Art and Soul, chef Art Smith’s restaurant on Capitol Hill, greets every table with a warm welcome—a deep cast-iron pan of skillet bread. The recipe for the buttery, dangerously addicting pull-apart rolls comes from Smith’s 91-year-old grandmother Mabel—he’s just added butter and a sprinkle of chives—and is a reminder of his childhood. “Growing up in the South,” Smith says, “every table of my family was graced with homemade yeast rolls and biscuits. It’s not about being fancy; it’s about tasting good.”
Makes two skillet breads or 12 rolls
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
¼ ounce active dry yeast (one package)
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil, plus a little more for brushing
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pour the water into a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand until the yeast softens, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, egg, oil, and salt and stir to dissolve the yeast. Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a soft dough (you may have to use your hands to work in the last additions). Work the dough in the bowl to make a smooth mass.
Lightly brush the top of the dough with a little additional oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough stand in a warm place until it has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Brush a small skillet pot or pan with some of the melted butter. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and form each into a smooth ball. Place 6 balls of dough in the skillet, brush each with butter, and sprinkle with the chives and kosher salt. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and baked through. Let stand for 5 minutes and, if desired, brush the rolls with more melted butter.
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