Sometimes, you really badly want a sandwich but there isn’t any bread and sometimes, you really want a sandwich but there isn’t the right kind of bread in the house. Cold roast beef, for example, needs soft white bread and so this is why, in the middle of writing an essay about motherhood in Peter Pan, I found myself making bread rolls.
I first came across blaas in Dublin several years ago, stuffed with white pudding and field mushrooms, and I was hooked. They are a bread roll from Waterford in Ireland, the only yeast-based bread recipe in old Irish cooking. The recipe is taken from Niamh Shield’s book, Comfort and Spice, which was one of my favourite cookery books of last year. If you haven’t bought it, I really recommend it, packed full of exciting and fresh cooking and useful for those who are attempting to live frugally but without giving up on good food. There are heaps of lovely photos and sections for Niamh’s passions such as homemade cheese, something I’ve been dying to make for years, and slow cooked pork, if you follow her on twitter, you realise that slow cooking pork is definitely one of her passions. I have my eye on the blood orange and rhubarb meringue pie and some of the ‘tapas’-esque dishes too.
I chose these because I had several hours to kill while I waited for my face to come back to life from a trip to the dentist this morning meaning that I wasn’t in a rush to eat and because I wanted one of those lovely soft, white, floury baps. These are exactly that, a lovely, soft, white, floury bap which you can rip in half or stuff with crispy bacon. Also they’re a good standby as if you’ve ever made bread, you’re likely to have all of the ingredients in the cupboard and the recipe is straightforward enough to remember without having to go back to consulting the recipe every time.
- 10g fast acting yeast
- 10g caster sugar
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g butter
- 10g sea salt
- In a jug of 275ml of warm water, add the yeast and the sugar and put to one side for 10 minutes. This should be fluffy and bubbly after the ten minutes, if it’s not then your yeast has probably expired.
- While you’re waiting, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and rub the butter through the flour.
- When the yeasty water is ready, add to the sifted flour and mix until it forms a paste.
- Remove from the bowl and knead for 10 minutes. The texture will become soft and smooth rather than rough and calloused.
- After 10 minutes, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes. (I switched on my Mum’s ancient ‘hostess’ and sat my mixing bowl in front of it to keep warm)
- After the 45 minutes, knock down the ball of dough and leave again for 15 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces and roll into balls.
- Dust a baking tray with flour and lay out the bread rolls on the baking tray. If you want that ‘batch’ style soft bits between the rolls, ensure the rolls are touching.
- Cover and put back in a warm place for an hour.
- When the hour is over, place the rolls into a preheated oven (200C) and bake for 15 minutes.