Home made bread smells amazing and is best eaten while still warm especially if it is of the wholemeal variety. These easy brown rolls are fun to make with children and as you can see from the photos they can really get creative with their dough and make all kinds of lovely creatures!
150g strong white flour
150g strong brown/ wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp dried active yeast or instant yeast
200 ml (7 fl oz) warm water
Mix the yeast mix it into the flour with the salt in a medium sized mixing bowl, then add the oil and warm water. Mix well – you may find it is a little sticky so add more flour if you need to. You will find you have a nice soft dough.
Form it into a ball and knead it for about 10 minutes. Put a timer on and enjoy! Kneading distributes the yeast and stretches the gluten. Stretch the dough out onto a floured work surface. Fold it in two, squish it into a ball and give it a quarter turn. Repeat the process. You will begin to notice a difference in the feel and texture of the dough as you work – it becomes quite smooth and elastic, less sticky and gooey.
Place the bread into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.A warm place could be the airing cupboard or a warm room (I use my porch). You can pop the bowl onto a chair by the preheated oven too if you are baking your bread on a cold day. Be careful not to leave it in a too-warm place as it will then over-rise and this will spoil the dough.
When it has doubled in size take the dough out of the bowl and knead for about 2 – 3 minutes. This is called knocking-back. Don’t worry though – the dough will go back to its original size. This is OK. At this point if you want to add seeds or flavourings you can.
A combination of fennel seeds with golden sultanas is lovely, as is a mixture of flax, chia and sunflower seeds. Poppy seeds are great and nigella seeds are very tasty. A fun thing to do is make hedgehogs and use pumpkin seeds or pine nuts for the spikes.
To shape hedgehogs: Shape the dough into balls. Pull one end out to make a snout. Stick currants in for shouts. Use a pair of scissors to snip the top into peaks or stick pumpkin seeds or pine nuts into the top.
To shape baby cottage rolls: Shape the dough into equal sizes. Pull a quarter off each piece and shape both pieces into balls. Press the smaller ball on top of the other and make a hole through the top with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Now the dough onto a lightly greased tin tin. Now you are going to prove the bread. Cover the tin with oiled clingfilm. Leave it in your warm place until it has doubled in size again. It should take about ¾ hour. Preheat the oven to 220 °C/ 425 °F or Gas mark 7. Dust the top of the rolls with flour or leave them plain.
Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until it is golden brown. Your bread will be ready when it feels light and sounds hollow when tapped (tip it out of the tin). If it is not ready just bake it a little longer.
Cool on a wire rack.