There are some recipes that we fall back on time and after time. They are the recipes that never fail us, are always successful and are often the simplest with the fewest ingredients. We make them so often that we don't even need the recipe instructions anymore, and we can measure by eye and feel rather than with scales. This bread roll recipe is exactly that for me. When I suddenly realise we need bread, it's the recipe I always use, and it never fails me. The rolls are soft and billowy, and are perfect filled for lunches, or as a side to soup or casseroles. Or simply straight out of the oven with a generous smear of butter and a warm cup of tea.
This recipe is the basis for most bread recipes, with flour, yeast, and a liquid. I add a little fat to make the roll a bit more luxurious and the sugar helps it rise. The addition of milk keeps them soft.
Don't rush things when you make them. Use this time to be a little bit mindful about slowing down, and appreciate the calmness that comes with making bread. It's worth it!
Simple Bread Roll Recipe
550g / 19.5 oz all purpose flour
25g / 0.8 oz fresh yeast OR 13g / 0.5 oz dried yeast
30g / 1 oz sugar
25g / 0.8 oz softened butter
10g / 1.5 teaspoon salt
100ml / 3.5 fl oz warm water
200ml / 6.75 fl oz warm milk
A little extra flour for dusting
If you are using fresh yeast break it up slightly with your hands. Put all the dry ingredients including the yeast and butter into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and gently mix to combine. Gradually add the warm milk to the dry ingredients. Slowly add enough warm water to make a soft, pliable, but not sticky dough. Knead on the lowest setting for 10 minutes. If you prefer you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it by hand for 10 minutes.
Place in a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave it in a warm place for about an hour until it's doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a neat ball and place on a baking sheet that you have lined with greaseproof paper. Once you have shaped all the rolls, cover them with the damp cloth and let them rise again for about 20 minutes. They will be about twice the size when they are ready. Lightly dust the tops with flour and bake in the centre of the oven for around 10 minutes.
When they are cooked the tops will be a light golden brown and the bottoms no longer doughy. Cool on a wire rack.
It's time to put the kettle on and enjoy a warm roll with gently melting butter and maybe a spoonful of homemade jam.