portuguese sweet rolls

Except for the odd grilled cheese or (plain) pasta day, C.’s not a school lunch kind of kid. And I fear I’ve spoiled him by having fresh baked goods at the ready. In the past, he’d often take a few pieces of baguette or sometimes these garlic and cheese biscuits (easy to make in a jiffy), but since he’s gotten his palate expander, crustier breads are off limits and I’ve been on a quest to find something more appropriate.

I baked him some Portuguese Sweet Rolls for this week’s lunch. I omitted the lemon oil because I didn’t think that would fly with him, and the vanilla as well, because I didn’t remember tasting vanilla in the rolls I’ve had before. Per the instructions, I baked them in two 9″ round pans. After proofing and baking, they had puffed up to the point that they touched, so they have flat sides. In spite of rotating the pans and tenting them with foil mid-bake, the tops browned a bit unevenly and the bottoms browned a lot more than I would’ve liked (I’m thinking this is due to the higher fat and sugar content). C. didn’t care — he was pleased as punch!

After shaping the rolls.

Cooling after baking.

soft garlic knots

It’s Pasta Night at our house! I needed something bready to go along with Giada De Laurentiis’s marinara sauce and turkey meatballs, so this recipe came to mind. Baker’s Banter featured them awhile back and I tucked it away deep within the recesses of my brain. Mine didn’t rise as much as theirs and didn’t puff as much — I suspect there are two reasons for this. First, I probably should have mixed it longer — my dough wasn’t as smooth as their pictured dough. Secondly, (related to the first thing) I realized belatedly that the recipe suggests you add additional water if you are making these in the winter (due to drier conditions). A little more liquid would’ve made the dough smoother as well.

I made about half of them plain garlic butter and sprinkled the other half with Italian herbs. I made the mistake of trying to puree the garlic and the melted butter together in my food processor, as Baker’s Banter did, instead of following my intuition and either chopping the garlic in the processor before adding the butter, or crushing the garlic by hand. Baker’s Banter did their processing in a mini-processor; I used a full-size processor and the blade did not make adequate contact with the garlic and so I ended up with butter with largish garlic chunks. As a result, the knots weren’t really that garlicky. Lesson learned for next time. They were good with the pasta dinner nevertheless.

sub rolls

I made these sub rolls to accompany my slow-cooker barbecued pulled pork. I also learned a few lessons that you might not have expected during this process.

(1) I cannot fit two half-sheet pans and a steam pan in my oven at once.

(2) If you keep opening the oven door to try to figure out how to squeeze two half-sheet pans and a steam pan inside, the oven will cool down…

(3) … a lot.

(4) If you smell smoke and the oven is on, maybe you should check it out.

(5) Parchment paper may smolder at temps over 420 degree F just like the box says (even though this never happened to me before at much higher temps).

(6) Sub rolls are very forgiving.

And finally…

(7) A 14-year-old boy can easily put away 3 pulled pork subs in one sitting.