I'm out of sugar but wanted to bake so could only make bread and pizza dough. They don't require sugar. This post will be on my bread.
I've been wanting to make bread rolls because I can freeze and use as needed. With loaves of bread, I have a hard time finishing it. Often I have to eat it for lunch and breakfast and throw away the last piece cos it's too old and hard to even toast.
The bread roll I made came from my favourite book (and my fave cooking show on PBS). It's from America's Test Kitchen.
This recipe required a sponge. A sponge is like a dough starter that is given extra time to rise and is added to the actual bread dough later. It allows the bread to be more tasty and to me, more chewy. I like bread that has a sponge but it requires planning since the sponge has to be prepared 6 hours earlier and maximum 24hours.
To make the sponge, just add warm water, yeast and flour. Let it sit until it rises and falls. In my case, I let it sat for close to 24hrs. You can see in the picture below has collapsed but very bubbly.
The next day after preparing my sponge, I made my bread dough. Nowadays to make bread quick, I use my mixer. I love to hand knead but I hate clearing up counter space to knead. I need a bigger kitchen!! So until I have a BIG kitchen, I'll be making bread with my mixer. Plus it's a lot faster like 1hr quicker.
Anyhoo.... Add flour and yeast together.
Add warm water until forms a dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
After resting, I looked at the dough and was worried!! The yeast didn't dissolve and in most bread recipes you put yeast and warm water to dissolve the yeast. Here I saw granules of yeast. But my America Test Kitchen recipe book has never failed me so I decided to just continue the recipe even though I was worried. What happens if you eat yeast that's undissolved??
The next step was to add the sponge and salt. Suddenly the dough became very moist and sticky. That's perfect because if the dough is wet, it'll dissolve the yeast. Typically when working with bread dough and you add salt, it causes the dough to water. I think the salt is drawing put the water from the dough.
So I add very little flour and the dough is no longer sticky and forms a ball.
I knead it by hand in the bowl to form a ball and let it rise for about 60 to 90 minutes.
I go and catch up on shows on my PVR and probably let it rose a little longer than 90 minutes and come back to...
Oops. Should be ok as long as it doesn't smell fermented.
I divide the dough into 18 balls. It should be equal in size but I'm terrible at sizing. Maybe next time I should use a scale like what a commercial bakery does.
I roll them up into buns. I decide to make 6 cranberry rolls so I rolled the dough with dried cranberries.
I let the rolls rise again for about 60 minutes.
After rising, I put then in the oven. Oh no! Guess what I forgot to do? I forgot to brush water on the tops and slash them. I do that while they are in the oven. Doesn't look nice but it's only me eating them, so should be ok.
I bake for 20 minutes and take them out. Why are they so brown??
Arrgghhh!! I didn't read the recipe carefully. It should be baked at 425 degrees NOT 475 degrees. That's the problem with recipes that are too detailed. I don't read, I skim!
Anyways the bread had a very nice crust and soft in the middle. It was just like an Italian crusty roll.
They were good rolls even though they were a little brown. As I mentioned earlier, the crust was crispy and middle was soft.
The texture was similar to Italian bread you get at Italian restaurants or bakeries. After 2 days, the bread is still good. Now the crust is not crispy but chewy. Still very good texture.
I made tuna sandwich lunch and people thought I bought the bread. Hehe. Definitely will make again but at correct temperature so it won't be too brown.
Happy baking or eating or what you enjoy doing!
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