Today, in the middle of my studying, I suddenly realized there was the distinctive, cozy smell of freshly baked bread lingering up from the kitchen downstairs. Soon enough, I was brought a fresh roll to try.
I never manage to get my bread as fluffy - unless I use white flour, which in turn affects the taste and nutrition - so I asked my Dad for a basic recipe. Here's his own, trusted recipe, and I'll include a few variations for you below (pumpkin rolls is what he made today). :)
Dad's Basic Breakfast Rolls
- 2 c very warm water
- 11 g/0.4 oz active dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar, honey, or sweet syrup of any kind (this is just to "feed" the yeast)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 c rolled oats
- about 4 1/2 c whole grain bread flour (the amount needed will vary by the type of flour used - see below)
Cover the bowl - a tea towel will do, but you can use plastic wrap if you prefer - and put in a warm place (you can even place the bowl in a bigger bowl filled with warm water). Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 50 C (122 F). Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for a minute or two. Add more flour if necessary, i.e. if the dough seems to stick to the surface too much or is difficult to handle.
Roll into a log, divide into equal pieces, and place on a baking sheet (naturally, you can also form these into any shape you like). This should be enough for two baking sheets, depending on the size of your oven.
As soon as you are done with this step, place the first batch in the oven, and turn the temperature up to 225 C (440 F). As the oven heats up, the rolls will rise, and you save some time.
Place the rest of the rolls on another baking sheet, and cover. Naturally, in most ovens you could also bake these at the same time; however, the result never seems to be quite the same.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-25 minutes, until golden, and cover with a tea towel as soon as you remove them from the oven. Repeat with the other batch, but note that you will need a shorter baking time (about 15 minutes), as the oven is already warm. ;)
Three tips for success...
- Make sure the water is warm enough - much warmer than lukewarm is needed to activate dry yeast. It should be about 42 C (108 F). However, do not exaggerate, as it might kill the yeast.
- Do not add too much flour. This is a typical reason why rolls or bread become too hard. A very soft dough, just firm enough to handle, produces soft, fluffy rolls.
- The reason for using the oven to aid in rising the first batch is to cut the time the other batch rises. If you wait for both to rise first and then bake them separately, the second batch rises too long and might "sink" in the oven.
- Replace half of the liquid with pumpkin puree or applesauce. Make sure this is the same (very warm) temperature as the water! Do not attempt to replace more than half of the liquid, as this will make the dough too heavy and it might not rise.
- Add a cup of grated apple, carrot or zucchini to the dough.
- Mix in your leftover oatmeal, mashed potato, or even baked sweet potato or roasted squash.
- Throw in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax, or any other seeds or nuts you have on hand.
- Instead of rolled oats, use oatbran, buckwheat, barley, some wheat germ or even quinoa.
- Add your leftover juice pulp into the dough. My dad frequently uses blueberries (bilberries), aronia, or apple.
- If you're feeling adventurous, spice up the dough with some fresh herbs, chopped mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, chopped bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes or olives.
- These are just some ideas - use your imagination and create your own. ;)
Now I can't wait to wake up and enjoy another roll with jam and almond butter for breakfast.
Good night! :)
PS. Apologies for any typing errors in advance. My brain - or eyes?! - really don't quite work as well in the evening as they do in the morning. ;)