Submitted by Jan Nicholas
¾ cup cold water plus 2 Tablesps (very important)
6 Tablesps butter (¾ stick)
¾ cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose wheat (white) flour
trace of salt (two light shakes or to taste)
1 ½ ounces of raisins
3 eggs *
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 425F. Have ready one large, nonstick, heavy-gauge metal cookie sheet. Put the water and the butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan, preferably with a rounded bottom, over medium heat. Occasionally stir the mixture while you wait for the butter to melt.
Meanwhile, thoroughly combine the two flours, and a pinch of salt in a medium-mixing bowl.
As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture begins to simmer, add the dry mix all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Within just a few seconds, the dough will become smooth and leave the bottom and sides of the pan. Keep stirring until no flour shows. Cook for about 10 seconds longer and remove from heat.
Put the hot saucepan on a cold burner or other safe surface. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. At first the dough will appear lumpy. When the whole eggs have been added, the dough will be smooth. It should be creamy and hold peaks with almost no settling. Work in the egg white. Now the dough will be just right; it will still hold its shape, but in softer peaks. It should form mounds that do not spread on the cookie sheet, but sink back and broaden out slightly. Occasionally, you may need to make a judgment call.
Depending on the size of the eggs, the dough may be sufficiently soft even before you add the final egg white. In that case, omit the egg white or add it by the Tablesp. The right consistency makes the best rolls. Dough that is too stiff results in smaller rolls; dough that is too soft (i.e., spreads out wide on the cookie sheet) may result in flat rolls.
If you like, use your electric mixer to work in the eggs. Simply transfer the hot dough from the saucepan to the mixer bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Do not over beat because if you do, the rolls may develop large air pockets. Use a flat beater if you have one.
Once all eggs have been worked into the dough, stir in 1 ½ ounces of raisins. The raisin rolls will not rise as high, but they will taste terrific.
Put spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet, choosing the size you prefer. Use large Teasps or even soupspoons to drop the dough. Place them fairly close together.
Bake the rolls at 425F to 450F for about 15 to 18 minutes and check early until they are golden brown and crusty on top. Promptly freeze rolls that you do not plan to use the day they are baked. Take them out of the bag to thaw at room temperature. You can also put the frozen rolls in the oven, set at 350F (no need to pre-heat), and bake for 5 minutes. You can toast rolls (slice in half), but you need a wide-slot toaster or toaster oven. The rolls toast rapidly, so use the lowest setting.
Save unused rolls in a dry place until rock hard. They will be used for Magnificent Bread Crumbs.
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