Makes 12 to 15 rolls
3½ cups warm water (105”“110°F)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
¼ cup leaf lard* or vegetable shortening, plus more for greasing bowl
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour, locally sourced if possible
2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur, plus more as needed
Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling on top of rolls
Poirier’s Butter (recipe below)
*Buy leaf lard, the purer white fat around a pig’s kidneys, at full-service butchers and larger supermarkets (it may be fresh or frozen)
1. Put water in a large bowl; add honey and yeast and stir to combine. Let stand until yeast starts to bubble, about 2 minutes. Add lard and salt and stir to combine. Add wholewheat and bread flours and stir until a soft, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding more bread flour as needed (up to ½ cup), until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
2. Grease another large bowl with lard or vegetable shortening; put dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rest in a warm spot until double in size, about 1 hour (watch that your dough doesn’t rise and fall in on itself).
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a knife, divide dough into 12 to 15 equal-size pieces. Gently roll dough to shape into balls. Place balls in a 9-by-11-inch ovenproof baking dish. In a small bowl, beat egg with a splash of water; brush tops of rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until tops are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow rolls to rest, covered with a dish cloth, for 5 minutes. Serve warm with Poirier’s Butter.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, beat 2 sticks (1 cup) room-temperature salted butter and 1 cup Poirier’s Pure Cane Syrup* (or other quality cane syrup like Steen’s*) together until combined. Spoon compound butter into ramekins and refrigerate until chilled, or for up to 1 week before serving.
*See “11 Must-Have Ingredients from Mosquito Supper Club Chef Melissa Martin’s Pantry”
Produced by Monica Michael Willis; Photograph by Rush Jagoe