Monday, 19 December 2011

Bread and butter.

There is nothing quite like the smell of baking bread, is there?

Well, despite my clearly futile efforts to reduce the amount of carbohydrates I stuff myself with on an average day (monstrous quantities, but then who can resist them? Well, apart from Dr. Atkins, and look how that worked out...) I find there is nothing more comforting, not to mention rewarding, than biting into the crusty exterior of a fresh baked roll to expose the ooey gooey dough within. Add lashings of melted butter and you're golden. 

I don't aim to justify my actions too much, I assure you; it's cold, it's a Sunday, I have no intention of leaving my nice warm house, and even less intention of beginning the slowly accumulating mountain of "holiday reading" (an oxymoron if ever I've heard one), so what do I do? Bake rolls. 

If you're looking for a simple bread recipe, by all means head to, a.k.a a wealth of tried and tested recipes guaranteed  to get your juices flowing, and my go-to when looking for new things to cook. However, since this is my blog and those are my rolls pictured above (the reason I've drooled a little on my keyboard whilst writing this...)why not have a bash with my recipe featured below.
It's got a bit more sugar in it than most bread recipes, but I find this makes for a slightly sweeter roll, as well as a nicer texture. I like to flatter myself that this is the best bread recipe I've come across, as I had to bake several dozen batches of rolls to make sure I got the best bake possible. A hard job, granted.

Crusty white rolls:

500g strong white bread flour
300ml hot water (from the tap)
2tsp yeast
2tsp light brown sugar
1tsp salt


  1. Measure out the flour and sieve into a large bowl. Add the yeast, sugar and salt and stir.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the hot water, incorporating with a wooden spoon as you go.
  3. Tip the mixed dough out onto a well floured (and clean!) work surface, and begin to knead vigorously for about ten minutes, adding more flour if/when necessary. (I know this is longer than most basic bread recipes tell you to knead for, but I find it really develops the gluten which makes for fluffier bread)
  4. Put the kneaded dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel, tuck in somewhere warm (I have been known to stash it in my bed. Under the covers.) and leave to rise for two hours. 
  5. Try not to eat the bread dough
  6. After two hours, tip the risen dough onto the aforementioned floured work surface. Knead again for about five minutes, then divide into rolls, and place on a baking sheet. This recipe should make about eight medium sized rolls. 
  7. Leave to proof again for about half an hour, turning the oven on to 190degrees-Celsius about five minutes before the end of the proofing.
  8. Score the tops of the loaves and dab with milk/eggwash, then pop in the oven for about 15-25 minutes. They're done when they are risen and brown on top, and have a hollow bottom - ooh err! - when tapped.
  9. Slice the hot rolls open and douse with butter and whatever other fillings take your fancy. For me, the bread speaks for itself. 
  10. Gorge.  

Remember, making your own bread is just as much about the opportunity to show off as it is for achieving the unbeatable taste of a freshly baked loaf, so feel free to "happen" to invite your friends over five or ten minutes before the rolls are due to come out of the oven and then bask in the praise they will no doubt lavish upon you. Just remember, the phrase (when questioned) is "The smell? Oh, just some freshly baked rolls I've whipped up..."

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