Brewing beer is the thing du jour. Everyone seems to be dry-hopping, sparging and racking up at home these days. Micro-breweries spring up left, right and centre, some really successful and others that should have stuck to their day jobs.
Things are also brewing in my house.
Two kegs and some bottles live in the garage and Batch Three is sitting in the dining room, about to be siphoned off – I hope to be forgiven for completely muddling up the lingo. I have to rely on the Chief Brewer’s opinion of the end products as ale is completely not my tipple, so as it conditions, every time tasting is going on I excitedly wait for a verdict.
So far he’s sticking to his day job.
I have no doubt that Batch Three will be exceptionally decent ale. Batches One and Two though have been made freely available to me for bread making, whipping up fish batter or washing my hair in, should I be so inclined. So here we have – ale bread rolls.
Jailhouse rock – alehouse rolls! I couldn’t resist the pun, and clearly not could Dan Lepard, who’s the author of the recipe (from Short and Sweet) and its name presumably.
Definitely one of the all-time top 10 breads. The ale and the porridge base make them moist and they stay fresh for a good few days.
- 75g rolled oats
- 440ml ale or stout
- 25g butter
- 35g honey
- 450g strong bread flour
- 100g wholemeal or rye flour
- 15g fresh or 2 tsp fast action yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- a little oil for kneading
Toast the oats for about 15 minutes in the oven heated up to 200C/390F/gas 6 until golden – make sure you don’t burn them. if toasted too much they might give ever so slightly bitter flavour to the bread. Pour them into a saucepan, add the ale and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, add the butter and the honey and leave to cool down until just warm.
Mix the flours together with the yeast and salt in a bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, or in an ordinary bowl if using a hand mixer. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix into a soft dough. Turn out onto oiled surface (or drizzle a little oil into the bowl if in a standing mixer) and knead three times for a few minutes with ten minutes’ breaks between each kneading. Leave covered to prove for 30-45 minutes.
Divide the dough into eight to ten pieces, depending how large you want the rolls to be. Note – this is Sticky Central, make sure you have plenty of flour to dip your hands in. Shape each piece into a ball, place on a baking tray lined with parchment, cover with a towel or polythene bag and leave to rise for an hour. You can sprinkle some extra oats over each roll – or spray with some water and dip tops in a plateful of oats.
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/gas 4 and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a rack covered with a tea towel.