Today I made rolls to go with our pumpkin soup. I have been buying big, whole pumpkins to avoid the plastic wrap they stick on pumpkin pieces at the green grocer's. I HATE chopping up big, hard pumpkins, so I take them outside and throw them on the courtyard paving stones as hard as I can. That cracks them into a few pieces and makes them easy to chop up. And it's SO much fun.
Following Gretchen Joanna's encouraging comments yesterday, I made these rolls with half white breadflour, half wholemeal organic stoneground. Perfect! Chewy goodness, with that fine 'crumb' of truly excellent bread. I am still inordinately excited about my discovery of breadflour, and will be making bread continuously for days, and we will all get tremendously fat.
So easy - exactly the same as the bread dough. The secret is in the cooking.
We make about five pizzas from the basic dough recipe. This is just enough for our hungry family of six. If we have extras I double the recipe, and we eat any leftovers for lunch the next day.
I shape each pizza base in the air after I have stretched it out a bit on the bench. It really is the easiest way. But I don't toss them in the air. I'm not that co-ordinated. Then I put the bases on squares of baking paper sprinkled with semolina to stop them sticking.
Heat oven to 200C while the children make an enormous mess covering the pizza bases with toppings.
Slide pizzas off the bench onto baking trays on their paper squares (baking trays held at bench level, slide pizza on. You will slide them off onto a board when they are cooked. This means you can cook more pizzas than you have baking trays).
Now I have a setting on my oven which is fan forced, with a heating element above and below. This enormous blast of heat, plus extra heat above and below, really crisps the base and grills the topping in about 15 mins. In an oven without this setting you may need to shift the pizzas from the bottom shelf to the top during cooking, to make sure the base is thoroughly cooked. Aim for golden brown base for optimum crispiness. Turn up the oven to 210C if you don't have a fan forced setting.
In the summer we put the pizzas on pizza stones on the barbecue, put the lid down and cook for 10 minutes or so for a really crispy crust. This is a brilliant way to cook them perfectly. It's also useful to use the baking paper squares on the pizza stones to stop the dough sticking and slide them on and off easily.
This is the recipe I use for fruit buns, hot cross buns, fruit loaf, or leaving out the spices and fruit, pain au chocolat or fruit danishes.
Make the basic bread dough with white flour. Add two tablespoons sugar, two teaspoons of cinnamon and two handfuls of dried fruit to the dry ingredients.
Replace the glug of oil with a beaten egg. Replace the two cups of water with two cups warm milk.
Glaze the shaped rolls with melted butter or beaten egg.
Pain au chocolat: Small squares of sweet dough. Two squares chocolate in the centre. Fold dough across chocolate. Glaze with butter, sprinkle with sugar.
Fruit Danishes: Stewed fruit in place of the chocolate.
How could breakfast get better?
Does anyone have other simple variations on their basic bread dough recipe?
Tired, but determinedly cheerful mother of four. One grown up son (The Boy), one grown up daughter (The Girl), two girls at home, Rosy (17) and Posy (13). Trying to buy a little less, make a little more, live a little lighter, not mess up the children too much.. and now extra frugal adventures with Partner Paul..