The smell of freshly baked bread wafting in the air, what could be better? These soft rolls are quick and easy, guaranteed to cover your home in the wonderful smell of fresh bread. This recipe makes bread with a hard exterior but a fluffy and soft interior, perfect for soups or just butter. Won’t you come try it with me?
Bread is hard to beat, and these soft rolls are no exception. I’m sure most people picked bread baking during the lockdown, and it seems much less intimidating than before. Bread baking was never a difficult thing, just time consuming, which made it seem (makes it seem?) difficult. I find bread making very soothing and refer to each and every loaf as my dough baby (I realize that doesn’t seem sane, but I just love them all). Even if they refuse to rise or I made a mistake somewhere, they are all my precious dough babies.
This recipe was originally my brother’s recipe, but he very generously gave it to me, so I get to play with it all I want (muahahha?). This was probably my first foray into the world of yeast and bread baking. I remember mentioning wanting to buy a bread maker to my brother (a culinary student at the time) and he was angry that I even suggested it. Then he proceeded to drag me into the kitchen and show me how to freehand (is that the right word?) bread, all the while muttering about how stupid bread makers were. These soft rolls were eaten with our childhood chilli and well, the rest is history, I guess.
This recipe uses Instant Yeast, and up until last year, I also didn’t know that there were different types of yeast. I’ve always thought that the packets of Active Dry Yeast were the only options available, but no, I have learned since that that is not true. Instant Yeast, my friends, have gotten me through a lot of bread disasters. Now, it’s not to say that the two are interchangeable, but they are similar enough.
Active Dry Yeast needs to be “activated”. So that means that it needs to proof or bloom (please correct me if the wording is wrong) in water (often with sugar for fuel) before you can use it. Instant Yeast is, as the name suggests, instant. From what I understand, you can proof or bloom it if you want, but you can also mix it directly into the dry ingredients. I always proof or bloom mine, just for my own piece of mind honestly. The shelf life of Active Dry Yeast is also unstable, you never know if it’s alive in the packet or not (scary), whereas Instant Yeast is almost guaranteed to be alive and raring to go.
So yes, I’ve changed over the Instant Yeast as my preferred yeast.
As usual, if you have all your ingredients measured out, set out, then you’re golden.
First, proof or bloom the yeast in warm water (about 10 minutes). I do this step no matter what type of yeast I use, just for my own piece of mind.
Afterwards, combine the yeast with salt, sugar, and the flour. While combining softened butter. This is where I get lazy and declare my undying love to my stand mixer (which was a lovely Christmas present from the NSSSO, thanks!). Once everything is combined, we move onto kneading. If you’re kneading by hand, lightly flour a clean surface (or be lazy like me and buy a large silicone mat). Kneading is tiring work, but the only advice I have is to use the heel of your palm and to rotate the dough as you knead. Once the dough feels elastic and when you poke it, it bounces back, it’s ready. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour slowly.
I like to proof my dough in an old rice cooker pot. But whatever it is you use, remember to lightly oil the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let it rise until doubled, I usually put it on top of the oven as it preheats to 350°, since dough rises faster on warm surfaces. The rise should take around 30 minutes.
Once the dough has risen, turn your oven temperature up to 400°F. Now we separate our dough into equal pieces. I usually roll them into balls afterwards, which is an artform and took me forever to learn how to do. Darn my brother for making it look super easy. Once the rolls are prepared, lay them out on a lightly greased baking sheet/ parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure the side where the dough meets is on the bottom. Bake for 15 minutes.
And there you have it, soft rolls. The perfect accompaniment to soups (or chilli in our case haha).
Soft RollsCourse: Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDifficulty: Medium
200g Warm Water
30 g Butter (Softened)
- Proof/Bloom 10g of Yeast in 200g warm water for 10 minutes
- Gradually combine the yeast with 315g flour, 30g sugar, and 5g salt. Once that is combined, slowly 30g softened butter. Mix until combined
- Once combined, knead dough. You can choose to knead by hand or by using a stand mixer. If you are kneading by hand, make sure the surface you’re using is clean before dusting flour on top to prevent sticking. The dough is ready when you poke it, and it bounces back. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour slowly.
- Lightly oil a bowl and put the dough into it, covering with a damp cloth. Proof/ Let rise in a warm location for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. I usually put it on top of the preheating oven
- Preheat oven for 350°F
- Once dough has doubled, remove from bowl, and divide into equal pieces. Lay them out, the joined side on the bottom, on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet
- Pump the heat up to 400°F before putting the rolls into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving