The wonderful thing about writing a food blog is that unless you stop eating, you just never run
of out of original things to write about. Of course, I’m not referring to the splogs and the copycats as they’re not really food blogs but parasites — leeches, to be more precise.
The thing is, for a bona fide food blogger, even kitchen disasters can be written about and shared in the hope that readers learn and not make the same mistakes.
And so I introduce to you lessons I learned from baking meat rolls. It’s definitely not my first time to make meat rolls. I’ve been making them since last year. What I was so excited about this batch was how easy it felt to knead the dough by hand, to form and fill them and, finally to twist and seal the edges to enfold the filling. I’m getting really good at it. I can tell whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded just by the way it feels in my hands. My dough was light and pliable, I’ve discovered the perfect salt-sugar-flour-water-oil ratio and, after baking, the bread was oh, so light and airy!
Okay, so where did disaster strike if the bread was so perfect? It was the filling.
I used ground meat, vegetables and herbs.
And I added some extras to make the mixture even more tasty.
I let the filling sit in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop while I waited for the dough to rise.
Then, I formed the meat into balls, placed them at the center of flattened discs of dough, sealed them, brushed the tops with egg wash and into the oven they went.
They looked so perfect when the came out of the oven. Speedy even commented how good they looked — lightly browned, well risen and just really gorgeous. And I was so proud.
Until we bit into our meat rolls.
The filling had shrunk. The two-inch meatballs had become one-inch meatballs after baking. I should have known, right? Meat shrinks as it cooks — isn’t that why I’ve always used cooked meat for my meat roll filling? Just compare the photo above with those from last year’s meat rolls.
The upside is that the meat juices were absorbed by the dough making the inside of the rolls really moist and tasty. The downside is that there was a considerable amount of space between the filling and the internal wall of the bread. In terms of taste, I couldn’t complain. The filling was good, the bread was perfect… but the proportion was awfully screwed.
Lesson learned? No more raw meat filling when making meat rolls. Cooked meat with some sauce is really the way to go.