This is a relatively easy recipe to make. There are lots of little steps, but they're spread over a few hours and the benefits of eating a fresh roll made by your own fair hands are easily worth it.
- 460 ml water, at room temperature
- 28 g dry yeast
- 50 ml olive oil
- 45 ml milk
- 620 g baker's flour
- 100 g semolina flour
- 20 g salt
- extra flour, for dusting
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.
Resting time 2 hours 20 minutes
Use a fork to dissolve the yeast in water, then add the olive oil and milk.
Combine both the flours in the bowl of a kitchen mixer with a hook attachment. Start the machine running on medium and slowly pour in the liquid. Mix it for about 3 minutes or until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Let the mix sit for 20 minutes, add the salt and then mix for a further 5 minutes or so. At this stage, the glutens in your dough should be worked enough. To check this, do the windowpane test - break off a little of the dough and gently pull it between your fingers; you should be able to stretch it so you get a nice translucent section, like a windowpane, before the dough breaks. (You can add the tester bit back to the main dough.)
Take the dough out, place it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it proof in a warm spot for 1½ hours. Within this time, you will need to knock back the dough a couple of times. All this involves is using your hands to give the dough a quick and easy gentle book fold, while it’s still in the bowl. Do this at the ½ hour and 1 hour mark.
Once this time is up, turn the dough out onto a floured board. With your hands, press out the dough into a rectangular shape, then, with a rolling pin, keep the shape but roll out the dough so it becomes about 2 cm high. Let the dough rest for a further 5 minutes or so, as it will shrink a little.
Use a blunt knife to cut the dough in thirds lengthways, then cut each piece into 4 rolls across.
Gently pick up your rolls and place them evenly on a heavy-based baking tray, set aside and allow to proof for another half hour.
Place the tray in a pre-heated oven at 220°C and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the tray a turn and bake for a further 5–10 minutes, or until the rolls are a lovely golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack.
• With all bread making, the more you know, the harder it gets. This is a very simplified version, but it will produce a nice, easy product.
• This is a fairly wet dough, so don’t be scared to be very liberal with the amount of flour you use when you are rolling it out.
•Serve with the following recipes: slow-cooked lamb shoulder, seafood brodetto with garlic aioli, pork and veal polpette (meatballs) with chilli and tomato.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
Baking sheet 40 cm x 30 cm from The Chef and the Cook.