One thing I miss about California is the proximity of my dad’s place to the King’s Hawaiian Bakery. I particularly miss Hawaiian Bread on the holidays, when there’s quite often a honey-baked ham around. Hawaiian rolls are a great side to a holiday ham. And, they make awesome ham and cheese sliders. [I can personally attest to these sliders as the perfect pyjama food…the ideal midnight movie snack, especially with a beer or a giant glass of cold milk]. Lucky for me, one of my friends in Cali offered me her aunt Bunny’s knock-off recipe for the rolls [yeah, I know…Easter Rolls from Bunny!], which I tweaked to my liking.
Bunny's Homemade Hawaiian Rolls
- 2 packets [4.5 tsp] Instant or Active Dry Yeast [I'm coming to prefer instant]
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 c warm water
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 c unsweeteened pineapple juice [I just used the juice from a strained can of pineapple tidbits]
- 1/2 c unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 c coconut milk [save the rest for curry]
- 1/2 c sugar [optional but amazing]
- 1/3 c honey
- 1 tsp salt [optional especially if serving with ham]
- 1 tsp vanilla [optional]
- 6 c all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs cream or water
- Butter Topping
- 3-5 tbs unsalted butter melted.
- Drop the yeast and sugar into the warm water and stir gently.
- Let the yeast mixture proof for 10 minutes or until mixture is gloriously full and foamy.
- [If the yeast mixture does not foam, discard, purchase new yeast, and try again!]
- In the bowl of a mixer fixed with a bread hook, combine, eggs, juice, butter, coconut milk, [sugar], honey, [salt] and [vanilla].
- Add yeast mixture when proofed.
- Slowly add flour by the cup-full until throughly combined.
- When the dough begins to pull away from the bowl, knead on low for 2-3 minutes. [If you end up kneading too much, no worries, you'll just end up with an almost "brioche" style dinner roll!]
- Spray a large glass or non-reactive bowl with oil or dab thoroughly with your used butter wrapper.
- Remove ball of elastic dough to the oiled/buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Set aside in a warm, dark place until doubled [about an hour].
- Pat dough down gently.
- Form into 18-24 equally sized balls.
- Grease two 9-inch round pans, two square pans, one very large rectangular baking tray or the equivalent. If you line the pans with parchment, use a little baking spray. [I used a large baking tray lined with parchment]
- Place dough balls inside spaced evenly apart.
- Wrap in plastic and set aside, until doubled in size again [about an hour].
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Spread egg wash over tops of rolls.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Brush with melted butter.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Slice rolls along the edges and remove from pan.
- Store in plastic containers or airtight bags for 2-3 days [if they last that long].
To make an Easter Monday slider, slice roll in half, add a few slices of ham, cheddar or swiss, and hot mustard, and heat in a 350 oven for a few minutes if desired.