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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Straight from the freezer bread rolls

These rolls are frozen unbaked.  It means you can take them out of the freezer, defrost them, and bake them in a few minutes.  How easy is that!  You add an extra sachet of yeast when you make the dough so that enough yeast survives the freezing process to make sure the rolls rise properly when you bake them.

5½ cups plain flour

2 tsp salt

50g melted butter

2 sachets instant yeast

1½ cups luke warm milk

¼ cup honey

½ cup warm water – use more or less as necessary

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and instant yeast.  Make a well in the middle ready for the wet ingredients.

Combine the honey, milk and water in a small pan and heat it until it's luke warm but not hot.  If you are not sure about the temperature, hold your (perfectly clean) little finger in it and count to 10. If it’s uncomfortably hot by the time you get to 10, allow it to cool a little, if it doesn’t feel warm at all, heat it up some more.

Once you think it's the right temperature, add the melted butter to the liquid and pour it all into the dry ingredients. Mix with a large metal spoon until well combined then turn out onto a floured bench and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. I cheat and use my stand mixer to knead the dough for about 5 - 7 minutes.  You may need to dust your bench with flour every so often if you are kneading by hand to prevent the dough sticking.

Once the dough has been kneaded, put the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic film or slip the bowl into a plastic bag and allow to rise until doubled.  In a warm place this will take around an hour.  You can of course cheat  and use the microwave method to speed up the rising process.

Microwave method for raising dough:  Put the dough into a clean greased microwave  safe bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on low power for 1 minute, rest the dough for 10 minutes then repeat the process once more.  After the second rest the dough should have doubled in size.

Knead the risen dough lightly and divide it into rolls.  I usually make 12 but you can make 18 smaller rolls if you want.

Once the rolls are shaped to your liking, place them onto a sheet of non stick baking paper and use a serrated knife cut a diagonal slash along the top of each roll.  Allow them to rise again until nearly double their original size then freeze them.  When they're frozen they can be stored in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer until you need them.   They freeze well for up to one month, any longer and they don't rise very well when you bake them.

To bake the rolls, remove them from the freezer and allow them to defrost for roughly an hour. Don’t panic if they look a little deflated at this stage.  When the heat of the oven gets to them they'll spring up nicely.  Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the rolls on a greased or floured tray – you can glaze them with milk if you can be bothered and want a crisper crust.  Bake them for 15 - 20 minutes until they're well risen and lightly golden.

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