People usually don’t attempt bread because they are worried about fucking up the yeast-and-water bit at the start, or they can’t be bothered with the kneading and waiting around. Bread is considered ‘too hard.’ Therefore the following recipe is great for first-timers, as you are starting off gently, in bread-roll form, and just mixing the yeast in with the flour. Bread makes a fabulous weekend project – wake up at 11, mix and knead the dough, leave to sit, and suddenly an hour will have passed while you are dicking round on Facebook. Shape the dough into buns, leave to sit while the oven heats up, pop them in, and then sit back and bask in the glow of your flatmates’ quiet awe. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s Feast and I make it lots.
Yes, you will have to go out and buy some yeast – it comes in little red boxes and you can get it at Pak’n’Save – but on the whole these babies are pretty economic and should definitely be a part of any student cook’s repertoire.
Easy Bread Rolls
500g plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 sachet Edmonds yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1⁄2 cups milk
Put the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar into a laaaarge mixing bowl. If it is big enough you can knead the dough inside it which takes out a considerable amount of mess. In a saucepan or the microwave (35 seconds on high usually does it) gently warm the milk and butter together until the butter starts to melt. You don’t want the milk to be the slightest bit hot, just vaguely warm. This is really the only tricky bit, but if it overheats, pop in a few ice cubes to quickly drop the temperature. Pour the buttery milk into the flour and using your hands, mix together. I’m telling you now, it will be pretty sloppy. Knead it either in the bowl or on a flat, floured surface. Pull the dough towards you and then flatten it with the heels of your palms, for ten minutes or until it forms a solid, smooth ball. Wash and dry your bowl, then grease it with some butter. Put the ball of dough back in, turning it round so that all sides are slightly buttered. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place (often hard to find in a Wellington flat), for about an hour. After this time it will have noticeably grown. Punch the air out of the dough (a surprisingly pleasing task) and shape it into small buns, placing them on a baking paper lined tray. Cover with a tea-towel and leave to sit for about 20-25 mins, and heat up the oven to 220C. Bake for 15 minutes, by which time they should be smelling amazing. Eat, gratifyingly, with lots of butter.
If you liked this, let me know, because there’s a lot more where that came from. And you may as well get your money’s worth out of your box of yeast…