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Succesfull homemade bread rolls - Fun to make, easy to make recipie!

Who doesn't like bread?? I got a bread maker for Christmas one year ages ago and made breads of the world for years - I loved it and so did the family! I wore my machine out and needed replacement parts, that I never got around to getting for it and so bread production came to an abrupt halt. One day - I decided to have a go at making the bread with one of my almost never fail recipes but by hand instead of in the machine and voila - It was good! And almost as easy!

Here's what I did...

I put 310mls of water into a bowl.

Then I added 2 tablespoons of sugar (you need this for the yeast to feast on and do its thing), 2 teaspoons of salt (to inhibit too much activity of the part of the yeast!) and one large egg.

Then I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Then 4 cups of flour. In this batch I  have used white flour but you can use up to 2 cups of wholemeal. If you use more you will end up with very heavy rolls that you might not like too much. This recipe is for white or part wholemeal not 100% wholemeal flour.

Then add 2 teaspoons of dried yeast. I use Lowans Instant yeast - found with the flours etc at my local Woolies.

Mix it all together with a spoon, metal, wooden, plastic... or your hands... It wont matter - just get mixed together!

Dump it all onto the bench and start kneading to bring it all together and get the gluten forming strong bands.

If its to wet, shake a bit of flour over it and knead in until its the right consistency. Dry enough to feel elasticity and wet enough to feel smooth. May take up to 10 minutes to get to the right state.

When you are hapy with it - dump it back in the bowl to rise.

Cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm to rise and double in size. When it has risen simply punch it down (just like it sounds) and then knead it again for another few minutes until elastic-y and soft again.

And then leave it to rest for 5 minutes or so.

Cut the dough ball into quarters with a large sharp knife.

Cut each quarter into thirds (assuming you want 12 rolls out of your ball of dough, that is!) or quarters if you want 16 rolls and roll into balls, or shape the way you hope to cook and eat them. Sometimes I do knots. Roll the small quarter into a snake and then tie it into a simple knot. There are many traditional roll shapes - experiment and have fun!

Put each of your 12 or 16 rolls as you make them on to an oven tray that has been lightly greased with oil or butter and leave them there to rise again.

Cover with a tea towel again until they have risen and are looking light and fluffy.
Pop them into the oven on about 250 and keep an eye on them until cooked - probably 15-20 minutes.
If mine are looking a bit too brown on the top and when I tap the with my fingernail sound "solid' and not "hollow" then I put a piece of tin foil loosly over the top to stop them burning while the insides catch up.

Once they sound hollow - they are ready to come out. If you try and eat them too soon, they will seem like they are uncooked and will feel like dough in your mouth. Give 'em a good 10 - 15 minutes to cool down. they will still be warm (yummy) and when you put the butter on it will still melt but your bread will have gained some structure and will be much better for the wait - also you wont burn yourself.

I had a vision of getting some yummy shots of the bread when it came out of the oven but my husband and brother came home when they rolls were on the bench and got stuck into them thinking that I had made them for them, which I had, but was hoping to take a photo first...

I allow about 2 hours to make these in the summer - from idea to pulling out of the oven and about 4-5 in the winter. Its not a "hmmm... I'm hungry, I think I'll make some bread" sort of an activity. If you hurry the bread it doesn't rise enough and you get "heavy" bread.

If on the other hand you come home having totally forgotten that you were making bread and see the bread has risen all over the bench, simply punch it down and knead it again. This applies if your rolls are left too long and have risen up and off the oven tray on the bench. We call this Franken-bread in our house (as in Frankenstein's monster who came to life) If you cook it in that state it will have a very yeasty taste.

Score card:
Green-ness:  4/5 If you are using organic flour its gonna be much better for you than "shopbread" as you know exactly whats in it!
Frugal-ness: 4/5 much cheaper than good quality shopbread and better for you
Time cost: 2-6 hours depending on the season and available sun/heat source!
Skill level: Easy peasy! Good holiday activity with the kids!
Fun-ness: Awesome fun-ness! Especially after a few sucessful batches and then you start making Vegemite pinwheels, adding cheese to the top, popping in a few seeds, experimenting with grains, trying pumpkin bread....


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