• Melina Meador

Making Pinwheels




I had made the dough the night before, leaving it in the fridge to rise slowly overnight. The yeast had done its work even in the cool white box and now, after four hours warming on the counter in our kitchen, it was ready to roll out into pinwheels.


I punched it down inside the bowl, forming a soft yet strong ball, then I floured the counter and plopped the dough onto it. It was beautiful. I felt pleasure and satisfaction at its elasticity.


A good dough makes you feel like an artist. It's an ancient medium and yet so new you can eat it the moment it cools from the oven's heat. Not many things fall into that category.


I split the dough in half with my bench scraper and took one side to roll into a rectangle. My rolling pin used to be my great grandfather's; it is marble and very heavy, staying cool even on hot days. It's a pleasure to use. Its heft helps the job along and three minutes later I am ready to lay out smoked turkey in a single layer on it surface and then provolone cheese. I sprinkle dried Italian seasoning, wishing I had fresh basil instead, and then begin the work of rolling one end up in a tight cylinder. It comes together neatly, my hands feeling the firmness of the 15 inch log of dough, meat, cheese.


Slicing the log into 1 1/2 inch sections takes a moment and I lay them on an oiled sheet with their spiraling innards exposed upward. I do the same things with the other half of the dough, moving with certainty now that I have one section finished, and end up with about 30 pinwheels. It's probably taken ten minutes and though it's been a grand morning, this has been my favorite ten minutes of the day.


After raising the pinwheels on the counter under a cotton tea towel, I preheat the oven and scramble an egg in a cup. Using a pastry brush I give each one a light eggwash. I love the color an eggwash gives the baked dough, and the "grab" it gives for the toppings. These pinwheels get a generous scattering of sesame seed, my hand feeling rich with the sowing motion, and then kosher salt and garlic salt, just enough to make those tops extra delicious. Salt and dough. Yes.


As the pinwheels bake I can't help peeking once or twice - they are so luscious looking. Their good smell fills the kitchen and the children are nosy. "What is that, Mom? What are you making?"


"Dinner." I reply. It is 11:30 in the morning, but dinner is nearly done, Hallelujah! The perfect summer dinner, ready to eat when you want it, prep cleaned up and forgotten hours before.


It takes about 25 minutes before I tap on them lightly, listening for the hollow sound of finished bread, no longer dough. They are golden, and brown, and have puffed up to the full and happy size a savory smoked turkey and provolone pinwheel needs to be. All it asked of me was to give it room - but not too much - to grow on the sheet, transforming from quiet dough to shining bread.

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