Herbed Fontina Rolls with Marinara Sauce
Perfect for sharing and packed with melty fontina cheese and a quartet of aromatic herbs, these yeasted potato rolls will chase away even the coldest of winter chills. Fluffy, buttery, and savory but with a touch of sweet from honey, they make for a fun appetizer or side for your holiday spread.
Yield: 23 rolls
For the Rolls:
- 3 to 3¼ cups (381 to 413 grams) bread flour, divided
- 3 tablespoons (6 grams) finely chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
- 1¾ teaspoons (5.25 grams) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
- ½ cup (120 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) whole milk, divided
- 10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
- ½ cup (122 grams) plain, cooked, and mashed potatoes
- 3 tablespoons (63 grams) honey
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), divided
- 5.75 ounces (161 grams) fontina cheese
For the Marinara Sauce (for serving):
- Makes 1½ cups
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic (30 grams), minced
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) tomato paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can (425 grams) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons (4 grams) chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons (14 grams) honey
- 1¼ teaspoons (3.75 grams) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground black pepper
For the Garnish
- Flaked sea salt
- Crushed red pepper
- Step 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup (127 grams) flour, 2 tablespoons (4 grams) basil, yeast, kosher salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, and 1 teaspoon rosemary until well combined.
- Step 2. In a medium saucepan, combine ½ cup (120 grams) milk and 6 tablespoons (84 grams) butter; cook over medium heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add potatoes, honey, and 1 egg (50 grams); beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add 2 cups (254 grams) flour, beating just until combined.
- Step 3. Switch to the dough hook attachment; beat at medium-low speed for 4 to 6 minutes, adding up to remaining ¼ cup (32 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, until a smooth, elastic dough forms. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see Note]; scrape sides of bowl and dough hook as needed.)
- Step 4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray; place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Step 5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cheese into 0.25-ounce (7-gram) cubes.
- Step 6. Punch down dough. Turn out dough, and divide into 23 portions (about 35 grams); cover with a piece of plastic wrap. (You should not need much additional flour, if any.) Flatten 1 piece of dough, and place 1 cheese cube in center; pinch dough closed, and gently shape into a ball, pressing together any seams, if needed. Repeat with remaining dough. Place balls, seam side down, on prepared pan in a Christmas tree shape, starting with 2 balls for the trunk and 6 balls for the first row; reduce each following row by 1 ball, leaving a ¼-inch gap between each. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Step 7. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Step 8. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) milk; brush onto rolls.
- Step 9. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190°F (88°C), 15 to 20 minutes.
- Step 10. Make marinara sauce: In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in basil, honey, salt, and pepper.
- Step 11. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, remaining 1 tablespoon (2 grams) basil, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon oregano, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary. Brush herb butter onto rolls. Serve warm with Marinara Sauce. Garnish with sea salt and crushed red pepper, if desired.
- Recipe in partnership with Bake From Scratch.
Note: Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute more, and test again.