And about time too! I’m sure I promised this recipe back in June or July. Problem is, I always bake them first thing in the morning, before my brain is fully in gear. Which means that I kept forgetting to take the photos I needed to finish off the recipe. But not today – so here goes.
This is one of those ‘put in till it looks right’, so you may find you need to experiment a bit before you get it right. But it’s worth persevering if it’s not right to begin with, because these are truly delicious, and make a perfect breakfast or lunch roll.
So, here goes. Just follow the instructions below, and use the pictures as a guide to what it should look like.
You’ll need a bowl big enough to allow the mix to rise (it doubles in volume overnight). I start it off in the evening, ready to rise overnight and be baked first thing.
Add the following in the order listed, and mix well as you go:
- Yeast – I use fresh yeast for this recipe. Not a lot, and I crumble it. I didn’t found it easy to find fresh yeast, till I discovered that a local craft baker is happy to give it away with any purchase. More recently I’ve discovered you can find it easily in the chill cabinet in Polish, Scandinavian and probably other East European shops -where there’s a tradition of home baking. I have also used dried yeast, but remember you’ll need to activate this (follow the instructions on the tin or packet)
- Salt, sugar, oil – I use a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar and oil. I normally use brown sugar, sometimes honey.
- Vinegar – add a small splash. I use cider vinegar, I’m sure wine vinegar would also be fine. I believe that this helps the mix rise and retain an open texture, so I think it is essential, but I suspect you could use other acidic things instead (e.g. orange juice? I’ve never tried this though).
- Liquid – I always include a dairy product here. Depending on what I have, I’ve used milk, sour milk, whey, yoghurt, strained yoghurt. All have turned out well. I make up the balance with water (straight from the tap). For a large batch use about 3 mugs of liquid, but usually I don’t actually measure it other than by eye. For a smaller batch, use half this amount.
- Sometimes I add extra ingredients at this stage – maybe some seeds, or some cracked rye, or dried fruit, or all of these. You’ll find your own treats to add. Or keep it simple and plain.
- Porridge oats – this makes the rolls softer. I often use some of my home-mixed muesli instead of plain oats, so that’s some rolled oats, barley and rye grains plus seeds
- Bread flour – I use a mixture of white wheat flour, wholemeal wheat flour, and rye flour. But you can use whatever bread flour you have to hand – I do find though that it rises better if I use at least some white flour (normally about a third).
- Keep adding the flour until you have a thick dough-like mix. I mix it with a big spoon, and carry on till it’s really difficult to carry on mixing. Then cover the bowl, and leave it overnight.
- In the morning it will have risen and have a sponge-like appearance. You need to minimise what you do to it now so you don’t spoil this texture
- Heat the oven to 200 C (electric fan oven – adjust to your oven as needed). At this point I place a small metal dish in the bottom of the oven, to which I will add cold water when I put the rolls in, to create steam
- Once the oven is up to temperature, use a large spoon dipped in a mug of cold water to carefully spoon the mix onto a baking tray. You will need to dip the spoon again before each roll, and you should aim to disturb the mix as little as possible.
- Pour the water from the mug into the hot metal pan, put the rolls into the oven to bake.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, check and bake for a little longer if necessary.
These are great cut in half and filled for lunch, or eaten fresh with butter for breakfast, and they freeze well too. They are perfect for breakfast, for picnics, for sharing.
These were made mostly for our picnic on a long train journey the following day, but that’s another story.
Do give them a try – I know they look like rock cakes, but they do taste like very, very good rolls. And I have it on record from Malcolm that they’re now as good as Liz’s, which is praise indeed.
For added Danish-style hygge, just add a basket and a pretty cloth, some candles, and a Danish flag. And some good company.
(Special thanks to Liz for all the delicious rolls she’s baked us, and for the lessons).