Thanks go to Dan Lepard for another cracker of a recipe, found in The Guardian, and also on his blog site in the forum, where his short and sweet write ups are elaborated on if you have any questions. He suggests these for wrapping around sausages, and yes, they’d be great for that, however they are a huge winner for lunches too.
Someone on his blog asked about how to get his buttermilk soft rolls made fresh for the morning, and he said to reduce the cooking time by five minutes, leave to cool under a cloth on the tray and pop straight into the freezer in bags, which is what I’ve done with four of these. He said the crust will crumple a little bit. Pop them frozen in the oven at gas mark 4/180degC/350degF for five to seven minutes just before you want them until they are hot.
This may take a fair amount of time from start to finish, but in my eyes they are well worth it. The method here is in two stages, and unlike most other breads I’ve made, you don’t spray with water before they go in the oven, or add a dish of water to the oven, or eggwash the rolls, as you aren’t trying to get a crust. Dan says this makes 9 rolls, however I went a little smaller and got twelve, and they were still enormous! He also gives instructions on how to start these overnight and finish off the next day, please check out his blog here. If you were making these for sausages make a little smaller still and pat into sausage shape.
A little trick I’ve learnt is to actually balance my bowl (safely!) on a radiator to speed up the proving process, find the warmest place you can, and you may be able to shave off a little time. And use a plastic carrier bag, not a clean tea towel, for the proving. If you place the bowl into the bag and tie it tight trapping air in, you will get better, and faster, results.
Dan calls the first stage in this style of baking a “sponge”, the mix is pretty wet and sponge-like. This is a slow prove recipe, he gives a buttermilk bap recipe that is faster, should you want to give it a go.
For the sponge:
525g / 1 lb 3 oz strong white flour
one and a half level tablespoons cornflour
1 sachet dried easy blend yeast, or 8g fresh yeast
450ml / 16 fl oz warm water
For the dough
275g / 10 oz strong white flour
2 level tablespoons cornflour
2 and a half level teaspoons fine salt
50ml / 2 fl oz water
75ml / 3 fl oz milk
75g / 3oz butter
50g / 2oz caster sugar ( golden or white is fine)
Oil for kneading
- To make the sponge, place the flour and cornflour in a large bowl(the mix will at least double in size), and stir to mix. If using dry yeast mix it into the flour now, or if using fresh, stir it into the 450ml warm water. Add the water to the flour and mix well, until it is a wet, sticky doughlike consistency.
- Wrap in a plastic bag and put somewhere hot for two and a half to three hours. It should roughly double in volume, and have visible holes like a sponge.
- For the second stage, bring the water and milk to the boil in a small saucepan, then remove from the heat. Cut the butter into cubes, and add to the milk. Once melted and cooled transfer to a measuring jug and if necessary top up to 200ml (7 fl oz) with water, this was only a tiny amount more for me.
- Beat the liquid really well into the sponge mixture. At this stage you may want to use the beaters of an electric mixer as the next stage becomes quite hard work!
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cornflour together in a separate bowl, and then mix into the sponge mixture until you have a stiff dough(and it does feel very stiff if doing this by hand). It will still be a bit sticky to the touch.
- Oil your worktop-get a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil and pour it onto the worktop and with your hands make sure it is evenly distributed over the area you’re using to knead the dough. Make sure you get the oil well over your hands, it’ll help stop the dough from sticking all over them. Scrape the dough from the bowl and give it a quick, ten second knead. Add more oil to the worktop and your hands should it start to stick. Put it back in the bowl, back in the bag, leave for ten minutes and repeat this step. Do this three times in total, and leave for fiteen minutes, in the bag, somewhere warm. By the second knead the dough shouldn’t be sticky really anymore, but make sure you keep your work area and hands lightly oiled. This photo is my dough after the first kneading.
- Take a couple of baking trays, line with baking paper and lightly flour. Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 7 / 220 degC / 425 degF.
- Knock out your dough onto a lightly oiled worktop, oil the blade of a sharp knife and divide your dough into pieces for shaping. I halved, then divided each piece into six, each weighed 100-120g. Without knocking the air out of them pat and shape into rounds for rolls. By this I mean that you shouldn’t handle them much, and that any edges are tucked under, so the rolls look smooth and round. Place them onto your baking trays, and lightly flour the tops of them.
- Cover and leave for forty five minutes, until the rolls have roughly doubled in size. I used cling film for this part. Again, the hotter the place that you do this the faster and more they will puff up. My oven is an all in one so I use the top of the hob with the oven heating up.
- Place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are lovely and light golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays.