Easy bread and rolls

 Iam really not the bread eating kind of  person,not one to have breads ,  buns, rolls of any kind except of the occasional paav bhaaji , I am never tempted to eat bread, but enjoy making many varieties of sandwiches for my daughter , so bread baking skills were definitely to be grappled with. Many a time I have tried baking bread in a small with  limited  measure of success. 

Now wiser and some breads and buns later I have compiled my own step by step guide to follow for basic bread baking. Recipe is good for both bread and rolls…my basic recipe for both..

 Keep the yeast, sugar and little warm milk in a bowl to foam , within 10 minutes it should look like this.
All foamy and good , so you can confidently go ahead with rest of the dough preparation.

Make a well on a clean counter and  add the prepared yeast solution in the middle little by little.

As you keep adding the milk and making the dough, it will look like this shaggy and sticky but not to worry, you need to pull the dough with your hands as much as it will go, the stickiness will slowly reduce as you keep doing this. work either on the counter or in a deep bowl or even on a non stick surface…easier to clean up.

Here you need to use the heel of your palm  to drag along the sticky dough gently , you will see the so many perforations showing the yeast has worked well, this is one test to see if the dough has been kneaded well. you will see at this stage the dough comes together, though appearing to be still stodgy.

Finally within 5 to 8 minutes you will start getting a smooth shiny elastic dough after adding the softened butter in the finishing step of making the dough, this helps to gather a smooth dough.

Use a bench scraper or any sharp rounded tool in the kitchen , like a flat spatula  will also do to gather the still sticky dough into an oiled bowl.Scrape off from the counter into a greased bowl where the dough will rest  upto 45 minutes max or until doubled .

                                                             

                                                     
Keep the dough covered with a cling film or a damp           kitchen towel on the counter.
       

After the dough has nearly doubled, it will look like this. Completely risen.

 Remove the dough from the bowl, and flatten it against a nonstick surface or a dusted counter. I prefer the nonstick plate as it helps to work easily with the still wobbly dough. Knock out all the air and flatten it to a thickness evenly.I did not use any measurements, just roughly flattened out while using the knuckles to knock out air and a rectangle as much as possible.

The reason is this recipe can be  used to make pav buns/dinner rolls , so you need to cut the dough into thick strips . vertically as shown.in the pic below.

Use the scraper to make the strips and cut them further to smaller pieces to make into rolls . If you plan to make a loaf, then simple keep the flattened rectangle of dough and keep rolling and shaping into a loaf , pinch the seams and smooth-en.

 While keeping the small balls of dough on the baking sheet, keep them slightly apart if you want a round shape. Pic below shows the rolls almost touching one another after expansion during second rise.
Thats it!! you have now come to the last leg of the bread/roll baking stage of popping it into the preheated oven . In between the second rise, keep your oven heated and ready to bake the bread.

Now let us get down to the recipe in detail.

Ingredients:

1 cup warm milk  ( or
water + milk to make 1 cup, to be warm).
2 ¼ tsp  active dry
yeast
2 ½ tsp  sugar
salt
1 ½  tbls softened
butter (or non-dairy equivalent)
2 ½  cups flour.

Procedure :

  • First step is to 
    place the flour  in a circular
    manner , make  a large  well  in the middle 
    on a clean counter .  I prefer to
    work on the counter . 

  • If you have a mixer with a bread hook you can
    use that or just mix by hand. I recommend this step only if you have
    confidence in the yeast and that it is fresh, otherwise first prove it separately
    and then add it to the well.

  • Pour half the water/milk in the center, add the yeast, sugar
    and salt. Then either with a fork or your fingers, work the sugar, yeast, and
    salt together, the yeast will activate , keep doing this by rubbing the yeast,
    sugar and water. I decided to work with my fingers, be prepared for some elbow
    grease.! 
  • The alternate is to first prove the yeast by mixing warm
    milk/water , sugar and give a gentle stir and let it sit , after 10  minutes , you will see it foamy and risen. See the pic below. This
    is the test for the quality of your yeast.  
  • Now you can proceed with rest of the
    recipe, if the yeast remains as it is showing  no sign of proving, discard and start
    with a fresh batch, no point in going ahead as you will not get the bread you
    desire. Pour the foamy yeast mixture into the middle area of the well and start making the dough.
  • Slowly keep bringing all the flour from the sides towards
    the well, don’t panic when you see the middle of the well all gooey and watery,
    don’t break the flour wall . Keep adding remaining water/milk.
  • The next step is getting it together, slowly you will see
    the flour, milk, all coming together but in a sticky mass, which shouldn’t bother you, keep working at the sticky dough.  

  • You will note that the dough is almost of a thick porridge,
    after you have added all the milk a, bring all the flour together, you will get
    a little sticky dough now, time to add the butter, which will now make it more
    manageable to work with. Keep aside some flour ,(  not additional four! ) But from the wall that
    you have built, for the last stage where you may need to finish the dough into
    a smooth elastic ball.
.
  • You will observe the dough has now become more elastic,
    though very loose, keep working, do not add any flour to make it tough, this
    will not give you the fluffy buns that we want. 
  • Flour your hands, pat and push the dough together with any
    left over dough.

