Monday, February 1, 2016

Cookbook Countdown #2 - Homemade Checkerboard Rolls

Cookbook Countdown is a monthly cooking/baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  Everyone is welcome to join us. How does it work? To summarize, you may select a cookbook from your own cookbook collection, to cook or bake from each month. That selected book shall be your cookbook of the month. You may cook any recipes and as many recipes as you want from your selected book of the month. This is a fabulous way of using your cookbooks at least once! For more information on how to join Cookbook Countdown, please click here


Cookbook Countdown #2 : Recipe No. 1
from my selected cookbook for this month, Better Homes and Garden : Baking

There are more than 350 recipes in this book! And each recipe comes with a photo. Now which recipe should I make first? Could not decide... just too many, but there's always some recipes that stands out among the many dozens in the book. Just like this one, Homemade Checkerboard Rolls. I keep going back to this particular page each time I browse thru the book. I finally tried out the recipe on one afternoon and here it is :

These are little bread rolls, made checkerboard style, by using a different topping (one light and one dark) and placing them next to each other. The dough is pretty easy to make. One thing to note is I did not use the 1/4 cup of warm water as stated in the recipe. Our weather is hot and humid, and we tend to use slightly less water. So I have omitted the water, thinking of adding it in by the tablespoons if needed during kneading. Turns out it did not need the water at all, the dough is soft, only slightly sticky and very easy to work with. The amount of flour I used is 3-3/4 cups and I have used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. Depending on the environment and type of flour used, you may need to adjust the amount of flour and liquid accordingly.

There are two different toppings. One is a mixture of black poppy seeds and white sesame seeds. The other is a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese and fine cornmeal. When the dough is ready to be shaped, divide it into 24 rolls (about 36grams each), dip the rounded top into a small bowl of melted butter, then dipped the buttered part into one of the topping mixtures. Repeat with the other topping mixture. Place the rolls next to each other in a greased pan, alternately, into a checkerboard pattern. Cover with greased cling wrap and let to rise until double in size, about only 30 minutes. Bake as directed in the recipe.

The baked rolls.

With different toppings.

These rolls are soft and nice. I made them meant for breakfast the next morning, but in the end we had these with some homemade stew for dinner instead! There's only 6 left for the following morning's breakfast.

Homemade Checkerboard Rolls
(adapted from "Better Homes and Garden : Baking", or here)
Makes 24 small rolls
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (105F to 115F) (omitted, refer instruction below *)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (I use in total about 3-3/4 cups bread flour)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons dried minced onion or dried minced garlic (omit this)
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and the salt; heat and stir over medium-low heat until warm (105F to 115F). Meanwhile, in a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water. (* I did not use the warm water since the dough is soft and slightly sticky, and since I'm using instant yeast, I added the instant yeast to the lukewarm milk mixture, stir with a whisk until dissolve, then add in the egg, and proceed with Step 2 below, adding the flour).
  2. Add the milk mixture and egg to yeast mixture. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes). Shape dough into ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). (I use the stand mixer with the dough hook, to knead the dough, about 10 minutes).
  4. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 24 pieces. (I weighed the dough, and divide into 24 rounds of about 36 grams each). Gently shape into balls.
  5. In a shallow dish combine sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and dried minced onion. In another shallow dish combine cornmeal and cheese. Place 1/4 cup melted butter in a third dish. Working quickly, roll dough pieces in butter and in one of the seasoning mixtures to lightly coat. Coat half of the rolls with one seasoning mixture and the remaining rolls with the other seasoning mixture. Alternate rolls in prepared pan. Cover rolls with greased plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To Make Ahead :
Prepare as directed through Step 5. Chill for up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Continue as directed in Step 6. Or prepare and bake rolls as directed. Wrap cooled rolls in plastic wrap; place in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, heat rolls in a 375F oven for 5 to 8 minutes.

"I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by 


  1. Oh my, looks fabulous and a lot of work! But lovely results you got there!

  2. Hi Joyce,

    These checkerboard buns look very fluffy and spongy... Nice! Sorry that I have not been linking with you and Emily at Cookbook Countdown. I will link with you when I do a book review this month :)


  3. There is nothing better than hot bread/rolls coming out of the oven. The fragrance is divine and eating a fresh roll is the epitome of indulgence. These look perfectly delicious.