I often bake this bread with my oldest son, Lucas, who knows the recipe by heart. Baking teaches children many things, such as measuring, following directions and, most importantly, patience—especially when you are dealing with dough that needs to rise not once, but twice. Feel free to improvise with the filling, adding chopped chocolate or anything else in your pantry that catches your fancy. Whatever you choose, be sure to bake these rolls in a sided cake pan, as the dulce de leche is likely to bubble over. The smell wafting through the house while the bread is baking is sure to whet everyone’s appetite. This recipe was originally inspired by Jamie Oliver’s chocolate twister bread. These rolls are the perfect complement to a glass of warm milk or cup of tea. They have the ideal consistency for dunking.
Serves 12; Prep time: Active: 25 min., Total: 2 hours
1 oz. fresh yeast or ¾ oz. active dried yeast (three ¼ oz. packages)
2 generous tablespoons of raw honey
3-3 ½ cups of tepid water
6-8 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tablespoons sea salt
Extra flour for dusting
dulce de leche, approximately 1 cup
FOR THE DOUGH: preheat oven to 325°. Dissolve the yeast and raw honey in 1 cup of tepid water. Let stand until yeast dissolves and the mixture becomes bubbly, about 5 minutes. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl or on a clean surface; make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix together until all the yeasty liquid is soaked up; pour in the water, as needed, and gradually incorporate all the flour to make moist dough. Knead the dough by rolling, pushing and folding it for 5 minutes. (This is a good workout! If the dough begins to stick to your hands, pat flour on them and rub together.) Flour both hands, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Form the dough into a roundish shape and place it on a baking tray. Score it deeply with a knife, allowing it to rise, about 40 minutes. Note: After the first rising, the dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for a day.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and form a ball. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Let each section rise again. After the second rising, put each dough ball on a floured board and form a square shape. Roll out to about 7 inches wide, then roll the other way to achieve a long rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. It doesn’t have to be exact, just uniform.
Using a spatula, spread the dulce de leche evenly and thinly across the dough. (Sprinkle with chopped or grated chocolate or crushed nuts, if desired.) Roll up across the width like a jelly roll. Cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide slices. Place the slices next to each other on a greased baking sheet, cut side facing upward, with small gaps in between.
This is what the rolls will look like just before going into the oven.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.