The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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ActiveSparkles's picture

Soft Rolls

So, thought I would make a quick blog about my recent success in making soft bread rolls! I have taken a few different methods from various sources and cobbled them together to make a roll which I find to be delicious and wonderfully soft.

The recipe:

625g strong white bread flour (I have tried this with plain flour, was not pleased with the results)
1 sachet (7g) dried active yeast (I use tesco own or allinsons, whatever you like really.)
15g salt
60g unsalted butter (Anything but country life)
400ml warm water (not hot. . you already knew that)

Will also need:
Olive or vegetable oil for kneading and greasing
Full fat milk for brushing
small knob of butter for brushing
Tin foil for covering

Measure your flour into a large bowl, adding your butter in the middle. Add salt to the right and your yeast to the left. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together. (I am told that you should be careful to not bring the yeast and salt into direct contact before the mixing, hence putting them on different sides of the bowl)

Add about half of your water to the mix and stir it in. Gradually add another quarter of your water while stirring.
At this point, abandon the spoon and dig in with your clean hands! Now, this is where your judgement comes into play. Bring the mix together into a ball, making sure to mop up all of your flour into the ball. You will now add some, or all of your remaining water. I like to use the majority of it, it does make the dough a bit sticky; but this will work its self out with kneading and a little sprinkled flour if needed. (although avoid if possible.)

When your dough is suitably formed and ready to knead, put about a teaspoon of your oil on your clean surface and rub it over. Now turn out your dough on to the surface and coat it once in the oil. Kneading is a personal thing I think, I use a fairly basic press, turn, fold and repeat method. Do this for about 6 minutes, then leave the dough to rest while you clean out the mixing bowl. Knead for a further 4-5 minutes. As mentioned, your mix should be fairly wet, so having a bread scraper and a little flour at hand will be really very useful. Just to stop the nightmare of the dough sticking all over the place.

Lightly oil your bowl and place the dough in to it, turning once to cover. Place a tea towel over the top and leave to rise. The time varies, but at least an hour will be needed. You want it to be doubled in size.

Prep for next stage:
once you feel your dough is almost ready to be knocked back and shaped, you can prepare a few things for the next stage of the rolls. Prepare a baking tray (625g will create 8-10 fair sized rolls, so it will need to be a fair size) by either lining it with baking paper, or as I prefer to do- greasing them with some margerine or more olive oil. (Me and olive oil have a great relationship going)
You will also need to get some full fat milk in a small bowl or glass, along with a brush.

Stage 2:
Lightly flour your surface and turn the dough out. Lightly apply pressure to the dough, trying not to knock all of the air out as you flatten it slightly. Now leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
10 minutes later:
Using your hands, roll the dough out into a rough square shape. If you used plenty of water, this can be easily achieved by lifting the dough in the corners and letting it sag slightly. Now roll the dough in towards you, forming a french stick type shape. Using your hands, roll lightly from the middle out until the dough is roughly the same thickness right across. How thick this is doesnt make a great deal of difference, as we are going to cut it anyway. Using a sharp knife, Divide dough into 8-10 similar sized pieces. No need to worry about weights etc, as long as they look about the same, that will do.

Now to shape the balls into your rolls. Again, whatever works for you. I personally like to fold it into a rough ball, then push my hands together under the ball while using my thumb on the top to push the dough down at the side. Its a hard one to explain, so again, whatever works for you. Just a good roll shape. I like to flatten them down a little, as the water quantity will lead to them spreading anyway. Do this with all your dough and place them on the prepared tray. About an inch and a half or so apart. At this point, brush your rolls with the milk and place it in the fridge, as we will need it again later in the cooking process.

Now cover them with again with your tea towel and leave somewhere warm.
After about 20 minutes, turn your oven on to 180ºC/356ºF. (fan assisted) At this point, I like to pick the towel off the rolls and re-cover it. Just so it doesn't get stuck on them. Leave to rise for another 20 minutes while the oven warms up.

Place your rolls in the middle of the oven for 13 minutes. While they are cooking, cut your self 2 fair sized sheets of tin foil and get your milk back out of the fridge.
At the 13 minute mark, bring the rolls out of the oven. they should be very light coloured. Again, brush them with the milk. Now cover your tray with the tin foil, taking care to fold the foil over the edges so it doesn't get blown up by the pesky fan as you open the door. We are going to leave these for a further 10-15 minutes. We will take this oppertunity to melt our butter. How you do this is entirely up to you. I put some kettle water in a glass bowl, and rest the butter in a plastic bowl over it.

Take your rolls out of the oven and uncover one end to check on the rolls. You can use which ever method of telling "doneness" you like now. I use a probe to check the internal temp has reached 210f. If your rolls are done, uncover entirely and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes. Now rub the butter lightly over your rolls. Not too much, just enough to cover and leave shiny.

If you have one, place your rolls on a wire rack and leave to cool for 2 hours at least.


The finished product!

