About a month ago I bought a big bag of rye flour to make a sourdough starter. I also bought an airtight plastic container to store it in because I like all my flours to have cute containers. My sourdough starter went to hell quickly and the rye container moved to the back of my cabinet.

Forward to yesterday. I’m all gung ho to make these rolls, open the rye flour, and see a nasty in my flour. And what appeared to be the nasty’s babies in a little nest. I don’t even know what it was, when I described it to Spencer he said it sounded like a moth. I was so disgusted. Luckily, the container only held so much of the flour and I had thrown the rest in the freezer. I had just enough for this recipe.

So hey, you guys, hide your rye flour from critters. Learn from my stupidity!

PS. The rolls are fabulous! I’m an onion hater but they work in here.

Rye Pecan Rolls
  • 1 medium onion chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon salt divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast from a 1/4-oz package
  • 1/4 cup warm water 105–115°F
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup pecans toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1/4 cup nigella or poppy seeds
  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 3Cook onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain onions in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving onions. Stir milk into onion oil in bowl.
  2. Stir together yeast, warm water, and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)
  3. Mix flours, pepper, milk mixture, and remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons salt into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, about 6 minutes.
  4. Pat dough into a 9-inch square and sprinkle with onions and pecans. Fold dough over to enclose filling and pinch edges to seal. Knead to distribute onion and nuts throughout dough, dusting with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. (Dough will be lumpy; if any nuts or pieces of onion pop out, just push them back in.)
  5. Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft- free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll half of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands into a 12-inch-long log (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Cut log into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you roll in a circular motion. Arrange rolls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Make more rolls with remaining dough, arranging and covering them on second sheet. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  8. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes.



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