Image by Holly Bell
I've not been well. Nothing quantifiable, just feeling tired all the time, run down; spent.
So I made bread rolls. That's what works for me. Regular over the counter remedies never quite hit the spot. There's something therapeutic about all the kneading and cutting and forming of rolls. It makes me feel wholesome. The end result is of course the true therapy. A springy poppy seed studded roll with the nuttiness of spelt and the depth of rye. This is a roll to feel good about. It'll cleanse from the inside out. I enjoyed mine with my new favourite filling; houmous, grated carrot, a splash of orange juice and pomegranate seeds. Positively medicinal.
Makes 16 rolls though depends on how large you make them.
- 300g rye flour
- 400g white spelt flour, plus extra for
- 20g poppy seeds
- 10g salt
- 14g fast action dried yeast
- 30mls olive oil, plus extra for kneading
Mix together the two flours, poppy seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Take 450mls lukewarm tap water and mix in the oil then add to the flour gradually, mixing with a metal spoon as you go until you have what is often called 'a shaggy mess' on your hands. Word of warning; the type of flour you use (brand, age etc) affects how much water will be absorbed so you may need all of it or you may need more. I know these kind of instructions in recipes are annoying, but I promise you that you'll know if there's not enough as there will be areas of flour that are still dry and unable to mix in. You are looking for a soft, shaggy mess of a dough. Cover the dough in the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 5 minutes. (This really helps reduce the amount of kneading later).
After 5 minutes take a little olive oil and grease the work surface and your hands. Tip the dough onto the work surface and knead until elastic and starting to feel smooth. This takes about 10 minutes by hand and 3 - 4 using a dough hook with a stand mixer. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature to prove until the dough has doubled in size. Beware that spelt flour proves faster than regular strong white flour so keep an eye on it. The warmer the environment the faster the prove; so this could take as little as 25 minutes.
Sprinkle a couple of baking trays with spelt flour. Knock the dough back once it's doubled by tipping onto a work surface and pressing the air out of it with your hands. Cut the dough into 16 even sized pieces (either weigh the dough and divide by 16 or cut the dough in half, then half again, then each piece into quarters). Roll the dough into balls using well floured hands and place onto the baking tray about 1cm apart. Repeat until all the dough is used up, sprinkle with flour and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove until they are doubled in size (the rolls will be touching once proved) and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/Gas Mark 7 for about 15 minutes until well risen, golden brown and smelling divine. Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack. Then tear the rolls apart for that very professional baker look and eat with lots of salted butter and fillings of your choice. Or freeze. They freeze really well for up to a month. Make sure you use freezer bags and think about slicing them pre freezing so you can make simply filled packed lunches with the frozen rolls. (Don't put salad stuff next to frozen bread as it goes all mushy).
NB: If you don't have spelt flour or can't find it then use strong white flour instead. The proving will take a little longer though. I would advise against using 100% rye flour as the loaf will be very dense. Poppy seeds can be left out if you wish or substituted with something else - other seeds, fresh rosemary, nuts, finely chopped sundried tomatoes etc).
Holly blogs at Recipes from a Normal Mum
Her first book is out now, also called Recipes from a Normal Mum