Bread's kind of a big deal in the Bay Area. Setting aside the obvious connotation with soudrough, we've had some of the leading artisanal bakeries in the nation for decades now. We're blessed in that regard. Practically every store carries at least one of the major bread baker's products, whether Acme or Semmifreddi's or Della Fattoria or what have you. And very good breads these are, if you're looking for hardy, rustic loaves or a fine baguette. Or, um, sourdough. But sometimes, especially when accompanying a holiday meal, nothing satisfies more than a light, fluffy white roll. And as lovely and lovingly made as the artisan bakers' breads are, this is one hole in the repertory I've yet to see filled adequately.
Luckily, I am married to an increasingly skilled baker. (Well, maybe not so lucky for my waistline.) Armed with a copy of The Bread Baker's Apprentice and his own innate ability to coax magic from flour, water and yeast, he mastered the dinner roll in no time flat.
According to him, these rolls are easy as bread making goes. I'll take his word for it. When we made the first batch, he asked me to help shape the rolls. There was little mystery about which one of us touched which piece of dough. His were perfectly smooth orbs; mine were deformed masses. Fortunately, even I could not destroy their rich flavor.