Utterly Delicious Soft White Bap Recipe

Wow, these are divine, I’ve been so used to crusty baguettes and loaves since we moved here that these blew my mind a little bit!

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.

One of these got a bit short changed on size but it didn’t matter to the final result, by the time he came out the oven he’d caught up a bit (am I strange to give a gender to food?)

  • 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.

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20 Responses to Utterly Delicious Soft White Bap Recipe

  1. Spottie says:

    Are pounds a lot bigger in the UK than US? My sponge/milk mixture was about the consistency of thin pancake batter. The next 10 oz. of flour did little to change that. Had to add at least three more cups of flour to get a workable dough.

  2. sam says:

    Hi Im a little miffed as mine turned out like bullets and werent cookid in the middle? I followed the steps so not sure what I did wrong. Obviously I have done something wrong but any tips or hints for next time as im not going to let it defeat me!!! I did halve the recipe? thanks great site really enjoy reading it x.

    • Hi Sam, thanks for your message, I’ll do my best to help.
      Questions: In the proving process(and when you’d shaped the rolls and let them rest) did the dough swell up? The kneading steps are important for getting air into the dough, halving or doubling shouldn’t have an impact.
      How much yeast did you use?
      If your rolls weren’t cooked in the middle, you need to reduce your oven temperature, yours might run a tad hotter, try again reducing by 20 degrees.
      I promise to start blogging again soon, I just have so little time these days. x

      • sam says:

        Thank you for getting back to me about this! I will not let them defeat me, I am determined to make a successful batch, dont like it when recipes defeat me!!! LOL!!! I kneaded the dough as instructed (although I have never made bread that you only need for 10 seconds at a time). Im wondering if I put too much flour in the sticky mix? They didnt rise hugely when I shaped them. Thanks for your advise x.

  3. Phyllis says:

    What have I done wrong. My buns didn’t rise. You did say put the packet of dry yeast in with the flour right?

    • Hi Phyllis, I’m so sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I could have sworn I had!

      When you make the sponge, try adding the yeast to the warm water, dissolving it and then adding it to the flour and cornflour and continuing.

      Did your starter work? It should have looked puffy and bubbly. Depending on the age of your yeast it may have lost its mojo.

      I will find the time to make this again asap and see if I can give any more pointers.

  4. burndust says:

    any idea how you would adapt this using active dried yeast i’d also like to know the overnight process the link is dead however, could you also use agave nectar instead of sugar?

    • Hi, take a look at my recipe for hot cross buns, I did batches using fresh and dried yeast at the same time for comparisons on how well dried yeast does during the starter process, it will froth and bubble but won’t expand as much as using fresh, it still works well though, as dried yeast catches up during the baking. I would think you could use agave, I haven’t got experience with it but I can’t see why not! Only use a tiny amount though as you don’t want your rolls too sweet! Let me know how you get on!

      • realmofflyingmonkeys-fb1@yahoo.co.uk says:

        just made these exact to the recipe made 4 rolls and just about to bake a loaf with the rest, they are well fired as we call them here but they taste superb 200c fan for 25 mins is to much i think….at least in my oven and that was using a thermo, might reduce cooking time or temp

      • Aren’t they great? I have just moved into a new house which has two kitchens, I can’t wait to get baking again!
        I’d reduce the heat or you stand the risk of having rolls that are still doughy, every oven is different, and my thermometer is broken, so I’d reduce the heat by 20 degrees and see how they go, if you’re doing a loaf then definitely reduce the temperature to give it a chance to cook through.

  5. Just made my second batch. Realized I’d skipped a step last time. I had just tossed the yeast in with the dry sponge ingredients. This time, I remembered to let it bloom in the 16oz of warm water. They came up much lighter. Such a brilliant recipe.

    Forgot to mention this last time .. this recipe was very easy to adapt to imperial measurements. I have to do that as I am in the US.

    Again, my English husband loves these rolls! They remind him of being back in London.

    • Really good to hear! Every time I bake bread I get better, and you get to know the feel of the dough more, these rolls are really great, and well worth the time on them. I miss baking, had such a manic summer working I’ve barely been in the kitchen.
      I like to give measurements in grams and ounces as much as possible, you can find good converters online but I try to make it easy on people!

  6. For the sponge, I had to add an extra few ounces of water in order to get a wet and sticky consistency. My dough had more of a proper dough look. I guess all of this might depend on your local weather and your ingredients. Sometimes flour takes more liquid than you expect.

    • Hi Alice, I think it can vary a bit, I’ve never baked at high altitude but I hear it’s completely different for example! Did you use fresh or dried yeast, and did they turn out well? I’m really lucky to have found a very good high protein flour here for about 40 cents a bag, which is great as I didn’t have to try to find type specific. For bread apparently you ideally need a higher percentage than a standard plain flour if you can get it, cakes work best on about 9%, bread on about 14%. Thanks so much for your feedback!

      • I’m actually in the middle. I’m about to do the second 10 second knead. I’ll let you know how they turn out when I get them baked off.

        I’m actually at sea level. I’m in Malibu, CA. I used dried yeast and a ordinary all purpose flour.

      • Just pulled the pan from the oven. Had to eat one while hot, because they smelled so good! They came out really well! Not as light as I wanted, but I’ve found that only commercial bakers can get bread to be that light. My husband is going to be so happy when he gets home! He adores fresh baked bread.

      • That’s great! If you can get hold of some fresh yeast they will be lighter, I did test batches of hot cross buns with fresh and dried which was a similar recipe with dried fruit and there was a considerable difference. These freeze pretty well using fresh yeast too, just pull them out of the oven when very lightly browned, cool and pop in freezer bags. Then warm them through in the oven from frozen for a few minutes. I can buy 25g blocks of yeast, which once I’ve opened I keep in a small jam jar in the fridge.
        I have a fat free tiger style loaf I have nearly finished writing up that is a real favourite with the family!

  7. toddy says:

    just made some more but tried making them into foot long hot dog buns ….they smell marvellous baking and come out looking delicious and soft if a tad huge and more like bloomers but they will serve their purpose and will get eaten for lunch lashed in onions a brattys

    • That’s great, they never fail, but often surprise with how big they can get I find! You’ve got me feeling the baking urge again, must find the time this week, hope you had an awesome lunch!

  8. toddy says:

    yummy recipe and produces nice baps ….and as we all know men love a good pair of baps….for lunch

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