Mexican bolillos and Italian hard rolls and are good as luncheon or dinner rolls or with a bit of stuffing as a sandwich or light snack. You can make them with a goodly amount of rye or whole wheat flour for a change of taste and look. You can make them small, medium or large, just remember to watch the baking time for the small rolls as smaller rolls will bake quickly. All in all, very useful and adaptable little breads.
This pistoletrecipe is from Bernard Clayton, Jr, “The Breads of France.” This was my first serious bread book and still my sentimental favorite. The recipe specifies 7 cups of flour and 4 teaspoons of salt. It also says that the recipe will make 48 1 1/2 ounce rolls, which is 72 ounces of dough. I scaled at 50 grams, about 1 3/4 ounces, and got 39 rolls, which translates into 68 ounces, so his “cups” of flour are probably more than 6 ounces. As for the salt, I’ve tried both 3 and 4 teaspoons of salt and decided that 4 teaspoons is too much for 40 ounces of flour. This figures, as salt is frequently 2% of the weight of flour, and 1 tablespoon (3/4 ounce) would be about 2% of 40 ounces. The malt is optional, but, as he says, it gives the rolls “a lovely tan color.” These French split rolls are lovely rolls that can be made small (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) for lunch or dinner, or small snack sandwiches, or larger, for regular sandwiches, or even hamburgers. The ones here are scaled at 50 grams and shaped to make intermediate-sized rolls. I’ve added a rest period, an autolyse, to the procedure.
The crust on these rolls isn’t as cruchy as the crust of a lean roll, such as a Mexican bolillo, but they freeze and toast well and will last on the counter for several days if stored in a loose-fitting plastic bag. The recipe may seem involved and complicated, but it you take it a step at a time it will all work out and you’ll have 35-40 rolls that you’ll be proud of.
Ingredients for Pistolet Rolls
|Dry Yeast||1 1/2 Tbsp||22 ml|
|Sugar||3 Tbsp||45 ml|
|Non-fat dry milk||1/2 cup||120 ml|
|Malt syrup||2 tsp||10 ml||See malt discussion here||Use diastatic malt if possible. If you don’t have diastatic malt, use regular malt. If you don’t have either malt, just use sugar.|
|Salt||1 Tbsp||15 ml|
Ingredients for a Small Batch of Pistolet Rolls
|Dry Yeast||2 1/4 tsp||11 ml|
|Sugar||1 1/2Tbsp||22 ml|
|Non-fat dry milk||1/4 cup||60 ml|
|Malt syrup||1 tsp||5 ml||See malt discussion here||Use diastatic malt if possible. If you don’t have diastatic malt, use regular malt. If you don’t have either malt, just use sugar.|
|Salt||1/2 Tbsp||7 1/2 ml|
1. Have some rye flour on hand for dusting.
2. Have a dowel or a broom handle ready to use for shaping.
3. Have baking sheets lined with parchment paper ready.
Method for making Pistolets
1. Place the water, yeast, sugar, non-fat dry milk, malt syrup and half the flour in the bowl of a large mixer.
2. As you mix, cut up the butter and add it a bit at a time.
3. Add the rest of the flour slowly and mix until the dough comes together. This should take 2-3 minutes.
4. Stop mixing, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
5. Uncover the dough, add the salt and mix for 6 minutes more, until the dough forms a soft, wet dough.
6. Place the dough in a very large container for fermentation. This dough will more than triple — see pictures — so give it plenty of room to expand.
7. Ferment for 4 hours.
8. Uncover the dough, fold it gently and cover it back up. Ferment for another 45 minutes.
Here, you have some decisions to take. This dough will make enough rolls to crowd most ovens. You have to decide if you want to bake in two batches or to brave it and bake them all at once. I’ve tried both methods and had good rolls either way. If you decide to make two batches, then split the dough and reserve half of it for the second batch, otherwise, just shape and bake them all.
1. Flour the work surface with the rye flour.
2. Place the dough on the counter and divide it into the number of rolls you want. I use a scale to determine the size.
3. Roll the balls under your cupped hand to seal them tightly and build surface tension. Press hard.
4. Cover the group of dough balls with waxed paper and let them rest for 20 minutes.
5. Working with one roll at a time and leaving the rest covered, dust the top with rye flour (I dip the top in a bowl of flour)
6. Press the stick down the center of the roll. Leave a strip or dough 1/4 inch / 6 mm between the two sides.
7. Lift the roll, place the thumbs in the groove and stretch gently to make the roll longer.
8. Place the rolls seam down on the floured work surface.
9. Cover with waxed paper and let rest for 30 minutes.
10. If making two batches shape the second batch while the first batch is resting.
11. Place 1 1/2 cups / 350 ml of hot water in a pan in the oven and heat the oven to 425F / 220C.
12. Place the pistolets on the baking sheet seam up.
13. If using one sheet, place it in the middle of the oven. If using two sheets, place one on the middle rack and one on the top rack.
14. Bake for 10 minutes.
15. If using one rack, turn the baking sheet around. If using two trays, switch racks and turn the baking sheets around.
16. Bake another 10 minutes.
17. Check the rolls. You may have to move the rolls around on the baking sheet or change positions of the sheets to get the rolls to bake evenly. You may even find that some are done before others. If so, remove them and continue on with the others.
18 The Pistolets should be done in 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
19. Remove the Pistolets to a rack and let cool.
20. If you are baking a second batch, check the water in the pan and proceed.
Here we go:
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