You should hopefully be left with something like this! Light in colour (thanks to your tin foil) and once cooled, will feel soft and light. They go wonderfully at the side of a meal, or just as a quick meal in their own right. I personally am a sucker for plain old cheddar cheese.

I hope you will consider giving these a go, and letting me know what you think :)

Thanks for taking the time to read my first bread related blog.

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Pumpkin Cornmeal Bagel with Cranberries - baking and moving

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

I have been baking more, not less, even with all the craziness of a cross country move. The reason is simple: we are driving to Seattle, must use up perishable ingredients. However, time is tight, so I haven't had a chance to post all my baking, trying to catch up here.

Got a big can of pumpkin puree open, so here's a batch of sourdough bagel based one lumos's formula a while ago. I used pumpkin puree as part of liquid, and cornmeal instead of ww, some cranbrrries thrown in for flavor and texture. Very yummy.

The original formula is here, and my modification:
1)120g of cornmeal for that 120g of wholemeal flour in final dough
2)240g of pumpkin puree + 90g of water to replace the water in final dough
3)240g of cranberries mixed in at the final stage of kneading

Still used lye to boil them, hence the great color. See here and here for more details about my lye bagels. Cornmeal gives a nice texture, while pumkin lends a great golden color. Chewy and sweet and delicious.

jimham's picture

Oatmeal raisin cookie ingredients question

I have an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from a great uncle who has passed away, he worked at a bakery. Apparently these are some really great cookies, but the recipe is in pounds which are not a problem but it does not state how much vanilla and salt to use or the cooking time or temperature. I figure that someone has ran into this before and wondered if you could help.
Thank you

Uncle Bobs oatmeal raisin cookies
1 1/2 lb sugar
3/4 lb Lard
1/2 lb Raisins
1/2 lb Oats
1 1/4 lb Flour
2 Eggs
7/8 cup milk
3 Level tsp soda

PiPs's picture

Miche and more …


What better reason to bake than catching up with family and friends for lunch. On a hot humid Saturday we drove down to Nat’s parents for a lunch with old family friends from her childhood. In our possession was our contribution to lunch … bread. A bread based on Gérard Rubaud’s formula for Pain au Levain.

It’s a bread at 75% Hydration with 15% of the total flour in a stiff 50% hydration starter. Gérard uses a flour mixture of 70% AP flour, 18% fresh milled wheat, 9% fresh milled spelt and 3% fresh milled rye for both the starter and final dough.

Much has been written about Gérard Rubaud so I will not delve into this further. I will say this though … I love this bread! His story has been an ongoing inspiration for me.

Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain

I made two of the Pain au Levains at one kilogram each. I left one with our landlord and the other travelled with us to lunch. The friends we met (one of whom is Sicilian) reside in a northern Queensland town with a large Italian community. He was eager to try the bread and soon our conversation turned to pizza and woodfired ovens. His son has a small business running a pizza oven on a trailer at local events … we had lots to talk about and the lunch was lazy, delicious and full of laughter. The bread was very well received. Sorry no crumb shot as the bread disappeared fast.


Today I woke early to beat the heat and humidity we have been experiencing. The bake was to be nothing new ... 3 grain country bread with two starters ... Consistency was the aim. The night before I spent milling, sifting and preparing starters. Also on a happy note, I have sourced some rye grains that are performing well compared to the previous batch.

I doubled my usual formula as I was making two x 1kg batards and a 2kg miche.

Slap and folding 4kgs of dough was lively start to my day. The dough came together smoothly and with a little help from some icebricks and a cooler bag I was able to control the temperature through bulk ferment while watching it like a hawk.

I proved the miche for 1 hour 45 mins while the batards went straight into the fridge to wait patiently…

The miche was baked first … slightly underproved … damn.

The batards came next … very pleased. Lovely gringe and a dramatic look … happy.

I sliced open the miche in the afternoon and was greeted with plenty of flavour and aroma that will only improve as the days go on.

The evening is around us now and a quiet night waits. The oven is cool and I need a rest.

All the best,



Baker Frank's picture
Baker Frank

Corn Bread

Several years ago Bread Alone sold a loaf they called corn bread that they no longer produce. Although I have gotten close to replicating it I have not been totally successful, I have tried contacting  Daniel Leader several times to ask for the recipe with no response, and have previously written in baking blogs to see if anyone knew this bread and the recipe, and again, without success.

So here I go again, if you are familiar with his corn bread and know the recipe please share it.

Thank you, Frank

OMyStarz's picture

Can a Starter be Too Active?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to your forum and to starters/bread baking.  I've done a little bread machine baking (actually dough kneading) using commercial yeast and maybe a few loaves on my own with my KA mixer, but that's about it.  I've not had any total flops, so I guess up until now I've been pretty lucky.

I started a starter from scratch about 2 weeks ago.  "Bob" was born on 10/28 using bread flour and water.  Yesterday and today he has way over doubled in just a few hours after feeding.  I wouldn't say he tripled, but increased his volume somewhere between 2-1/2 to 3 times.

