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Morning Rolls

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Morning rolls

I’m not a morning person. I used to be a real beast first thing, just grunting at whoever had the misfortune to cross my path, showering and putting my face on in half-dark as I couldn’t stand the light, properly waking up only in the office – that’s after 40 minute train journey and 20 minute walk.

I could sleep for England – once I famously overslept for an appointment at 4 in the afternoon, having nothing on prior to it I just slept on and on. Sunday morning simply did not exist as I’d rise and shine well post meridiem. I’d nod off instantly on a flight, train and in the car, thankfully not while driving.

I got better – I guess in a way sleeping is missing out on living and I must have gradually seen that – but I still value my Sunday morning shut-eye. So the idea of Sunday morning bread baking does not go down well with me, unless we’re thinking lunch.

But if you are a morning person and rise on Sundays or any other day of course - bright eyed and bushy tailed – perfect rolls for breakfast. Plan ahead as the sponge needs to prove overnight or up to 18 hours and then you might want to either chill the dough to shape rolls in the morning, or even chill the shaped rolls. Either way, bring it back to room temperature before baking.

The recipe is a combined effort of Andrew Whitley’s (‘Bread Matters’) and mine in the form of adding honey and replacing water with beer.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • For the sponge:
  • 5g fresh yeast
  • 130g lukewarm water
  • 50g stoneground wholemeal flour
  • 100g strong white flour
  • For the dough:
  • 350g strong white flour
  • 100g stoneground wholemeal flour
  • 5g salt
  • 270g ale or stout, at room temperature
  • 15g butter
  • 1 tbsp honey

METHOD
Prepare the overnight sponge: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Cover with cling film and leave in ambient temperature for 12-18 hours. It should expand considerably and almost collapsed again.

Add the sponge to all the dough ingredients and mix well. Knead by hand or in a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until the dough is silky and stretchy, doesn’t stick to your hands or bounces off the sides of the mixer. Cover and leave to prove for 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight.Sponge and dough

Turn the dough out on a floured surface trying not to deflate it. Divide into 12 pieces, mould each one tightly into a ball by rolling it between your cupped hands. Place the rolls on baking sheets lined with parchment, at least 4cm apart.

Shaping morning rolls

Cover loosely with a polythene bag and leave to rise for an hour, until they have risen at least by half (or chill in the fridge overnight – in which case remove from fridge at least an hour before baking).

Bake in an oven preheated to 230C/450F/gas 8 for 5 minutes and for further 12-15 minutes with the oven down to 210C/400F/ gas 7. Cool on a wire rack.

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