Sometimes, it's the story behind the dish that pulls you in: Legend has it that these cornmeal and molasses rolls are named for a New England fisherman's curse on his wife: "Anna, damn her!" Regardless of what she may have done to upset her spouse, she was a great baker.
Course Side Dish
Keyword rolls, yeast rolls
Prep Time 40minutes
Cook Time 30minutes
Total Time 2hours30minutes
1envelopeactive dry yeast
4 3/4cupsbread flour
stand mixer with a dough hook
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk,water and salt to a boil. Whisk in the the cornmeal a little at a time and cook until mixture thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the molasses. Whisk to combine. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer. Continue to whisk every few minutes to help the mixture cool to about 115°F about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the warm water to a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top of it. Set aside until the yeast blooms and the mixture takes on a spongy look, about 10-12 minutes.
Add the yeast to the cornmeal mixture and stir together. Assemble the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. With the machine running on low, add the flour one heaping tablespoon at a time to the cornmeal mixture. When all of the flour is incorporated, turn the speed up one to two turns and knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic (it will also be a bit sticky).
Grease a large clean bowl with a teaspoon of butter, then add the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat with butter. Cover with saran wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.
Spray two 9-inch diameter cake pans with vegetable spray.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Cut the dough in half and place it on the work surface. Roll the dough into an 9" long log. Cut the log into 9 - 1" sections and roll each dough into a ball with floured hands. Arrange the dough in the cake pans.
If making now let the dough rise for 30 minutes until doubled in volume.
Position rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Melt two tablespoons butter and brush over the rolls. Mix the poppy and sesame seeds together and sprinkle over the rolls. Place rolls in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
If freezing and baking later, let the dough rise for 15 minutes, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When ready to bake transfer the dough to the refrigerator the night before to thaw. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle on the poppy and sesame seeds. Place rolls in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes (allowing 5-10 minutes more than the regular cooking time to account for the cold dough) or until rolls are golden brown.