Saturday, 25 October 2014

Softest White Bread Rolls - (includes Thermomix method)

These are lovely, soft and pillowy bread rolls - delicious warm and buttered on the side of a hot bowl of soup, or as burger buns, or encasing juicy thick slices of sizzling butcher's bacon...

I had to take one for the team here - me and wheat don't really get on - and especially white flour: that's a killer for me! However, for me, part of showing other people how to cook things, is finding the perfect way to cook them, and making it as 'no-fail' as possible for everyone (without fancy equipment). So it had to be done with my nemesis, white bread and all things white-bread-related! You don't have to make these with a Thermomix, you can mix and knead the dough by any method you choose, until the dough becomes soft and elastic (in the machine of your choice, or around 10 minutes or so by hand), and carry on from there.

For me two of the foremost 'danger' points of making your own bread (before you even get to the cooking part!) are using water which is either too cold, or too hot for the yeast ('lukewarm' can mean different things to different people!), so that it either doesn't activate, or you kill it - and then after the kneading part, the main area for failure is putting your bread somewhere which is the wrong temperature to rise.

I have always put my bread into the combination / convection oven to rise, as there is a setting for 40C which rises it perfectly. However, not everyone has an oven they can set to 40C, so it was time to get out of my comfort zone in rising bread (for the first time ever), and try a way of rising it which anyone else could do, along with making sure the water for the bread was the right temperature.

I took tips from a number of sources to put together a recipe which worked perfectly including the recipe for bread rolls from the TM5 demonstration, the 'Bestest Bread Rolls Ever' recipe from the Australian recipe community, my own preferences when making bread, and tips on getting the bread to rise from some of the lovely, helpful people on the Facebook group, 'Thermomix Owners UK'.

So, with thanks to all of the above, here is the amalgamation of ingredients and method to produce some rather delicious bread rolls, which I hope are as great a success for everyone else who tries them, as they are for us!

Makes 8 rolls, from 251 calories per roll, potentially in under 1 hour! 5 -10 minutes active time, 20-30 minutes rising time, and 25 minutes cooking time. [Calories in square brackets]

2 level teaspoons instant dried yeast (e.g. Allison 'Easybake') [27]
1 level teaspoon sugar (e.g. unrefined golden caster sugar) [16]
310g cold water from the tap (if *not* using a Thermomix, use lukewarm water, at up to 37C)
30g softened unsalted butter, or olive oil / extra virgin olive oil (down to flavour preference or oil if dairy allergy) [221/270]
510g strong white bread flour (e.g. Allison) [1,744]
1 level teaspoon fine salt (e.g. sea salt, Himalayan pink salt etc.)
Extra flour to dust baking sheet, and also to dust surface to cut into rolls.
Optional seeds or flour to sprinkle on top (I don't add them to the dough, to encourage a lighter, fluffier, end result).

Other equipment
Optional greaseproof baking paper to line tray with
Large pan or bowl or casserole dish to put in bottom of oven, with 1-1.5 litres boiling water in it, to rise bread with

Take a large baking tray or sheet (I prefer a tray with raised sides, to try and protect the edges of the rolls from browning more), line with baking paper, and dust with a little flour.

(If not using Thermomix, mix and knead ingredients with lukewarm water, and continue from 'Rising the dough')

To the Thermomix bowl add in the 2 level tsp dried yeast and 1 level tsp sugar. Tare to zero, and weigh in 310g cold water, then heat 2 minutes / 37C / Speed 1.

Weigh in 30g softened butter / oil, 510g flour and 1 level tsp fine salt. Replace lid and MC, and mix slowly turning up to speed 6 (so the flour doesn't fly everywhere) and holding there for 5 seconds. Then knead for 2-6 minutes (2 will give you lovely soft rolls, and if you have extra time, go for 6 minutes to increase the elasticity of the gluten - meanwhile boil the kettle, and place 1-1.5 litres into a large pan / bowl / casserole dish onto the floor of the oven, and set a tray in the middle of the oven above it, which should have at least 4 inches clearance.

When the dough has finished kneading, remove from bowl onto a floured surface. I find it easiest to to this by twisting the base off, and tipping the lot including the blades onto the surface, then removing the blade, scraping off the dough with a spatula. I then turn it over, so it's lightly floured, and cut into eight evenly sized pieces.

I'm no artisan baker, and I've found in the past that trying to roll a triangular or square piece of cut dough which is half-floured and half-sticky, doesn't give you a particularly pleasingly shaped round roll; so now, I just push it out of my cupped hands, tucking any messy bits underneath, and giving them a quick squeeze all together under the roll (if you imagine the knot in the bottom of a balloon?) and then putting it onto the tray, squidgy bits hidden underneath - seems to do the job.

Once all eight rolls are formed and on the tray (try and space them out as much as you can), I gently wet the tops (gentle, clean fingers are fine - this plus the steam means you don't need to cover them, and also sticks seeds etc. to the tops of the rolls), then sprinkle on any seeds or flour etc. (In retrospect, a very light dusting of flour after the seeds adds a more attractive look to rolls - these were sprinkled with linseeds only.)

Pop them in the oven over the pan / bowl of hot water, shut the door, and set a timer for 30 minutes. You can get away with 20 if you're in a rush.

Once the time has passed, you should have beautifully risen rolls, and you can remove the pan / bowl from the oven, make sure the rolls are in the centre of the oven, and then shut the door and turn the oven on to Gas Mark 5 / 190C / 170C fan oven. No need to pre-heat - the cold-to-hot oven gives them even more of a rise (as you can see below)!

Cook for 20 to 30 minutes (ovens vary in temperature - I find 25 minutes is perfect in mine) until they're turning golden on top, and sound hollow if tapped on the bottom. Remove to a wire rack to cool down for as long as you can wait! For extra softness, cover with a tea towel whilst cooling.

Watch faces light up with delight and amazement as they taste possibly the softest, freshest most delicious rolls ever (serving with a good quality butter, which isn't rock hard will greatly add to their experience! If you don't make your own, Sainsbury's does a good farmhouse-style butter which is really tasty, in a white wrapper with red writing - it's not always with the other butters - it's sometimes with the cheeses wrapped by Sainsbury's from the deli, in baskets at the end of the aisle).


Related Recipes

If you liked this recipe, you may also like these...