Its been a long time since I baked bread - what with all the cookies and cakes which happened in the last couple of months, bread baking took a backseat. Woke up one morning last week, with a yen to bake and when I asked my daughter what she would like to bake, she said bread. I was immediately excited , though felt it might be completely mistimed considering how cold it is right now. I wasn't even sure whether the bread would rise with such a cold wind blowing outside.
But K hauled out the Bread Book by Sara Lewis (from which I have previously made an Olive and Feta Cheese bread, Carrot & Mustard Bread, Stuffed Mushroom and Garlic Baguette and Rapid Light Wholemeal Loaf) and we pored over the recipes on each page - she finally picked the Fancy Dinner Rolls, "because of the shapes". So dinner rolls it was then. She was thrilled to be kneading the dough for the first time and considering how fussy she is otherwise about getting icky stuff on her hands, didn't seem to mind the mess at all sticking to her fingers! I finished up with the rest of the kneading and we set out the bowl of dough in the balcony to double. And it rose beautifully!
She then shaped half the dough into pull apart rolls - basically , you make small balls of the dough and arrange them in the baking tray or dish in a kind of circle so that they touch each other. They stick together when they prove for the second time so that after they bake, you have to "pull them apart". The remaining dough I shaped into a simple coil and a knot.
The shaped rolls rose for second time and after brushing them with a simple egg wash, I sprinkled the round rolls with sesame seeds and fennel seeds while the coiled ones were topped with some fresh basil from my potted plant. The rolls baked for about 10-15 minutes each and the baking bread filled the house with that heavenly, yeasty aroma which makes you want to grab the freshly baked bread and slather it with some butter and eat it just like that!
Herbed Dinner RollsAll purpose flour (maida) - 475g (4 1/2 cups)
Butter - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt -1 tsp
Fast action dried yeast - 1.5 tsp
Warm Water - 275ml
Egg yolk - 1 to glaze
water - 1 tbsp
sesame seeds, fennel seeds, fresh basil (one can also use poppy seeds, paprika and fresh rosemary)
1. Put the flour into the bowl and rub the butter into it till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sugar, salt and yeast and then slowly incorporate as much warm water as is needed to make a soft dough.
3. Knead well for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic but not too sticky. Put the dough into the bowl and cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise till doubled in size - about an hour
4. Knead the dough again on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 pieces. Grease a baking sheet or 2 trays
For pull apart rolls: - take 2 pieces of dough and divide each into 3 small balls. Arrange into a circle or 2 triangles so that they touch each other.
For coils - take 2 pieces of dough and shape each one into a rope 10 inches long and then coil each rope into a spiral.
For knots - take 2 pieces of dough and shape each one into a rope about 9 inches long. Loop one end of one rope and then thread the other end through the loop to make the knot. Repeat
5. Cover the shaped rolls with loosely oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes to half an hour.
6. Brush the tops of the rolls with egg yolks mixed with 1 tbsp of water and sprinkle with the seeds or herbs.
7. Bake in a pre heated oven at 200C for 10 -15 minutes until the tops are golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped with the fingertips. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.