We have a small garden and grow tomatoes every summer. They taste so much better than shop-bought. We’ve got a few too many at the moment and as we’re out of bread it made sense to try and kill two birds with one stone. I was thinking along the lines of focaccia but then thought I’d have a play.Continue reading Playing with Dough – Tomato and Chive Rolls
Originally posted in 2008:
Followers of this blog will maybe know of my embarrassment at being ‘famous’ for a recipe that is a clone (albeit superb) of a supermarket soft-bap. They’ll also know that I’ve had difficulty in coming up with a sourdough recipe that fits in with my lifestyle.
I’ve always felt that I’d make better sourdough bread if I had the ‘proper kit’ for proving it: a couche (proving cloth) or some bannetons (linen-lined wicker baskets), preferably the latter. Now the problem with this is that bannetons ain’t not cheap! Nice cane or wicker ones are anything between £12 and £45. Then low and behold, I don’t often get lucky but I was in a local trade wholesalers just before Christmas and they’d got 4 lined wicker display baskets for about a fiver! Just the job – identical in all but name. Having acquired the kit and then making a sourdough starter for a mate, when I watched last week’s “Fabulous Baker Boys” TV show and they made a sourdough loaf, I thought I’d better bite the bullet and have another go.
I decided to use the recipe featured on the TV programme (Fabulous Baker Boys, Channel 4, episode 4) but had major problems with the dough; theirs was a very wet dough, mine made to the same recipe was so dry that it wouldn’t come together. I ended up adding an extra 75ml of water and it was still on the dry side as sourdoughs go. I’ve asked a fellow blogger more used to these types of bread to have a look at it but I’m naturally loathe to say that the recipe’s wrong given that ‘Fabulous Baker Boy’ Tom Herbert has won ‘Baker Of the Year’ and his sourdough has won ‘Organic Loaf of the Year’ 9 times in the last 10 years! You’ll have to try it and see what you think! I’ll give my adaption of the recipe with a note of the changes.
White Sourdough Bread
300ml Sourdough starter
500gm Strong bread flour
275ml Water (200ml in original)
10gm Salt (a pinch in original)
A note about the salt: Tom’s ‘pinch’ of salt on the TV show was about the same as the 10gm that I’ve used. I based mine on the normal ratios of salt used in this type of bread.
I added all the other ingredients to the flour and then mixed it well in the Kenwood Chef and subsequently by hand. I left it to rise for a couple of hours and then shaped it, floured it all over, and put it into a basket lined with a flour-covered linen. The baker brothers then leave this to rise for 8 – 12 hours. I put mine into the fridge for about 16 hours and then gave it a couple or three hours to come back to temperature the next day. The loaf was then tipped gently onto a baking stone preheated in an oven at 240°C, the top was slashed, and it was baked for about 30 minutes, then cooled.
It has the classic thick crisp sourdough crust that demands better teeth than mine and an open textured crumb. It has a well-developed taste without being at all sour. All in all quite a pleasing result.
…and how did I know it would all work out so well? I didn’t, that’s why I baked one of my everyday loaves, just to be on the safe side!
Originally posted in 2008:
Now I know if I call this recipe a Chelsea Bun, someone will come along and say, “Oh, no it’s not, a Chelsea bun is made with currants, lemon zest, or whatever and glazed with the milk of a particular species of Yak, only found on one lost island in Battersea Park!” Hence the ‘ish’ in the title!
I made these a couple of weeks ago from a recipe in Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave’s Cookery Bible but wasn’t 100% happy with them. Here’s my take on the recipe, it still needs fine tweaking, but hey-ho.
450gm Strong Bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
2 packets easy blend yeast
200gm milk – tepid
55gm sugar – plus a bit for tops
80gm raisins – soaked in tea or booze until plump
80gm sultanas – soaked in tea or booze until plump
Apricot or another glaze.
Put the fruit to soak in sweet cold black tea, or any other fine beverage of choice – brandy would be good.
Melt the butter for the dough (only just get it really soft – not frying temperature). Put all the dough ingredients in a food mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, kneed for 10 minutes – it’ll probably be very sticky!.
Shape into a ball on a well-floured surface, return to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Mix (cream) the butter and sugar for the filling together. I may add some cinnamon to it next time.
When the dough has risen, roll it out to a rectangle about 12″ (30cm) wide by as long as you can get it, maybe 16″ (40cm) if you’re lucky.
Spread the dough with the butter/sugar mix and spread the (well drained) fruit in a layer over it leaving the last ½” (1cm) uncovered. Roll the dough up into a ‘swiss roll’ and cut into 12-16 slices.
