Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Strawberry Swirl Sweet Rolls #TwelveLoaves

When I got invited to participate in Twelve Loaves, a blog group that bakes bread and posts about it once a month, I was pretty sure I could handle the challenge.

Once a month, huh? Easy peasy.

The first challenge was strawberries, and I knew that I had some frozen berries waiting to be used. Perfect.

I waffled between making a swirled bread and swirled sweet rolls. Both had their advantages and disadvantages, but I settled on sweet rolls after letting my husband putting in his vote. Something about sweet rolls for breakfast.

The one issue with making any kind of swirled sweet roll is that whatever's in the swirl is going to be in contact with the bottom of the pan where it could burn. But ... but ... what about sticky buns? There's sugar and stuff there, but it doesn't burn ...

The answer is butter. Think about it. When you make sticky buns, you put butter and sugar in the bottom of the pan and it turns into gooey caramel. It doesn't burn. So I put butter in the bottom of this pan and when the dripping strawberry jam met the butter, it created a nice gooey sauce that didn't burn. Exactly what I wanted. Sticky bottoms.

I'm usually not a fan of super-sweet stuff, but I thought the powdered sugar icing was a perfect touch on these. My strawberries were tart, so the extra sweet worked well.

Strawberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

For the dough:
1 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the pan:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or softened

For the filling:
12 ounces frozen (or fresh*) strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons instant pectin

For the drizzle (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
Water, as needed

To make the dough:
Combine all the ingredients except the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer. Knead until the dough comes together and is beginning to get elastic. Add the butter and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

If you have softened butter for the dough, that's great, but there have been plenty of times when I've used it straight from the fridge. The stand mixer does a fine job incorporating it.

Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.

Now's a good time to get the pan ready:
I used a ceramic 9-inch square baking pan, and simply put it in the microwave to melt/soften the butter. Then I spread it to cover the whole bottom of the pan. If you're using a metal pan, you can melt/soften the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl, then spread it in the pan.

Meanwhile, make the filling:
Combine the strawberries, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan or saucier. Cook on medium until the sugar is melted and you can break up the berries into small bits. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens, then sprinkle the pectin in, stirring as you go. This will help it thicken and gel even more. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Now, back to the dough:
When the dough has doubled, flour your work surface and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Turn out the dough and form it into a rough square, then use a rolling pin to roll it to about 9x12 inches.

With one of the short sides facing you, spread the strawberry filling over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on the far side.

Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough up, keeping it a little loose rather than trying to roll it tightly. Slice the dough into 9 equal-sized pieces. Arrange the pieces, cut side down, on the buttered pan.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake the rolls at 325 degrees until they're nicely browned, about 35 minutes.

Let the rolls cool.

Make the drizzle:
Add water to the powdered sugar, a little at a time, stirring, until you have a thick but pourable mixture. Drizzle this over the cooled rolls.

*This post was created when fresh strawberries weren't in season. Of course you can always use fresh berries!


I'm a little bummed that I missed February, which was a delicious month of chocolate breads. Doesn't that sound great?

For March, we're anticipating the arrival of Spring (hurry up, Spring!) and baking with strawberries as the theme ingredient. That includes fresh, frozen or dried strawberries, or even jellies or jams. Sounds delicious, right?

Check out all the fun from these great bloggers who participated in this month's challenge:

 #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days and this month the fabulous Alice of Hip Foodie Mom.
Strawberry Swirl Sweet Rolls