Makes: 12 small rolls Time: Around 3 hours, including rising time
Difficulty: fairly easy overall though the shaping can be fiddly
These look (and taste) great. Serve them when you host a dinner party or just eat them for breakfast. Different shapes and a range of toppings give variety.
- 480g plain white flour
- 10g salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 7g instant dried yeast
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 260 – 270ml tepid milk
- 1 large egg Toppings
- 1 egg yolk
- 20ml water
- your choice of seeds (poppy, sesame, pumpkin)
- Lightly grease two baking sheets or cover them with baking parchment, lightly dusted with flour.
- Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar and yeast, ensuring that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the salt. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. (Or use a food processor or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
- Make a well in the centre and add most of the milk and the egg. Mix to form a dough. Add the rest of the milk if it’s too dry.
- Knead on a floured surface for 12 – 15 minutes until smooth and elastic (or use the dough hook in a stand mixer on slow speed for about 7 – 9 minutes)
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in volume.
- Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back (punch it down) and knead again briefly. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (* see tip 1)
- These pieces of dough can be made into “normal” rolls simply by smoothing them round and dragging the outer surface down to pinch together under each roll to tauten the skin. Instead, you could make any or all of the following shapes.
- BRAIDS – divide each piece into three “sausages”. Pinch them together at one end then braid them. (Pass the left over the middle then the right over the middle and so on.)
- TREFOILS – Divide each ball into three equal smaller balls and place them together flat in a triangle.
- BATONS – This is simply a longer roll rather than spherical. Cut 2 – 3 diagonal slashes on the top with a sharp knife or razor blade.
- COTTAGE LOAF STYLE – Divide each dough ball into one third for the top and the remaining two thirds for the base. Put the small ball on top and push the floured handle of a wooden spoon down through the middle of both pieces.
- KNOTS – Shape the dough ball into a long “sausage” then tie a single knot, pulling the ends through firmly.
- Spread the shaped rolls out on the two baking trays leaving plenty of space between them. Place each baking tray inside a large plastic bag (* see tip 2). Inflate the bag to create a micro-climate and tuck the loose ends underneath the baking tray. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until doubled in volume
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/425F/Gas 7
- Mix the egg yolk and water together for the glaze then brush it over the rolls. Sprinkle with your chosen seeds then bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown and shiny. Lift them onto a wire rack to cool.
* Tip 1 – Weigh the whole dough, then divide into two halves. Divide each half again into two to give four pieces overall. From each of these cut and weigh out three equal pieces. This will give you 12 equal pieces of dough.
* Tip 2 – Use a white swing bin liner for the second rise.