Wednesday, October 15, 2008

basic bread rolls by whisks

this is my recipe for making simple bread rolls. they don't need to be kneaded and don't need alot of time to mix up, although they do need time to sit around and rise (prove, if you want to be technical).

this recipe also makes what seems to be a ton of rolls....about 50, depending on how big you make your rolls. i know 50 sounds like alot of bread rolls, but don't forget you don't have to bake and eat them all in one day because the dough can be refrigerated. this means you can have these beautiful rolls baked fresh over a couple of days. this can be quite useful when we run out of bread and i don't want to drive out just to buy a loaf of bread.

also, don't think you have to eat them just as rolls either. the dough is versatile and can be used to make a variety of yeasted baked goods. i'll tackle that over the next couple of posts.

4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
250 grams butter
7 cups plain flour
2 cups self raising flour
2 packets (4 1/2 tablespoons) yeast
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons salt

place milk, sugar and butter in a large stockpot and bring to the boil.

remove the stockpot from the stove and leave it for and hour of so to cool until comfortably warm (about 25 degrees celcius or if you hold your hand against the pot, it feels just warm, not hot - remember, you've just left the pot for an hour, so the pot shouldn't be burning hot).

once the milk mixture is comfortably warm, add 4 cups of plain flour and use a handheld electric mixer to beat the flour into the liquid. the mixer just makes it easy and helps to get rid of most of the lumps. if you don't have one, that's fine - just stir it around until everything is mixed in nicely.

add the yeast and give that a stir as well.

add in the remaining plain flour, the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix that in well. you'll have to do this part manually as the dough might be too elastic at this stage to do it with a mixer. i like to use a silicon spatula to help mix and scrape the dough off the sides of the stockpot. this is a really sticky dough and if you use your hands, you'll probably have to use too much flour to keep from sticking.

once everything is combined, just cover the stockpot with a lid or cloth and leave it until required. if you don't need any rolls for that day, put the covered stockpot in the refrigerator. if you decide to refrigerate it, just make sure to check the dough every now and then and punch it down whenever necessary (the dough will continue to rise in the refrigerator, and as such, you have to punch it down so it doesn't overflow). this dough will stay quite happy in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (it could stay longer i guess, but i've never had an opportunity to find out).

an hour or two before you need the rolls, grease one or two muffin tins.

dip your fingers in some flour so the dough doesn't stick to you and snip off walnut sized pieces of dough (i like using scissors to snip off the dough, but if you like to pinch it off or pull it off, feel free to do as you wish), and pop three pieces in each muffin hole.

once all the muffin holes are filled, the dough can be sprayed with water and sprinkled with poppy seeds, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, or brushed with butter or whatever you want to do.

cover the rolls and leave them them in a warm spot (i like to put them on a table outside in the sun) to rise for an hour or so. if it isn't sunny, or if it's cold, pop the tray on top of a pot of hot water. the top of a warm old television is fine, too. be patient at this stage. you want the rolls to rise completely so they are nice and light, not heavy and dense. if you want heavy, dense rolls, you'll need different flour and a different recipe.

once the rolls have done their part and risen to the occasion, bake them in an oven preheated to 200 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until they are nice and golden

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