I love making dinner rolls of all kinds, and one of my favorites are these chubby little vegan pompons which I adapted heavily from a Joy of Cooking recipe.
The original recipe calls for milk, butter and an egg. I replace them with my preferred substitutes: soymilk, canola oil plus a little transfat-free shortening, and some ground flax seed. I have in my pre-vegan days made the original version, and believe me, these vegan rolls are as good if not an improvement, taste- and texture-wise.
Since this is a yeasted bread, it will take a little longer to make than a quick roll like a popover, but it doesn’t really take that long at all, and the results are well worth the few hours of waiting.
These rolls are wonderful with almost anything. Eat them drizzled with olive oil, pesto, with some jelly, or just by themselves. They don’t last long around my house at all.
So on with the recipe. These are so good, I cannot wait to share them with you!
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup warm soy milk or other nondairy milk (Not hot! You should be able to dip a finger into it easily without yelping. Otherwise you'll kill the yeast before it gets to do its job.)
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp transfat-free vegetable shortening (you can replace this too with canola oil but I find the shortening adds a great, flaky texture. Plus, it's better for you than butter because it is lower in saturated fats and has no cholesterol).
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed well with 3 tbsp water
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
- Mix together the yeast and water and let it stand in a warm place for five minutes until the yeast starts to multiply.
- Add to the yeast the nondairy milk, oil, shortening, sugar, flaxmeal mixture, and mix till well blended.
- Add the bread flour and white whole wheat flour.
- Knead until well integrated and dough forms in a smooth ball, about 10 minutes on low speed in a stand mixer, or by hand. The dough will be slightly moist but not sticky.
- Now place in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen napkin and set aside to rise about 1½ hours.
- Punch down the dough, then divide it into 18 pieces. Roll each into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Brush the rolls with some olive oil and let them sit in a warm place for about 1 hour until they are approximately double in size.
- Make a wash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp soy milk. Brush the tops of the pompoms with this wash: it will give them a beautiful golden-brown color when they are baked.
- Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown. Eat warm. To reheat, put in a 350-degree oven for about 3 minutes (I usually preheat them directly on the rack, but be careful as ignoring them for just a little longer might burn the bottom!).