Bridge (or finger) rolls
Wholemeal. Oat bran. Wheat bran. Granary or malthouse. Dark rye. Plenty of seeds. Coarse and unbleached. That’s the type of bread we should choose, if eat bread we must.
But every now and then we get a craving for something fluffy and soft, rich and almost brioche-like. Something to go with a really velvety carrot or tomato soup, or with delicate pate, or lovely ham and a slice of cheese and some pickles.
This is the thing.They are called bridge rolls because they should rise and bake to stick to one another, side by side. In my experience they never really bridge – unless you place them on the tray REALLY close together, but still bake into beautiful finger rolls. You can make them a bit bigger if you like, or smaller than below and they’ll be dainty, soft, lovely and rewarding. They’ll happily make ham and cheese rolls. They can take on bacon and tomato. Fantastic lobster rolls, or failing that, some cooked fresh prawns, a little mayo, a dot of ketchup, a slice or two of cucumber. They’ll go with soup. With butter and jam. Made into a bread pudding in the unlikely situation where you have some going slightly stale.
It’s a recipe adapted from ‘Bread Machine Kitchen Handbook’ by Jennie Shapter.
- 200ml warm milk
- 450g white bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 100g butter, softened
- 2 eggs
Warm up the milk to body temperature (check with your finger). Place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, butter and eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment (or in a large bowl if using the hand held mixer, or in the bread machine pan). Add the milk and mix for about 10 minutes until the dough forms a ball that bounces off the sides of the bowl and doesn’t stick. Leave it to prove for an hour in a warm place until doubled in size.
Divide it into 12 pieces and shape into rolls. The best method is to flatten a piece of dough and roll it up tightly into a cigar shape. Place the rolls on baking sheets, four in a row, pretty close together. Place the trays in plastic bags inflated a bit so it doesn’t touch the dough (just blow into it and tie the end!) and leave for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. When they’ve almost doubled in size or at least puffed up considerably, put the trays in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until golden coloured. If they have stuck together, tear them apart – and have at least one warm.