3 - 4 HOURS
Soft bread rolls are a common bread really in the UK. Soft rolls or baps are readily available, I remember having a supermarket baked bread roll for my lunch everyday during my school years.
Following an artisan recipe and making them at home is extremely rewarding- and delicious.
The trick to making quality soft bread rolls is to be quick to get the dough mixed, divided and moulded. Being fast ensures you get a soft, close knit crumb and a great spring in the oven.
How to make soft bread rolls video recipe
560g White bread flour
11g Fresh yeast (5g dried yeast)
6g Vegetable oil
Method to make soft rolls
Knead into a dough
Once dissolved, add the remaining ingredients and using a dough scraper in a clockwise motion combine into a dough mass. After about a minute the dough will start to form so turn it out of the bowl and onto a workbench. Slow knead with a stretching action for 2-3 minutes, followed by 6-8 minutes of kneading as intense as you can.
In a dough mixer:
Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix on a low speed for 3 minutes then increase the speed to a fast knead for 5 minutes.
Rest the dough on a lightly floured area of the work surface for 5 minutes while you line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Divide into equal pieces
Divide into 100g pieces and line up in two rows on the workbench.
Shape into rounds
Starting with the first one that was divided, shape into balls. Place the dough piece between the table and the palm of your hand and apply pressure using a circular motion, using your fingers more, whilst raising your hand up to cup the dough piece. Place the rolls on the baking sheet at equal distances from each other 3 x 3.
Flatten the rolls
To encourage batching it's a good idea to flatten the rolls with a rolling pin or with your knuckle.
Cover loosely with a bag (don't let it touch the dough pieces) and proof in a warm place for 2-3 hours, spraying with water occasionally to prevent the rolls from drying out. Preheat the oven with a baking stone to 250C (480F).
Test if they are ready
Once they are nicely batched together poke the dough using a finger. If a dent remains after 3 seconds, the soft rolls are ready, if it springs straight back up, give them a little longer.
Bake the rolls quickly!
Put in the oven and drop the temperature to 230C (450F), turn the top and bottom heat on if your oven allows. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until a golden colour is achieved. If you do not have a top heat oven setting, use the grill setting to brown the tops of the baps. After 8 minutes, open the oven door quickly to remove the steam.
Remove, bang and cool
Remove from the oven and give the tray a bang on the table. The bang helps to prevent the rolls from collapsing. Cool for 1-2 hours.
Using dried yeast
If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.
Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F) - no higher! Add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of water from the recipe.
Top tips for soft bread rolls
Always preheat the oven with only bottom heat if your oven allows, this helps to get the stone thoroughly hot.
Less is better when it comes to moulding the rolls. More shaping usually creates a more uneven roll. Don’t worry about them being perfect rounds, after proofing you will hardly notice.
To make rolls soft they should be baked quickly to retain moisture. These rolls should be golden within 15 minutes. Switch to using the broiler midway through the bake if you have issues.