When Hannah opted to go to Davidson College (located in – lo and behold – Davidson, NC, less than an hour’s drive from our home in South Charlotte), we had to promise to pretend that she was going to school across the country. She wanted the true college experience; she did not want us popping over any time we felt like it. That became a much harder promise to keep when Kindred opened in February, 2015. This award-winning restaurant and chef (named Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit and a James Beard award finalist) provided a great reason to head up I-77 and visit Hannah.
Kindred has amazingly yummy seasonal food and it is clear they care about your dining experience. It is a foodie restaurant, with imaginative and thoughtful dishes on a seasonal menu that always has something new and exciting to try. And the thoughtfulness extends beyond the attention given to the ingredients and menu. We had dinner there one night when my friend Nikki was visiting us from Boston. Nikki is unable to eat garlic or onions and eating out is often an ordeal for her. She mentioned her need to avoid these pretty pervasive ingredients to our waiter and he left to consult with the chef, then returned with a menu that was all marked up with which dishes would work as is, which could be adjusted to accommodate Nikki’s culinary restrictions, and which ones she should avoid.
I also love that Kindred has a big slice of birthday cake permanently on its menu as a dessert option. I mean, sometimes you just feel like a good piece of cake with sprinkles and it shouldn’t be relegated to when you are blowing out candles, so good on you, Kindred!
But by far the best thing Kindred does is bring you these steaming hot, delicious little pots of breaded heaven to start off your meal.
At the start of the pandemic, Charlotte Five, a newsletter from the Charlotte Observer about local happenings, published the recipe for Kindred’s milk bread. It figured we all have the time to bake now and people would want to try tackling it in their home kitchens. Good call. I decided to make them along with blueberry jam and orange ginger butter for my friend Lorrina’s recent birthday. I kept a few for quality control and I can attest that they are yummy and worthy of a birthday basket or just bake them for the heck of it.
Kindred’s Milk Bread Recipe
5⅓ cups bread flour, divided, plus more for surface
1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup mild honey (such as wildflower or alfalfa)
3 tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
2 tbs. active dry yeast (from about 3 envelopes)
2 tbs. kosher salt
3 large eggs
4 tbs. (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Flaky sea salt (optional)
Cook ⅓ cup flour and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a thick paste forms (almost like a roux but looser), about 5 minutes. Add cream and honey and cook, whisking to blend, until honey dissolves.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and add milk powder, yeast, kosher salt, 2 eggs, and 5 cups flour. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add butter, a piece at a time, fully incorporating into dough before adding the next piece, until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 4 minutes.
Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
If making rolls, lightly coat a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with nonstick spray. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Divide each piece into 4 smaller pieces (you should have 24 total). They don’t need to be exact; just eyeball it. Place 4 pieces of dough side-by-side in each muffin cup. (Note: I used a regular-sized muffin tin and placed 3 pieces of dough instead.)
If making a loaf, lightly coat a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Nestle pieces side-by-side to create 2 rows down length of pan.
If making split-top buns, lightly coat two 13×9 baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide dough into 12 pieces and shape each into a 4-inch long log. Place 6 logs in a row down length of each dish.
Let shaped dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (dough should be just puffing over top of pan), about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°. Beat remaining egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl to blend. Brush top of dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until bread is deep golden brown, starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, and is baked through, 25–35 minutes for rolls, 50–60 minutes for loaf, or 30–40 minutes for buns. If making buns, slice each bun down the middle deep enough to create a split-top. Let milk bread cool slightly in pan on a wire rack before turning out; let cool completely.
I also made some really simple blueberry jam (which was honestly more like a thick blueberry syrup) and some flavored butter to make these yummy breads even yummier. For the jam, I combined 4 cups fresh blueberries with 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice in a saucepan and cooked it over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes until thickened. For the butter, I added diced candied ginger, orange zest and orange juice to a stick of butter and blended it in the Cuisinart.