Saturday, 20 February 2010

Scottish Morning Rolls

This book by Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters is one of my favourites when it comes to making bread. It is written in a readable, no-nonsense style, is packed with information, and has some great recipes for both yeasted breads and breads made from natural fermentations (sourdough). If you only buy one book on bread making, this is the one to go for.

One of the recipes I make regularly is Scottish Morning Rolls. These are soft and chewy, and remind me of the rolls we used to get from Brison's the bakers when visiting my grandparents in Berwick Upon Tweed. These are perfect for a bacon sandwich. For a real nostalgia trip, fry the bacon in lard and, instead of buttering your roll, dip each half of a split roll in the hot lard before sandwiching together with the bacon. When I was a child we would sometimes forego the bacon and just eat dippy bread, but this delicacy has gone out of fashion in our health-conscious times.

This recipe uses a sponge and dough method: the sponge is made by mixing together flour, water and a small amount of yeast and leaving it to ferment for 12-18 hours. The yeast feeds on the sugars in the flour and reproduces so that the sponge contains enough yeast to raise the final dough.

For the sponge
  • 5g fresh yeast 
  • OR 2g fast-action dried yeast  
  • 130g water
  • 50g strong wholemeal flour
  • 100g strong white flour
  1. Mix together all the ingredients, cover, and leave in a warm place for 12-18 hours.

For the final dough
  • 285g sponge
  • 350g strong white flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 5g fine sea salt
  • 270g water
  • 15g butter or lard
  1. Mix together and knead until smooth and elastic - about 10 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook will do the trick, or slightly longer by hand. Shape the dough into a ball, put into a lightly-oiled bowl, cover, and rest for 1-2 hours.
  2. Gently ease the dough from the bowl and cut into 8-12 equal pieces. Shape into neat balls, dip each roll in a bowl of flour, then arrange on a baking sheet about 2cm apart. 
  3. Cover with a linen cloth and leave to rise until the rolls are just touching. This will take 2-3 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  4. Put into a hot oven (230℃) and bake until risen and golden brown (12-15 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven and how big you made the rolls).

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