soft white baps
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Soft white baps are certainly out of fashion at the moment. Everyone wants crusty bread, not to mention sourdough, long fermentation and gluten free flour. But apparently the ultimate bacon butty should be in an old-fashioned bap and I can easily understand that even though I'm the dedicated consumer of eggs at breakfast, not bacon or sausages. Baps are comfortingly squidgy, sticking to the roof of your mouth a little, providing a soft floury pillow for the crispy bacon. Perfect housing for burgers as well – I’m telling you, stuff the little sesame buns. And if you shape them smaller, they will make perfect soft dinner rolls.
The dough takes a while to ferment and the sponge can easily be chilled in the fridge overnight. It also needs some fat; goose fat or lard or beef drippings are a classic, but butter, which is what I use, will function well too. The recipe is courtesy of Dan Lepard and his book, ‘Short and Sweet’.
Baking bread over two or more days has the advantage of giving the dough a longer fermentation and so a better flavour. But it also takes away the stress: when it comes to actual bread-making activity, I expect these baps require no more than half an hour's labour except it's stretched over in between proving, fermenting, rising, proving and baking. Every time I need to indicate the time a bread making recipe takes, I'm conflicted: is it the overall time? Is it the active prep? The longest maximum or the shortest minimum? That's why I usually go for more vague indications - and anyway, if you're deciding to read a bread recipe in depth, you most probably know what you're doing quite well.
soft white bapsServings: makes 9 bapsTime: 3 hours
- For the sponge:
- 1½ tbsp. cornflour
- 525g strong bread flour
- 15g fresh yeast or 2 tsp fast action
- 450g warm water
- For the dough:
- sponge, as above
- 50ml water
- 75ml milk
- 75g butter
- 2 tbsp. cornflour
- 275g strong bread flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 2½ tsp salt
1. Mix all the sponge ingredients to a sticky dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour.
2. Heat up the milk and water to the boiling point, mix in the butter and leave to cool down a bit. Mix the flours with the salt and sugar, add the sponge and the butter/milk mixture and stir to a dough, if possible in a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead for quite a long time until it comes away from the side of the bowl.
3. Leave to prove in the bowl for 15 mins, then turn out and divide into 9 pieces, about 160g each. Shape each piece into a ball, dip or roll in flour, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment (you’ll need at least two sheets), cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 40 – 60 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Bake the baps for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.