My question is this normal for a 2 week old starter? 

Also yesterday, when I was washing out his jar I scraped out the tablespoon or so that was clinging to the jar and put it into another clean jar and fed.  After feeding again this morning I'd say this new jar of starter (to be named later) has doubled, 3 hours after feeding today I'd say there looks to be about a 1/2 cup in the jar. 

Does everything sound like it's going alright?  This is my first starter ever and I'm not sure how it's supposed to act at this stage.


laron's picture

Any cookie bakers out there?

Is there anyone out there that has a great recipie for a cut out cookie, either butter or sugar.  I had a really good butter cookie recipie but misplaced it and I don't feel like going through the trial baking again.  I promised my daughter that I would make cookies for her wedding favors and need about 300.  I want to make snowflake cookies for a December wedding.  Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

cantilevered oven door?

a door that opens down and into the oven when you hit it with the peel and closes when you remove the peel.

i saw one in a video on youtube and can't seem to find it again. if you've got one in your oven or even put some thought into making one, i'd love to hear it. 

the one in the video was cast, but.i'm thinking insulating castable poured into a welded frame, that folds into the oven, with a recessed area in the 'foyer' (if you will) so the door is flush with the deck when open. if i could figure out how to do anything with google sketchup i'd have a picture. sorry if this is hard to visualize.

Szanter5339's picture

Finest bread. Leavened white bread.

I Can Not Get Enough of her beauty!

I watch with wonder this beauty! Simply unbelievable that I baked. As I have already written most of the occupation of the bread baking. I always look forward to baking bread in the days and completely turned off by molding. They are not pre-plan model, and then point at the moment is the idea.


 Csodálkozva nézem ezt a szépséget! Egyszerűen hihetetlen,hogy én sütöttem.  Mint ahogyan már írtam a legszebb elfoglaltságom a kenyérsütés. Mindig nagyon várom a sütési napokat és teljesen kikapcsolódok a kenyér mintázásával. Előre nem tervezek mintát, pont akkor és abban a pillanatban jön az ötlet.

Chausiubao's picture

Hamburger Buns, Finally; Again

Hamburger buns, finally; again

My last journey into the recesses of my memories of pride and egotism brought out many a story of my declarations with respect to hamburger buns. “White bread is easy,” I declared to the world, but my heart having been shattered into a million pieces I return here to accomplish now what I could not then! That subsequent attempt resulting in a consecutive shattering of my heart, I return again undaunted in my quest for a good hamburger bun!

What I will say about my last attempt at hamburger buns via pain de mie was that the buns were both improperly proofed and slightly overbaked. The final product was both dense and tough. It is also possible that skinning over of the dough during the oven pre-heat cycle also hindered oven spring, contributing even more to the problem. That in mind, I've made a few changes to both my formula and my approach.

Here is my hypothesis: enriched white bread doesn't rely on fermentation for flavor, therefore focusing on flavor in the production of aforementioned enriched white bread is wasteful. Rather, these breads rely on the ingredients they contain, namely sugar, dairy, and other additions, so these ingredients should play first fiddle in the formula and the method of preparation. I have doubled the yeast in this particular incarnation of pain de mie to this end, no doubt I will need to refine this change over time.

In my previous attempt I was cold proofing the final shapes. I was hoping the sealed space of my oven was enough to facilitate the proofing of the buns. I believe I was wrong! So I'll throw in a boiling pot of water and see how that helps things along. Additionally, I baked the hamburger buns for 18 minutes at 400 F. This might have been excessive, considering the dough has much higher surface area compared to before, the dough will bake much faster. Perhaps, 400 F for 12 minutes, or 350 F for 20 minutes. Then again, I would imagine, a lower temperature would dry out the dough, so a fast, hot bake seems like the better option. I'll try 400 F for 10 minutes and see where that takes me. A secondary note to add to that is that a full bake doesn't mean the dough should be fully colored, as you could see in the last batch of hamburger buns. Ultimately what I am saying is, more yeast, warmer proof, and a shorter bake should give me better results compared to last time!

After an hour of bulk fermentation, division, rounding, and a rest, the shapes are flattened, maintaining the round shape.

This is about 30 minutes of final proofing in my oven with a steaming pot of water to provide heat. In the end, the dough was proofed about 45 minutes before they went into the oven.

A little less then 10 minutes in a 375 F oven, baked with steam, and double panned to prevent overbrowning on the bottoms.

And the final product, once out of the oven, brushed with heavy whipping cream and allowed to cool. Much better then last time, the first picture posted.

I admit, 3% yeast might have been overkill, and it was. But the results were quite attractive. Somewhere between 2% and 3% will get me where I want to be. Additionally the proof temperature definitely helped a lot, as did avoiding the skin from forming on the dough while it was exposed to the dry air outside the oven. This time, it took a mere 10 minutes to bake at a temperature of 375 F. I had to double pan the buns in order to prevent excessive browning on the bottoms, but it was well worth it. I declare this a success! I'll have to make burgers tomorrow.