Puff Balls and Lemon Rolls


To mark UK National Bread Week 

 Knowing the simple fact that bread is made of flour, water, yeast and salt (and sometimes a bit of sugar)  makes me wonder whether we really need that extra 15 or so ingredients that often don't have a name, and their presence is  presented in numbers instead, in our bread loaves. They are emulsifiers, fats, preservatives, enzymes, anti- fungal spray and some of them make sure that bread stays fresh for longer, which is ok, I agree in certain situations, when you go away .. camping.. or fishing.. but to willingly consume all those numbers on a regular basis, I am not up for that. 
For those of you who would like to step into the world of home-made deliciousness, here is one of my favourite recipes for one dough that could be used to make few different bakes. I will demonstrate two today. Just make one dough, divide it in half, let one half rise just for awhile, another one for longer, shape them  differently and in no time, you will  have two (possibly more) amazing breads.

The Dough
10g yeast(use fresh if possible)
500g strong bread flour
10g salt
350ml tepid water

I always dissolve yeast in a glass of warm water before combining it with the flour and wait to show the first sign of it being alive. There are fast action varieties that do not require that stage, but I don't work with them very often, so please follow the instructions on the packaging if you are using it. 
Combine the flour and salt add the yeast mixture and work the dough by stretching it and pulling it together until it becomes elastic and smooth, or use a machine to do it. Now, flour your work surface lightly, place the dough and form it into a ball - fold each edge into a centre of the dough, press it down and rotate the ball as you go along - you can see how here
You can divide the dough into half here, if you decide to make two different kinds of bread.

Puff Balls

Preheat the oven to 240C
Preheat the oven stone or upturned baking tray. Bake one or two at the time.

Half of the dough enough to make 10 balls.
Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
Take it out of the bowl and cut into 10 equal pieces, each should weigh around 40 gr, round each piece into a small ball and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Make your work surface and your rolling pin clean of tiny pieces of dry dough or other particles that can get into the dough and stop it from puffing up. Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Now roll each piece into  a thin(1- 2 mm) disc.
Slide one or two onto baking tray and bake for  3 to 4 minutes, they should inflate quickly, take them out when golden brown and hollow. Cool them on a wire rack. Don't store them in a plastic bag as they will go soft. They are very crispy and a great companion to dips, soups and salads.. Keep your leftovers in an airtight container.

Lemon Rolls
Preheat the oven to 240C

Use the second half of the dough to make these fresh smelling lemon rolls. Before leaving the dough to rest knead zest of one lemon in. Shape it into a bowl and leave for one hour to rise. 
Take it out and cut into 4 -5 pieces, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Shape them into rolls, line a try with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Place the rolls next to each other, making a pleat in between to separate them. Cover with another towel and leave to prove for another hour.
When doubled in size, score the tops with sharp knife or razor blade, transfer them into a baking sheet,mist the inside of the oven with water spray and turn it down to 220C. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

These roll are partially good in summer with barbecued fish and salads.

Recipes adapted from Dough by Richard Bertinet

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