  • You need to push, fold, slap and roll the dough around,
    over and over, for 4 or 5 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough. 
  • Use both hands 
    now  to make a smooth ball of
    dough , then stretch it for  a bit as
    much as it will, then again bring it together into a ball. Over all you need to spend a good 5 minutes max working the dough till smooth but slightly tacky. It should spring back when poked.
  • Time to let the dough rise.
  • Put it in a bowl, cover with
    cling film, and allow it to rise or double  for about half an hour until doubled in size
    – ideally in a warm,  place. You can cover with a kitchen
    towel too.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size maybe around 45
    minutes or 1 hour depending on the weather conditions you will notice  the dough would have
    expanded sideways, not to worry.
  •  Knock the air out
    for 30 seconds  minimum by bashing it and squashing it 
    With your knuckles. Do not add flour , but you can flour your palms to
    work with the dough. or grease the palm.
  • You can now shape it into rolls ,split the dough in half and then again more sections so that you have even sections of dough to make even size rolls.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle and
    then punching out the air, then use a bench  scraper  or a kitchen tool like a round thin plate, works well!  to make thick strips of dough. Cut those strips of thick dough into
    smaller pieces which will be the individual size of buns.  

  • To shape into rolls, tuck the edges underneath
    to form a plump little ball, then shape into small rolls and keep on a
    greased  baking pan.
  • You can also leave it
    instead as a loaf by shaping it into a loaf and placing it in the loaf pan for
    the second rise. If you plan to make individual  rolls, take a baking sheet and place the small
    rolls , little apart to give room for expansion. Let the rolls rise until they
    look fluffy, see the pic  and fill the pan roughly 30-40 minutes.

  • This is the most important step, as the second rise will
    give the really light airy texture to the rolls 
    that we love in breads. Patience is the key here, let the bread dough
    be! 

  • Do not meddle at this stage and once fully risen , you will see the rolls
    all expanded and close to one another. Time to keep in the preheated oven.  Brush the tops with milk. Melt the butter and
    brush it over the risen dinner rolls. This helps the tops to brown and keeps
    the crust soft. to get a lovely pale golden hue.
  • Bake at 220 C   for
    17 to  20 minutes till you see the firm
    top . or until the rolls are slightly golden brown.  The color will be very subtle so make sure
    you do not over bake. 
  • Take them out and brush the roll with melted butter.

 Let
the rolls cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. They are best if
eaten within a day or two, but will keep good and fresh  in an airtight container on the
counter for up to a week. Which I really doubt as once these rolls are out from the oven your  family will pounce on them ! 

Notes

I have been baking bread s and roll in a small way and
now I can say confidently that although the recipe for the bread and rolls seem
easy and fuss free, believe me it is not!! Not if you do not heed to the care taken while kneading.
Several times I have followed the recipes to the  T . yet ended up with a hard, roll or not at
all a satisfying roll. I now realize the various kneading techniques initially
matters to get that perfect fluffy roll.
I have chronicled several small but very important tips
for getting that super soft light roll that we all yearn for.
  • The key words that you need to keep on top of the mind,
    is knead, pull, push,  fold, slap  and roll.
  • These are the sure fire techniques that will help achieve
    the perfect roll.

  • From a porridgy, stodgy , sticky dough you will apply all
    these techniques to bring it to a smooth elastic shiny though a tad bit sticky
    dough. 
  • Do not attempt to add more flour than mentioned .
  • While kneading and bringing all the flour together in the
    well after working the sugar, yeast, milk , save a little bit of the flour from
    the well for that last bit of patting to lift the sticky dough form the
    counter.
  • A kitchen scraper will do the job or else use some blunt tin plate etc.
  • If you have the non stick mat , use that as a surface to   work the
    dough.

  • Use the heels of your hands to flatten the round
    into a rough rectangle after the first rise. If the dough is sticking to the counter, sprinkle a
    little flour underneath. or flour your palms.

  •  Use your fingers to pinch the dough
    closed where the top layer meets the bottom layers. Don’t forget the sides!
  • If you are shaping a loaf,  then shape  to  get the surface of the
    loaf as taut as possible. This will help the loaf rise evenly and keep its
    shape. If your loaf still seems a little loose after the initial folding, just
    fold it in half again and pinch it closed. We do this by pressing the middle
    down and bringing up the sides.
  •  Roll the loaf over until the seam is
    facing down and then gently lift the loaf into your pan. The seams should be on
    the bottom with the tight surface facing up.
  • The loaf is ready to bake when it starts
    to rise over the rim of the pan. Slash the top with a  serrated knife so that it rises evenly .

Note the inside of the roll is so soft and fluffy. That is the right texture we want.

I made a small loaf as well as some rolls too. Some pics of the small loaf that I baked.

reference to
http://breadbaking.about.com/od/yeastbreads/r/1loafbread.htm,
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Radha! Awesome stuff… 🙂 I am a beginner (have baked bread only once!!!) and was wondering how things would work if I'd to halve the portions. Would the yeast be halved as well or should it be a little more than that??

    • says

      This recipe is actually a halved one , from the original, but I read somewhere you shouldn't reduce yeast while reducing proportions, but I find that not logical, as we would be using too much yeast for a lesser amount of flour.I shall find out and anser on this later, meanwhile thanks a lot for the visit.try this, and why do you want to reduce , its already a small batch!

    • says

      Thanks a bunch for the reply!! The first time, I tried with 3 cups of flour…and that gave me around 15 rolls…which is too much for just 2 people… that's why I would like to halve it.. Moreover, I'd like to perfect it by trying smaller batches.. 🙂

    • says

      I have never tried using whole wheat flour, why dont you go ahead and try , but I have tried a similar recipe fro whole wheat bread and it came out fine, not paav buns though.thanks for visiting the page.

Leave a Reply