These are my version of the rolls that my dad made at the weekend and left to prove in front of our gas fire. Whenever I taste this bread, there’s this flavour that I know: the taste of home.
- 500 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7 g instant dried yeast
- 7 g fine salt
- 40 g caster sugar
- 40 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, softened
- About 320 ml cold water
- Oil, for oiling
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time: 3-4 hours in total.
- Put the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar to the other. Add the butter and about three-quarters of the water. Stir the mixture around with the fingers of one hand to mix, gradually adding more of the water, until you have picked up all the flour from the side of the bowl. The dough needs to be soft but not soggy. (You may not need all of the water or you may need a little more; it depends on the flour.)
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5–10 minutes. At first the dough will be wet but as you knead it will become smooth and silky.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size. This will take at least an hour and can take 2–3 hours or longer.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. At this stage, you are starting to form the structure of the dough so it rises upwards rather than spreading outwards.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (Until you can instinctively determine the correct size of each roll, it’s a good idea to weigh the whole dough and divide the figure by 12, then check you have the correct weight for each piece).
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll each piece of dough in a cage formed by your hand, lightly pressing onto the work surface and moving your hand in a circular motion. Sit the rolls on a floured surface and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Remove the tea towel and use a rolling pin to flatten each ball of dough so it doubles in width. Place on the prepared trays, leaving enough space in between for them to expand.
- Place each tray in a large, clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 45–60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C/Gas 7.
- Remove the trays from the bags and lightly dust the surface of the rolls with flour. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Extract from A Baker's Life by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury, $39.99).