Don't be afraid to make your own bread! These basic bread rolls inspired by a class at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School are so satisfying to make! And tasty too.
Just over a week ago I attended a Bread Baking: Knead to Know cookery class at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School in London sponsored by Currys and Hotpoint. There really is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread and I could not help but leave the class inspired to bake more bread at home. Not to mention very satisfied after a gorgeous lunch of my own freshly baked bread, pumpkin soup and cheese fondant.
You can find the recipe for the bread rolls further down this post. If you'd also like the recipe for the soup you can see in the background, you can find it on the Curry's Tech Talk Blog.
Where was the Jamie Oliver Cookery School?
Sadly the Jamie Oliver Cookery School has closed since I took this class. It used to be at the back of Jamie's Italian restaurant in the Westfield Shopping Centre. After meeting the other food and lifestyle bloggers we were taken through to a beautiful airy kitchen where an encouraging and enthusiastic chef demonstrated what we were going to do. We made our own plain white bread rolls and learned how to shape them before topping them with a choice of seeds. We also made a lovely foccacia with a few whole cherry tomatoes in it and topped it with homemade rosemary salt and of course olive oil. It tasted amazing! I especially loved the way that the tomatoes had a beautiful sweet juicy caramelised taste to them.
What bread did we make in the class?
As you can imagine, we couldn’t eat all the bread during the class so we enjoyed some of our homemade rolls with the soup and took rest home along with the foccacia. We also took home some of our own dough that we’d prepared so we could bake more bread when we got home.
My dough had risen very well but it was looking a bit battered by the time it reached home so I didn’t risk making it into rolls. Instead, I made my first breadsticks. Ta da!
Tips for making your own bread
Making bread can but shouldn't be intimidating and although I have made my own bread before, I don’t make it regularly and I picked up lots of useful information. I’d like to share just a few of these tips with you:
- When mixing the liquid into the flour use a fork as it will be less messy.
- Knead the dough by working it with your hands. You can push away and pull it back but as long as you are keeping it moving and stretching it, it’s fine. It’s almost impossible to overwork it if you’re kneading by hand.
- Add a little flour to the work surface and your hands if it’s too sticky but don’t add too much flour. Too much flour will result in a dry bread.
- There are 3 ways to know when your dough has risen enough. It will be at least doubled in size, it will jiggle like jelly when you wobble the bowl and if you put your hands in with your fingers apart and pull it will look like spider’s webs.
- The proving time depends very much on the temperature of the bread’s surroundings. It may take an hour in a warm room but you can just put it in the fridge and it will prove overnight. Then you can have freshly baked bread in the morning!
- If the dough has over proved it will have touched the top of the clingfilm (or other lid) and then fallen back down. But don’t throw it away, it’s still fine for pizza dough or breadsticks!
- Knock back your dough by pummeling it with your hands. Do this for at least a minute.
- The baking time depends on the size of your rolls or loaf. When the dough is baked, it will feel hollow if you tap it underneath.
- Don’t cut into fresh bread as soon as it comes out of the oven. Leave bread rolls for at least 5 minutes before cutting into them. However tempting it may be!
Don't be afraid of making homemade bread!
Finally, I have to say, don’t be afraid of making your own bread at home. If it is under-proved, it will just be a little denser. If you haven’t knocked it back enough, it will just have a few bubbles of air inside. And, if it’s over-proved, you can make it into bread sticks or a pizza base. Whatever happens remember this, homemade bread smells and tastes amazing, even if it isn’t perfect! Why not make some of this homemade bread to go with my baked Tunworth cheese?
Recipe for basic bread rolls
We were given a recipe for the bread rolls using fresh yeast. However, fresh yeast can be hard to find except by asking in a bakery. So, I've adapted the recipe to use fast action dried yeast which is easily available in supermarkets.
Basic White Bread Rolls
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 7 g Fact action dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 310 ml lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp seeds optional
- Mix all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the middle.
- Pour in half the water and stir using a fork, gradually bringing in the flour from around the sides of the bowl.
- Add the rest of the water. Continue stirring to form a dough. Add a little extra water if it is very dry.
- Flour a work surface and your hands lightly.
- Turn the dough out and start kneading it by pushing it away and folding it back.
- If the dough is too sticky add a little extra flour but not too much or it will make the bread dry. Keep kneading for about 5 minutes till the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough in a large bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise, preferably somewhere warm but not hot. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size. Depending on the surroundings this could be any time from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You can even proove overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Knock the dough back. Pummel it with your hands for about a minute.
- Shape the dough. Make any shape you want but make sure the rolls are even sizes so they will be ready at the same time. Put the rolls on a baking tray. I put a little flour on mine to prevent them from sticking in the oven.
- Leave the rolls to rise until the oven is heated up
- Brush the top of the rolls with a little milk or beaten egg. This helps the rolls to brown on top and look appetising. It also helps any toppings to stick.
- Optional: Add seeds to the top of the rolls.
- Bake the rolls in the oven. Depending on the size they could take any time from 7-15 minutes. When they are ready they will sound hollow if you tap them underneath.
- Put the rolls on a wire rack to cool.
If you like these basic bread rolls then here are some more bread recipes!
Why not also try my pretzels recipe? You might also enjoy reading my review of the Cookery Classes at Little Portland Street where I made cheese and mushroom pasties!
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Places I'm sharing these basic bread rolls
Disclosure: I attended a free cookery class but all opinions are my own.