Friday, April 15, 2016

Baker's Corner: Spinach and Mushroom Whole Wheat Rolls

I'm in one of my healthy eating phases right now. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I go through these 'episodes' twice or thrice a year. During this time you see the more 'healthy' recipes showing up on my blog. LOL! I'm too much of a foodie glutton to make it a permanent thing though. Come to think of it, I actually hate the word 'diet' (it has the word 'die' in it, duh!). Methinks, I should remove it completely from my vocabulary.

Like most normal human beings, I get peckish in the late afternoons and feel the need to nibble on some munchies. It generally helps stave off the mid-day energy slump. And having to chase after two super active puffs the whole day makes it an absolute necessity. If given a choice, I wouldn't think twice before reaching out for that bag of chips or some other unhealthy snack that I can get my hands on. But since I've been opting for sensible food choices, I made sure to stock up my fridge with a whole bunch of fruits and decided that I would turn to them when the PM hunger attacks strike. Well, guess what? I didn't last two days! On day three, I gazed scornfully at the guava in front of me and decided I couldn't do it without the risk of mindless binge eating later on. I needed something savoury and something a bit more substantial. And BOOM! These spinach and mushroom whole wheat rolls were born!

I may lack the motivation to adhere to my diet food intake regimen but I seldom lack the motivation to cook  



This recipe was a spur-of-the-moment thing born out of my desire to eat something hot and savoury with the ingredients I had on hand. I had absolutely no idea how they would turn out. I had whole wheat flour, tomatoes, onions, garlic, baby spinach, mushrooms and cheese so I just put everything together and said a little prayer. The fresh-out-of-the-oven rolls were soft, delicious and comforting. I could have rolled the dough a little thinner but that was the only minor failing that I perceived. I wanted a second opinion so I waited till my husband got back from work, pestered him for his verdict and was relieved when he concurred.

These rolls are great as an evening snack along with a hot beverage or even as an on-the-go breakfast. You can tweak this recipe to appease your taste buds. Be sure to scroll down to the notes section for possible variations and substitutions.

Happy healthy eating!

Spinach and Mushroom Whole Wheat Rolls

Preparation time: ~90 min (includes dough rising time)
Baking time: 30 min
Makes: 15 rolls
Recipe Category: Main course/Italian-inspired 
Recipe Level: Easy

Ingredients:

For the dough: 
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 envelope (~2.5 tsp) rapid rise yeast 
1.5 tsp white sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil

For the topping:
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup grated cheese (a mixture of mozzarella & cheddar)
200gm baby spinach, thoroughly washed and chopped
100gm button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Mix together flour, salt, sugar, oil & yeast in a large bowl. Add in the lukewarm water little by little and form into a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface for about 5 -8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.



3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. While the dough is rising, heat olive oil in a pot. Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent. Now add in the minced garlic and fry until fragrant. Add in the sliced mushrooms and sauté for a minute. Now add in the chopped spinach and cook until it wilts. Lightly season with salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix and leave aside to cool.




5. At the end of the dough rising time, lightly press two fingers 1/2" into the dough and if the dent remains, the dough is ready to use.


6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth. Roll the dough into a 12" X 8" rectangular shape using a rolling pin (I've not done a very good job....hope you fare better!). While rolling, if you find that the dough springs back, then it hasn't risen enough. Leave it to rise for another 10 min.


7. Spread the pizza sauce uniformly over the dough.


8. Sprinkle the cheese all over the layer of pizza sauce.


9. Now spread the spinach and mushroom mixture (discard the water) over the entire area leaving a gap at the sides.


10. Roll the dough tightly lengthwise to resemble a log.


11. Cut into 1.5" wide wide rolls. Place the rolls cut side down on the baking tray. Make sure to space the rolls about 2-3 cm apart.


12. Brush the rolls with an egg wash or milk if desired. Bake at 180 deg C for about 30 minutes till the cheese has melted and is golden.



13. Remove tray from oven and brush with melted butter. To take it up a notch, you can brush it with garlic herb butter. If you don't have garlic herb butter, then melt salted butter with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed garlic and half teaspoon of herbs of choice

14. Serve as it is or with sauce of your liking. Enjoy!


Notes:
  • You can make these rolls with plain/all-purpose flour as well
  • You can use active dry yeast instead of rapid rise (instant) yeast. Active dry yeast has a larger granule and needs to be dissolved in lukewarm warm water (about 110°F) before using, while instant yeast has a more fine texture and can be mixed right into dry ingredients. You can use the same amount i.e. 1 envelope. The dough rising time may increase slightly with the active dry yeast
  • You can use any variety of mushrooms you like. Same goes with the cheese but a melty kind of cheese such as mozzarella, fontina, gruyere or camembert work best
  • Make sure you wash the spinach thoroughly under running water (soaking it for a while would be a good idea too). Even the cleanest spinach may have traces of grit in it and you do not want that in your rolls
  • You can sprinkle some dried red chilli flakes after spreading the spinach-mushroom mixture if you like some heat
  • You can make your own DIY pizza sauce at home (like I did). Just saute 1 small chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil. Add chopped blanched and peeled ripe tomatoes, salt and sugar to taste and 1/2 tsp dried herbs of your choice. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Cool completely before proceeding with the recipe. I also added 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder to give it that bright red color


Similar recipes on the blog that you can check out,
Cheesy Garlic Herb Whole Wheat Loaf
Pesto Rolls
Pizza Buns
Savoury Whole Wheat Buns


Cheers,


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