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flower rolls

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Flower rolls

We eat with our eyes, no question about it. Colours and shapes, the arrangement of food on the plate, matching garnish can make a dish more tasty. A lump of mash looks usually rather unappetising but sprinkle it with chopped parsley or fried garlic slices, arrange those bangers on top and drizzle the gravy in an elegant lake rather than ladling it roughly on top - result. Parents know it well, veg cut in quirky shapes will be more palatable to a kid than a random pile of carrots dumped on a plate. True, some kids will see through all the aesthetic efforts - I know, I've raised one like that - but it's worth a try.

No wonder all the so called 'food porn' sites are so popular.

This is a very good example. The bread dough is frankly nothing special, but moulding it into dainty rolls joined together into a flower shape makes it gorgeous - and delicious. Very crusty, golden in colour, tear-apart rolls sprinkled with seeds taste much better than an ordinary loaf baked in a tin. The original recipe (from Bakery Bits) has cumin in it which I'm not too keen on and sultanas which might not go down well if bacon stuffed into the roll. I replaced the cumin with caraway and black onion seeds but kept the salt glaze - very tricky this though if flower rolls to be baked in a clay cloche, the liquid will make the dough stick to the dish something awful.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • For the preferment:
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 200g strong white flour
  • 5g instant or 13g fresh yeast
  • 165g lukewarm water
  • For the dough:
  • 235g luke-warm water
  • 12g sea salt
  • 350g strong white flour
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds, roughly ground in pestle and mortar plus a pinch to sprinkle over the rolls
  • a pinch of black onion (nigella) seeds (optional)
  • For the glaze:
  • 7g salt
  • 20g lukewarm water

METHOD
Make the preferment: in a bowl combine your flour, yeast and water. Knead briefly – the dough will be quite firm.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 11 hours in the fridge or 4 hours in room temperature.

The next morning remove the preferment from the fridge, add the water and stir in – or mix in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment.

Add the flour and salt then mix the dough together using your hands or the standing mixer. Add the caraway seeds and knead/mix for 10-15 seconds at 20 minutes intervals for an hour. It should be smooth, stretchy and not sticky.

Prepare the Cloche or a round tin or pan about cm diameter by dusting the bottom with semolina. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Divide it into 10 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place one ball in the centre and then arrange the others tightly around it to make a flower pattern.

Shaping the flower rolls

Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and leave to prove for 45 minutes.

If using the cloche, put the lid in the oven for 30 minutes to heat it up, while the rolls are proving.

When they have doubled in size, mix the salt with water for the glaze and brush the tops of the rolls (if using cloche, be careful not to let any water trickle down the sides – it will make the rolls stick to the sides awfully!) and sprinkle with more caraway and black onion seeds.

Bake for 40 minutes under the heated cloche lid or in the open pan, until coloured deep golden.

Cool in the cloche/pan on a wire rack.


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