Monday, 20 November 2006
Even after checking my calendar several times, I can hardly believe it to be true: It’s now been a year since I relocated from Germany to Australia. Maybe it seems so short because we managed to move from one transitional lodging to another for quite a while. Fortunately, three months ago, we settled down in our current and fourth flat since my arrival in Sydney. Finally, I feel at home, can stuff up every kitchen compartment with equipment and food supplies, and – most important – do not have to share my kitchen with someone else. That said, I wouldn’t mind sharing it with my boyfriend but he usually prefers to be cooked for and I do enjoy spoiling him a bit.
Anyway, with my first anniversary of living in Sydney in my mind, I decided to make something special for our weekend breakfast. During the week, my de-facto spouse (that’s what the Australian government officially calls us) is in working mood as soon as he has gotten up and doesn’t want to waste time for having breakfast – something I cannot really understand. With a rumbling stomach I do have problems concentrating. Thus, our weekend brunches are quite special to me and I like to take my time.
Back home in Germany, the Saturday morning tradition of my family calls for a huge variety of fresh bread rolls and pretzels bought at our favourite bakery. Here in Sydney, I always made sure to have fresh home-made bread but never got around to bake my own bread rolls. I did try to make pretzels though but the results were never really satisfying. This time, I was determined to try my hands on my very first bread rolls.
The original recipe comes from the German cooking forum www.chefkoch.de – an endless source of inspiration. These are the changes I made: To get a hearty taste, I increased the amount of spelt flour from 50 grams to 100 grams. Furthermore, I substituted a little of the water with milk. By the way, I have to confess that I forgot the 5 grams of fat the original recipe called for. Anyway, it didn’t do any wrong. Using my electric bread maker for kneading, I checked the consistency of the dough and added a little water but then had to add a little flour, too. So better scrape down the pan and wait until nearly the end of the kneading process before adding something. Most likely, the original amounts of flour and water/milk will be alright. During the rising process, I brushed the rolls twice with water and made some vapor in the oven at the beginning and in the middle of the baking time. That resulted in a very crispy crust – something I really miss in most of the baked goods you can buy in Sydney.
As much as I enjoy bread rolls, I also wanted to have something sweet and decided to try the recipe for orange brioche by Nicky of delicious:days. Those cute little beauties are not as buttery as brioche usually is but that’s something I really like about them. The recipe is pretty similar to the one I use for all types of yeast-based goods so I expected it to be easy to handle which it was. The only slight change I made was to increase the amount of sugar from 75 to 100 grams. I like to eat my brioche plain and therefore it should be a tad sweeter than usual.
Whenever I will have the time for a more elaborate brioche, I’m going to try the browned butter and vanilla bean brioche by Melissa from The Traveler’s Lunchbox. I really admire her for the endless patience that was needed in finding the one and only brioche recipe.
Hearty Bread Rolls
400g bread flour
100g spelt flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt, heaped
1 sachet dry active yeast
30 ml milk
Yields 12 bread rolls
Baking temperature: 240 degrees Celsius
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Put the ingredients into the pan of your electrical bread maker according to instructions. In my case, that means starting with the wet ingredients, then comes the salt, the flour and the sugar. The yeast comes last: Make a little well into the flour and place the yeast in it. This will prevent the yeast from touching the salt which would affect its rising ability. Choose the dough kneading program.
When the program has finished, remove the dough from the pan and divide it into twelve portions of equal weight. Form round bread rolls and put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let the rolls rest in a warm and draft-free spot until they have risen obviously. During this process, brush twice with water. Then take a knife and give a thorough cut in the middle. Dust with flour and let rise a little longer. Preheat the oven to 240 degrees Celsius.
Pop the rolls into the hot oven and immediately pour some water on the bottom of the oven. Make sure to close the door as quick as possible to keep the vapour inside. Repeat this after ten minutes of baking. Let bake for 8-10 more minutes. Reduce heat in case the top of the bread rolls browns too quickly.
The German cooking forum www.chefkoch.de