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Apple-Pepper-Cheddar Rolls

Not that odd a combination, really:  think about all those people who eat cheddar on their apple pies!   I like these for breakfast.

Makes 4 large rolls or 8 small rolls

1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon yeast

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely grated

275 grams flour
either 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour or whole wheat flour
    275 grams hard white wheat
milled with 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(if not milled into the flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  When bubbly, stir in the milk, applesauce and cheddar. 

Stir together the dry ingredients.  Mix wet & dry together per your favorite kneading technique.  This recipe works by hand, by mixer, or by food processor.  I like to use the food processor:  with the metal blade NOT the dough blade, mix all until the dough comes together in a ball.  Stop and let the flour hydrate for 10-15 minutes.  The dough should be soft & bouncy; you may need to add a little extra flour or water to finish the dough.  Process again.  Keep processing for about 45 seconds after the dough forms a smooth ball and cleans the side of the processor.

Remove from processor bowl, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth ball.  Let rise, covered, in your favorite spot.  The temperature is not critical--warm place, room temp, or refrigerate overnight before putting back warm, all are fine options.  Punch down and shape directly, or let rise a second time--whatever suits your schedule. 

Divide into 4-8 pieces (for smaller or large rolls) and shape into simple rounds, or roll into long strands and braid, or tie into a decorative knot--whatever you like.  Let rise, covered, on baking sheets until well proofed.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake approximately 20 minutes for small rolls, or 30 minutes for large rolls.

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