What could compare to the pleasure of having one dozen fresh BREAD ROLLS on your table ? The added pleasure of moist and stringy bread rolls, with a thin and crispy crust, that are easy and quick to prepare, shape and bake ! And on top of that, they almost look like cinnamon rolls. What are you waiting for ?
It’s amazing how altering some simple ingredients produces quite different results in bread-making. If you replace some water with some milk, the bread will be moister. If you use olive oil on your fingers to knead the bread, it will be easier to knead as well as moist and brushing the bread with olive oil before it bakes will develop a crispy ultra-thin crust that you can hear as you chew it. If your flour is soft and not strong enough for bread-making (about 15% protein content which is in fact the” gluten”), then you can replace some flour with gluten powder, it will be stringier and chewier. Malt powder too, and in particular baking malt powder adds amazing flavor and makes the bread rise faster as well bake better.
Mechanically speaking, kneading by hand is by far the best thing to do but it’s often difficult if the dough is too wet. This is why my dough and its ratio of wet to dry ingredients is just like a pizza dough, about ⅔ of the total weight in liquids compared to the dry ingredients or 66% hydration which makes it easier to knead without being overly sticky and without adding extra flour. And only later, after flattening the dough, do you spray it with more water on the inside surface and roll it up, to capture that extra moisture and raising the hydration to 75%. Kneading several times, with short rest periods in between also strengthens the dough.
And finally, letting the dough rise in a closed baked vessel (a baking dish with a lid) as well as baking it inside this same vessel with its lid on, will capture the steam and allow the bread to keep puffing up and expanding before the outer crust gets too hard and restricts its expansion, resulting in a fluffier bread and beautifully thin crunchy crust.
If you follow these simple instructions, you can have 12 small bread rolls in under 3 hours, to be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
What a delight they were ! And next time when talk about bread again, maybe we’ll make some larger and lighter puffier breads used for Southern French style “pain bagnat” sandwiches … :)