Decoupaged Herb & Sesame Brioche Rolls
½ cup warm water, 105-115˚ F., if you're not used to working with yeast, use a thermometer
1 tablespoon dry yeast
4 large eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup softened butter
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon water
flat leaf parsley leaves or other small herb leaves (I've tried a variety of herbs - it seems that the flat leaf parsley works the best and stays the greenest after baking, feel free to experiement with other herbs and let me know if you find something that works as well or even better).
1. Place water in a small bowl. Add yeast and stir well. Let mixture sit until it begins to bubble and foam. Add 1/2 cup of the flour. Stir to form a loose paste. Set bowl in a warm place for about an hour, until batter has risen and begins to fall.
2. Add eggs, sugar, salt and remaining flour to the fallen yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or use the dough hook on a stand mixer to mix until flour is completely incorporated. Continue to knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic either by hand or with the mixer. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Add the soft butter and knead until it's fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.
3. Cover dough with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
4. To form into rolls, either line a sheet pan with parchment paper, butter a 12-cup muffin pan or, if using disposable brioche cups, spray them lightly with baking spray.
5. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. To make the individual rolls, I just plop the dough down onto a well floured work surface. Turn the dough to coat it with flour. Cut into 12 equal pieces. If you coat each piece with a bit of flour they will be much easier to work with. If you're not used to shaping dough into balls, here's a great tutorial. Place dough balls either on the prepared sheet pan or in the muffin or brioche cups. Cover rolls with kitchen towel, place in a warm area and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Combine egg and the tablespoon of water and stir vigorously to combine. Brush tops of the buns with this egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. To do the herb decoupage, brush dough balls with egg wash then place one or more parsley leaves on top of each one. With your finger rub over top of each leaf to flatten to the surface of the roll. Brush with more egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until deep golden on the top and golden on the bottom of the buns. Cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To freeze, place on a sheet pan. Place pan in freezer till rolls are frozen, about one hour. When frozen, transfer to zip lock plastic bags. To serve, unthaw and warm in oven for 10 minutes at 325˚ F.
Makes 12 large dinner rolls