Rockin’ Rolls

Herb-inflected rolls with unforgettable flavor.

That’s precisely what these are.

Crispy on the outside, pillowy inside, and suffused with fresh parsley, dill, chives and rosemary for an herbal blast.

These aren’t rolls that you put out just to have something on the side. No, these are rolls with personality that you remember.

The recipe for “Overnight Herb Rolls” is from Chef Bradley Ogden, a pioneer in contemporary American cooking. He created these when he was head chef at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur (now the Tavern at Lark Creek).

The recipe is from “The Sunset Cookbook” (Oxmoor House), which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks of the year with its more than 1,000 recipes culled from the magazine that covers the West.

Balls of dough prior to rising.

This simple dough, enriched with egg, butter and milk, comes together effortlessly. Let the dough rise the day you plan to bake the rolls. Or store the dough overnight in the fridge, then allow to rise the next day on the countertop before baking. For the latter method, the recipe says to allow 45 to 60 minutes for the dough to double in size as it rises on the countertop. Maybe my fridge is colder than most or I made these on an especially chilly day, but I found it took more like 2 hours for the dough to rise appreciatively.

Enjoy them warm with butter — or not. They’re so tasty, you almost don’t need anything else.

Good to go right out of the pan.

Overnight Soft Herb Rolls

(Makes 12 rolls)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

1 tablespoon EACH minced flat-leaf parsley, dill,  chives and rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg plus 1 tablespoon lightly beaten egg

1 cup milk or half-and-half

3 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup cool (70-degree) water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, table salt, herbs, butter, whole egg, and milk; add flour and stir just until moistened.

Knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until elastic and not sticky, about 15 minutes; add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Shape into 12 equal-size balls and transfer to a well-buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Let dough rise in a warm (about 80 degrees) place, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, until doubled, 45 t0 90 minutes. (A good place to let it rise is inside your oven with the pilot light turned on and the door closed.) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until deep golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: Once you shape the balls and place them in the buttered baking pan, you can wrap the pan airtight and chill for up to 1 day (do not let rise before chilling). The next day, allow dough to rise on the countertop. Because the dough is so cold, it may take up to 2 hours for the dough to rise. Once it has doubled in size, proceed with the rest of the baking directions above.

Per roll: 192 cal., 18 percent (34 cal.) from fat; 5.5 g protein; 3.8 g fat (2 g sat.); 33 g carbo (1.2 fiber); 604 mg sodium; 32 mg chol.

Adapted from “The Sunset Cookbook”

Another recipe from “The Sunset Cookbook”: Beef-Ale Stew and Green Onion-Buttermilk Dumplings

Another Bradley Ogden Recipe: Butterscotch Pudding

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