Soft bread rolls, especially when served warm, are the perfect accompaniment to the breakfast table, but are equally tasty when served with soups, salads or just simply served warm with lashings of butter, or a vegan style spread. I found these little rolls easy to prepare and are so adaptable for so many occasions. Not just for the breakfast table, great for a picnic, a party, or at supper time, with any filling that fits the occasion. A useful recipe to remember and bake these soft tasty little rolls in advance to save time, can be gently warmed in the oven before serving.
550g / 2 ½ Cups /20oz White bread flour, plus extra for dredging.
300ml / 1 cup/ 10floz Full fat milk, or a vegan alternative.
15g / 1 tablespoon Unsalted butter, or vegetable oil.
3tsp Dried baking yeast.
1 tsp Salt
Weigh the ingredients and add the flour to a large mixing bowl, followed by the sugar, salt and dried yeast, mix together fully. Warm the milk and butter very gently on a low heat in a pan until the butter has melted, stir the melted butter into the milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid into the centre and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. You should now have a very soft dough like consistency. Using the extra flour, you can now start to handle the dough, dusting the dough and your hands generously to avoid too much stickiness. Transfer to an equally well dusted clean surface to start kneading the dough, turn the dough regularly and pound the dough with your knuckles for about 5 – 10 mins until a nice smooth consistency is obtained, not forgetting to keep dusting with flour to avoid sticking as you knead.
Once the dough is well kneaded and smooth, put back into a well-floured bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for about 30mins to rise.
Once risen, using a sharp knife or cleaver, cut the dough into equal pieces, 12 good sized rolls or use 13 if you want a traditional bakers dozen. If you like dainty rolls, cut more pieces or equally if you prefer a large bap/cob or roll cut into larger pieces.
The most widely believed reason for the bakers dozen, 13, dates back at least as far as the reign of Henry II the Assize of Bread and Ale law was a regulation to assure the regulation of brewers and bakers of that time. Bakers were regulated by a trade guild, “The worshipful Company of Bakers,” which still exists to this day. Henry III revived an ancient statute in 1266 that regulated the price of bread to the price of the wheat and any baker who sold short measures could be heavily punished, by fines or floggings. So as to avoid any short measures, bakers would bake extra bread to be overly cautious and avoid punishment for selling a short weight of bread.
Back to the method;
Again, flour your hands and shape the dough, roll each piece into a ball for round, buns/cobs/rolls. Shape into fingers for long rolls, triangles too look interesting on the table. Place the shaped pieces onto a well-floured baking tray to rise again, dust over the tops with flour and cover gently with a tea towel, leave to rise in a warm place for around 20 mins then remove the tea towel carefully, if you like a little crust leave with flour dusting or if you prefer them softer, brush the tops with butter and pop them into a pre-heated oven at 220c for fan assisted we use 200c or gas mark 7 for around about 15 – 20 mins watch them carefully and bring them out when light and even golden colour and they sound hollow when tapped. Once out of the oven leave to cool, again if you want a crust let them cool in the air, or if you want them softer cover them with a clean damp tea towel as they gently cool.
Now simply enjoy, as they are, still warm with butter or however you please. 😛