Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bulgur Dinner Rolls

I had to laugh when my friend Katie pointed me in the direction of this recipe.  I immediately identified with the blogger, as I also suffer from CDUWG!  (That is, Compulsive Disorder of Using Whole Grains).  A few months ago, I thought I was cool for using brown rice instead of white rice.  Now my pantry is overflowing with whole wheat couscous, bulgur, quinoa... and I can't wait to discover and try out new whole grains. 

This recipe instantly drew me in.  The dinner rolls looked gorgeous and sounded perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.  Except, of course, that the recipe calls for all purpose flour.  Certainly, it has it's place, but I hate making "whole wheat" bread with 50% white flour.  Seems... silly, to me.  So, I poked Bridget, a fellow Reinhart/Whole Grain Breads follower, and asked for help figuring out how to adapt this to a whole wheat recipe.  See, I can bake right along with a recipe, for the most part (I see you, the elusive scone that I can't make without destroying). When it comes to translating technique from one recipe to another, I get lost.  I get scared.  I don't really take defeat in the kitchen very well, so I don't take too many chances.  I took Bridget's suggestion of combining the flour, milk, and some salt to make a soaker (as in the other recipes I've made from Reinhart).  Making the dough the next day was tricky, as it was way too wet. I didn't panic :-) and just added some more flour until it was no longer sticky.
The final product was beyond delicious.  I used fresh thyme instead of rosemary, since that's what I had.  The nutty whole wheat-y-ness was wonderful, even though I think I under-baked them a tad.  My husband and I fell in love with these dinner rolls, and they will certainly grace the table at Christmas.

Bulgur Dinner Rolls
Source: Adapted from Chef In You

Day 1: Prepare the soaker
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl for about one minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. (If you need more time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 days, but leave at room temp 2 hours before continuing with bread).

Day 2: Make the rolls
  • 1/2 cup bulgur (bulghur or burghul)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1. Place the cracked wheat (bulgur) into a bowl and pour out the boiling water over it. Cover and soak it for an hour until it has absorbed all the water.

2. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) and stir to dissolve.  Chop the soaker into 12 smaller pieces (sprinkle flour over pieces to prevent sticking).

3. By hand: add soaker and all the remaining ingredients to the yeast and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 2 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly integrated. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky, if not, add more flour or water as needed.

By stand mixer: add soaker and all the remaining ingredients to the yeast and mix on low speed for one minute with paddle (preferred) or hook. Switch to hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes until dough becomes cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

4. Dust a work surface with flour, the roll the dough in flour to coat. Knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes, incorporating only as much flour as needed, until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

5. Resume kneading for 1 minutes to strengthen the gluten and make any final water/flour adjustments. Dough should be soft and supple. Form dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

6. Transfer to lightly floured work surface. Divide into 10 pieces and roll into a round shape.  Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cloth towel. Let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake for15-20 minutes, until the edges turn a light brown.


  1. Yum! I'm excited to try these now! I've used Reinhart's soaking method for all kinds of things. Even if I am using 50% refined flour in a bread recipe, I like to soak the whole grain portion. It just behaves and tastes so much better.

  2. These look delish! Did you use the fine courseness of bulgur?

  3. Pamela, I *think* mine is medium. I got it from a bulk section, so I don't totally remember.

  4. I love the soak idea. They look so great! I'm going to have to try them that way!! :) YUM!

  5. I can't wait to try these! They sound great.

  6. Hi, I just found your blog while looking for a whole wheat bagel recipe (which I will be trying soon!) but had to comment on this post because I LOVE the "CDUWG" concept...I definitely have it too! Thank you for posting recipes that are 100% whole grain...look forward to trying some of your ideas and please feel free to check out my blog, too!