Put oven to heat on 180°C (350°F).
Place the coils of dough, laid flat, about ¼”-½” (about 10mm) apart in a roasting tin. Leave to rise until doubled in size and all pushing against each other.
Sprinkle with sugar and cook for about 20-25 minutes (the time will vary depending on the oven). Check after 10 minutes and, if they are going very brown, cover loosely with foil.
Cool and glaze with apricot glaze or any other glaze of your choice.
I fancy varying the recipe next time and using chocolate chips and pieces of pear instead of the dried fruit.
I thought I’d have a go at making a ‘burger type’ soft roll, minus the sesame seed ‘cos I’ve run out!
Ingredients for 9 large or 12 smaller rolls:
600g Strong Bread Flour
120ml Hot Water mixed with:
300ml Cold semi-skimmed milk (you want the total liquid to be about 35 – 37°C when you add it)
1½ teasp Salt
2 tablespoons Cooking Oil
1 sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast (7g)
I make this using a Kenwood food mixer. But it’s easily amended to make it by hand.
I put the flour into the bowl, then chuck the salt in and mix it with a spoon. Then I add the yeast and mix it again. Next, I add the oil and water/milk and stir it with a spoon until the ingredients are roughly mixed together. This is for no other reason than to stop the flour splattering everywhere when I turn the mixer on!
I mix it on a low setting using the dough hook for five minutes then I give it a rest for a few minutes and then mix it again for another 5 minutes. I tip/scrape the dough onto a floured board and bring it together into a ball using as little flour as possible. Into the now empty bowl, I put about 1 teaspoon of oil, put the dough back in, and rub it with the oil. I cover the bowl with a tea towel and forget about it for an hour or so.
A word about the dough: This dough has a ratio of 70% water to flour which is higher than many ‘traditional’ recipes. It makes a lighter textured bread which most people nowadays prefer. You could make it by hand if you want to but be warned, this mix is very sticky! If you do make it by hand, persevere when you knead it and try not to add too much extra flour; just accept that your hands will be a sticky mess and get on with it. Knead it for a good 10 minutes until it is a nice ‘silky’ texture. Don’t try and cheat at this stage or it won’t be any good at all.
Rising the Dough:
Recipes generally tell you to leave the dough in a warm place, an airing cupboard, or something similar, for about an hour, until doubled in size. It may take an hour. It may take longer. What I do is judge by the size, not time. Ideally, the temperature should be about 26°C but I generally just put it to one side in the warm kitchen. As long as it’s above 4°C the yeast will still be active; mind you, at that temperature you’d be starving by the time the bread rose and was baked!
When I say “doubled in size”, I mean doubled in size:
Shaping and proving the dough
Now for my favourite bit – just shove your fist into the middle of the dough. Yes, I mean it – just thump it in the middle. It’ll collapse making you wonder why you bothered leaving it to rise in the first place! It’s necessary, so just enjoy it!
Tip the whole lot onto a floured surface and work it around for 30 seconds or so, then shape it into a ball. Cut this into 12 even parts for small rolls, or nine for larger rolls for burgers. I flatten each piece out and fold the sides into the middle tensioning the under-side as I work around each piece. When the under-side is smooth and ‘tight’ I turn it over and push it down to make a flat disk with a smooth top.
I then sieve some flour over the top. Alternatively, you could brush it with water and put sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or something similar on top.
I leave the dough now to rise again. When it’s about half risen I put the oven on 180°C (160°C fan) to warm up. Many old recipes give a time for the dough to rise – say 20 minutes – what nonsense! Sometimes it’s fairly quick, other times it may be an hour or so. What we want is for it to nearly reach its full size – the bigger the better – as long as it doesn’t collapse! The pictured dough is of the smaller rolls after they’ve risen:
Cooking the bread
For a soft roll, I bake the bread at 180°C in a ‘non-fan’ oven; it works far better than a fan oven for soft rolls. I then cook them for 20 minutes and, if when I tap the bottom of the loaf it sounds hollow, it’s cooked. If you only have a fan oven, it’s hard to keep them really soft; it helps to cook them at a lower temperature, maybe 170°C or even 160°C, and to wrap them in a clean tea towel immediately after cooking.
These rolls are very light, have good keeping qualities, and freeze well.
For a crustier roll, have the oven at 220°C (200°C fan) and put a metal tray into the oven as it warms up. Immediately after you’ve put the bread rolls in to cook, put some water, say 150ml, onto the very hot tray to create a steamy atmosphere. Remove the water tray after 10 minutes.
The crustier rolls are best eaten on the day of cooking.