Homemade bread is a wholesome pastime that is comforting, incredibly satisfying and tasty all at the same time. A lot of bread you buy in the shops is full of preservatives, so they have a longer shelf life, but this makes them less healthy; making your own bread at home is the perfect solution! Bread baking takes a lot of skill and intuition, but you can learn these things as you make more bread and build your skill set. In this little recipe, we hope to give you some handy tips and tricks to help you along your breadmaking journey and have some new skills in your back pocket to pull out whenever needed.
Crusty Bread Rolls Recipe
- 400 grams flour
- 1 piece sachet dried yeast
- 5 grams sugar
- 10 grams salt
- 250-350 milliliter water
- Extra flour for dusting
- In a large bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and whisk until thoroughly combined. Ensure that when you are measuring your ingredients that the yeast doesn’t touch the salt directly or it will kill it.
- Gradually add the water, mixing until it forms a shaggy dough that is sticky but not wet.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface or into your food processor or stand mixer. Knead on high for as long as it takes for your dough to be elastic, stretchy and passes the windowpane test (as pictured) and light shines through the dough when it is stretched thin.
- Shape your dough into a smooth ball and drop into an oiled bowl. Cover and leave to prove until double in size. The time this takes will depend on the warmth and humidity of the room you are proving it in.
- Preheat your oven to 180oC and place a baking tray on the bottom shelf of the oven, this is what will help you create steam later.
- Once the dough has doubled lightly knock it down to get rid of any larger air bubbles and divide into 8 even balls.
- Form each portion into a smooth ball by folding it back on itself (as pictured) and place them evenly spaced on a baking sheet. Dust with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- For the second prove let the shaped buns prove on the sheet you will be baking them on. This process will take less time than the last one so prove until they have increased by half.
- Remove the plastic wrap and dust each roll with flour.
- Before placing the rolls in the oven have a ½ cup of water ready. Open the oven place in the rolls and pour the water into the deep tray. Close the door to trap the steam.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown without opening the oven door. To test if they are done turn over a bun and tap on the bottom; if it sounds hollow, they are done.
Crusty Bread Rolls Recipe
This recipe is specifically for some crunchy bread rolls that you can make to dip into some homemade soup or act as the vessel for some juicy burgers. New bakers might be scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get a crusty outer layer with a fluffy inside, but we are here to give you the inside scoop on how to nail it every time.
The key to a really satisfying crunchy crust may actually surprise you: it's the steam. The steam helps caramelise the sugars on the bread's surface to make them brown beautifully, become crunchy and impart a particularly rich flavour. To create the steam, you only need to place a tray, preferably with higher sides, on the lower rack of your oven underneath the rack where you will be baking the rolls. Leave the tray while you heat the oven so the tray gets hot. Then, once you place the rolls in the oven, you will pour a measure of water into the tray. The heat will cause the water to immediately become steam that you can trap by closing the door and letting it work its magic. Be sure not to open the oven until you absolutely must to avoid losing the steam and prevent the rolls from deflating.
Apart from the nitty-gritty of making a crunchy crust, the most important parts of the bread-making process are kneading and proving. Kneading the dough activates the gluten in the flour and causes it to stretch and form elastic strands. This process can be done by hand (which becomes easier and quicker with experience) in a stand mixture with the dough hook attachment or a food processor with the dough attachment. Then we have the proving, which is when you leave the bread to rise and be inflated by the CO2 produced by the yeast. This is a very important step because it gives the bread its light and fluffy texture, with even air bubbles throughout. When it comes to rolls, you need to prove the dough twice, once before shaping and once after shaping, for the perfect end result.
You will notice that we have not given an exact water quantity in this recipe. This is because the quantity depends on the humidity of your environment and even how dry the flour is, so you will add the water bit by bit as per instructions.
And there you have it, a fail-safe bread recipe for making delectable, crunchy rolls at home. This basic recipe and a little harnessed steam power are all you need, but ensure that you are always very careful when adding water to an oven so you don’t spill it into the oven itself. So good luck in all your bread-making endeavours. Happy baking!