I got bitten by the bread baking virus two weeks ago. One of my teaching colleagues Andreas, a master baker, kindly allowed me to sit in, or rather stand in, on one of his baking lessons. There were three female students there from a notoriously
difficult challenging class which was making rolls and pastries for the school canteen. Usually, the students start to whine after ten minutes in the classroom how tired they are, how they definitely cannot work one more minute because they are so exhausted from thinking. As soon as Andreas heard anything like this, he’d make a funny remark, the girls would laugh and then they’d continue kneading and rolling out dough. One even started singing while she rolled out the puff pastry. He was brilliant.
Anyway, I wrote down some of the basic bread and roll recipes that the students learn in the baking lessons and the same evening I made some rolls replacing the white flour with 80% ground spelt. My family loved the rolls so much I decided to bake fresh wholemeal bread and rolls every day. After a week of buying dinky (expensive) packages of organic einkorn, spelt and emmer grain, I searched the internet to find a cheap supplier. I never realised that it would be cheapest to buy grain from the biggest book shop on the internet. My grain is now delivered to me on a monthly basis and I get to save 10%.
So here’s the list of ingredients that you need. There weren’t any instructions on the blackboard on how to make the rolls. I keep a little ball of dough from each batch I make and then add it to the next.
1 kg white flour (or use 800g wholemeal and 200g white)
30g natural fermentation starter
30g fresh yeast
10g fat (I use olive oil)
Mix the crumbled yeast into the warm water. Give it a good stir. Knead everything in the food processor, allow to double in size, punch down, roll dough into rolls, allow to rise again and then bake until the rolls are brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. You can moisten the dough rolls and then dunk their undersides in sunflower seeds and the tops in poppy seeds before baking which is what the students do here.
Don’t forget the bowl of hot water in the oven for lots of steam.
To make a loaf, I just take a 500g piece of dough, plonk it in a greased baking tin and allow to rise before baking at 200C until it’s brown and sounds hollow when tapped.