Mushroom-shaped Breads

Makes 20 rolls

mushroom rolls

One fall day, I was taking in the food scene in the arcaded markets of Reggio Emilia with my good friend Lorenza Iori. I told Lorenza that I was particularly interested in seeing some bread making, both traditional and not so traditional. She took me to Panificio Melli, where I saw and tasted all the local specialties, from erbazzone, a tangy beet tart, to chizze, small pieces of puff pastry filled with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and baked. But it was the window display of mushroom-shaped rolls and breads that caught my attention and I knew I had to make them, if only for their very clever resemblance to the real thing. Either the Straight Dough or the Simply Sweet Dough (from page 87 of the book) can be used to make these. Pile them up in a rustic basket and use them as the centerpiece to a country supper.

1 recipe Straight Dough

Lightly spray two baking sheets with olive oil spray and set aside.

Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Roll the dough out under your palms to a 20-inch-long log.

With a sharp knife, cut the log into 20 pieces. Roll 10 of the pieces under the palm of your handinto 2-inch-wide slightly flattened balls. Space them 1 inch apart on a prepared baking sheet; these are your mushroom caps. Cover with a clean towel anld set aside.

Roll the remaining 10 pieces into 3-inch-long mushroom stems and space them 1 inch apart on the second baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let the mushroom caps and stems rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25minutes, until they just begin to color—they should remain pale, like a button mushroom. Remove the mushroom caps and stems to a rach to cool completely.

With a small sharp knife, make a slit in the under side of each mushroom cap just wide enough to accomodate a stem, ensuring a tight fit. Wedge the stems onto the mushroom caps. Pleace them on a decorative serving dish or in a basket and wait for everyone to say, "Where did you find such beautiful mushrooms?"


What You Knead
Three Simple Yeast Doughs That Turn into
Dozens of Breads, Pizzas, Savory Pies, and Desserts
by Mary Ann Esposito
William Morrow & Co.
1997; $22.00/hardcover
Recipes & photos reprinted by permission.


Spring Flings


What You Knead, by Mary Ann Esposito

More Cooking Secrets of the CIA,
from the Culinary Institute of America

This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.


Modified August 2007