I have been baking a lot of bread these days, A LOT. If there is anything that I love the most when it comes to baking, that's making and baking bread ?. All that kneading, and the results. I love baking bread so much that I could actually become a baker any day. I'm hooked to bread rolls lately so I make a loaf or two but it's a must that a skillet full with bread rolls are there too.
Making and baking bread is such a rewarding thing for me. It must be because it brings up so many nice and really happy childhood memories.
Oh, I remember so well how happy I was when my grandmothers (both such great cooks) were making bread, cakes, pancakes and doughnuts. The best ones ever.
I do remember my grandma Ecaterina (on my mum's side) making doughnuts. That dough! It was so sticky and appeared to me to be such a messy job to do. I always wondered, how she was going to deal with all that messy sticky and not so easy to handle dough? Not only that, but were the doughnuts going to ever materialise? All I remember was that I wanted them so badly! I was drooling all over at the thought of these doughnuts but that dough didn't look like they would ever get on a plate ready to serve 😉
They always did! Somehow, she managed every single time and she managed so well!! The outcome was always something so tasty and so amazing. She was making by far the best flat pan-fried ‘donuts’ (go-nuts ? rather) in the whole wide world.
Always just as I liked them, not too sweet, crispy on the outside, and puffy and soft inside. Puffection!
Oh, and the flavours … she only knew how to make those. The bread she was making, the Easter breads, both cozonac and pasca, the sarmale ...oh, I am drooling.
To this day (15 years since she changed her address and joined the heavens) she is still feeding my inspiration. Every time I think of her, what an amazing human being she was. ❤️ I love you grandma, I always will and I will always miss you so much.
I did manage to get carried away a little here (always when I am thinking of my beloved grandma) but that was pretty easy since all these memories of doughnuts and bread making is just something else.
They (my both grannies) used to make the bread in a specially built clay oven. The bread, as well as Easter bread, was baked with proper wood and it always appeared to me almost as a whole ritual.
Andddddd .... the smell, that smell of baking bread was inundating the whole house and the huge yard areas. Truly amazing!
I'm convinced you know what I'm talking about, I am so sure you have some childhood memories that you cherish and tell your kids and/or grandchildren about. Let me know too. I'd love to hear those priceless stories or memories.
Bread making is not hard....
It is unfortunate that many people are put off by baking own bread believing that it is a hard thing to do or it's not going to come out well. It's not true and totally wrong!
It's only a matter of giving it a try, an attempt or two and the expert within will begin to really show off.
The outcome will be a beautiful homemade loaf of bread or cute little bread rolls (like these ones) that contain only what you have added. No nasty colourants and additives. Sadly nowadays, despite a huge availability of all types of bread, much of the ‘healthy’ market ones contain plenty of these.
Nothing really compares with a homemade loaf of bread, or, can it, what do you think?!
It is that moment of realisation and pride that kicks in after making it and you'll be a convert who will rarely or never buy bread again. Just give it a try. You can do it!
Beside all the health benefits, bread making has a true sense of reward but also has great therapeutical benefits.
I'm sure not everyone feels exactly the same but after you give it a go you might get close.
I'm hoping I've convinced you and if I didn't, I hope I've made you think about the possibility of giving it a try 😉
There are so many things you can add to your bread. Things like seeds, olives, dry herbs, turmeric, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, ham, so many flavours and even colours if you wish to be fancy. Just use your creativity.
Not to mention that there are so many flour types you can use, try and mix. White, wholemeal, spelt, stoneground, malted, rye, gluten free and many more.
Storing the bread
Although we try to cut on bread consumption, being 4 people with two fast growing teenagers we still go through quite a bit.
The way I store the bread is very easy. I make it and then allow it to cool completely for for a good few hours or over night. It has to be on a cooling rack covered with nice clean kitchen towels. I slice it the perfect thickness to fit our toaster, put it in freezer bags and freeze it.
Every time we need a slice, we take it out of the freezer and toast it. It tastes as nice and fresh as if it has just come out of the oven, mmmm, yummy.
Freezing it almost straight away helps it maintain its freshness and flavours.
How long can I freeze the bread for?
It can be frozen for 1 month or even longer - I can assure you however, it will not last that long 😉
Let's get some kneading done then. Here it comes, the recipe for these comforting bread rolls.
Bread rolls with olives, chia seeds and crushed black pepper
- 1 kg Graham flour or wholemeal
- 300 g white flour I used organic strong
- 200 g spelt flour
- 30 g fresh yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp sea salt heaped
- 1.2 l water lukewarm
- 150 ml olive oil
- 100 g black olives chopped roughly
- 20 g poppy seeds to sprinkle over
- 3 tsp Black pepper plus extra to sprinkle on top (optional)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds mixed
- Mix all flour into a pretty large bowl, add the salt, pepper, the chopped olives and the chia seeds. Make a well in the middle.
- Into a mug, add the sugar and the yeast and mix with 150-180ml lukewarm water. This water is part of the 1200ml water needed for this recipe. Mix well until the sugar and yeast have dissolved. Pour this mixture into the well and allow it to bubble up.
- Once the yeast has nicely bubbled up, start adding more lukewarm water gradually and start mixing by hand. You may use a freestanding mixer (the bread making paddle) or a wooden spoon to begin with until it forms into a soft dough. I always use my hand and I keep dough in the bowl. It is easier to contain the water and later the oil when added.
- Start kneading the dough by hand either in the bowl or on a clean and lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10-12 minutes until the dough begins to no longer stick to the hand. Add the oil and continue to knead for a little longer.
- When finished place the dough into a clean bowl shaped into a large ball shape and cover.
- Best practice is to cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to double in size. The best place is a warm one. A sunny corner of your window sill. Allow it to rest and rise for about 40-45 mins until it doubles in size. If it’s not warm enough it will take longer to rise.
- When dough has doubled in size, split the dough into two exact amounts. Shape the dough into desired size balls and place into the oiled dishes. Allow these to rise again - place in a warm place. You may or may not cover. It will take approximately 15-20 minutes. At this stage, preheat the oven at 180C/350F.
- When risen, egg wash these and sprinkle the sesame and poppy seeds over. Carefully place these into the middle of the oven and bake at 180C/fan assisted or 190C for approx 30 min.
- They are ready when they turn nice and golden brown. I suggest you do the skewer test and if it comes out clean, they're done and ready to come out.
- When ready take out of the oven and about 4 min later take out of the tin and cool on a wire rack. This is to avoid sweating and avoid the buns becoming all wet.
- Allow to cool completely before serving. I leave these out on the rack covered with a kitchen towel for a good 4-5h before cutting and freezing them.