Updated: Jan 26, 2020
Whenever I feel homesick I end up baking a batch of soft breakfast rolls. The taste of these rolls brings fond memories of childhood. We called these rolls ‘Duze Buly’ which basically means ‘Big Rolls'. Some 20 years ago in my hometown there were few great bakeries which in addition to lovely breads also sold two types of rolls which were called - a 'small roll' and a 'big roll' (I know .. - very fancy and catchy marketing?!:).
Small rolls had shiny skin and were crispy - similar to Easy Breakfast Rolls we posted few weeks ago. Big rolls had soft, brown skin and airy centre but they were far from light. The centre was airy but in the same time dense and substantial. Perfect balance between airy and firm texture. One Big Roll, a piece of Polish kielbasa (sausage) and pickled cucumber was our usual picnic fix. You can buy these rolls nowadays in Polish bakeries but it’s hard to find the roll which will taste like they used to taste. Hence, I decided to start baking these rolls myself.
These rolls are worth your baking time! Not only you get airy and soft rolls which go well with sweet or savoury (and especially with savoury) meals but also keep fresh for up to 3 days and then become a perfect ingredient to transform into homemade bread crumbs.
Ok, enough waffle. Our recipe for these rolls is light in flour and fairly heavy in liquid to flour ratio. Little bit of sunflower or canola oil goes a long way in terms of keeping rolls fresh for longer. For a good bake here you need to watch consistency of the dough and follow the recipe.
Kneading in this recipe means simply patting the dough while remembering to turn the bowl few times to aerate the dough from each side. After 15 minutes of kneading the dough should pull away from your hand but will be still sticky. It will leave marks on your hand. Hence, best is to work with lightly floured hands or you may opt to apply some sunflower oil onto your hands before transferring the dough for the 1st rest and when forming/folding rolls. The dough will go through 1 rest (1hr) during which it should double in size. After the first rest there is no need to knead the dough - all that is needed here is few gentle pats to bring the dough back to shape (15-30 seconds). You will form round shape, then cut it in 4 and again each part in half - to form 8 triangles. Forming rolls here is simply folding the dough to create roll shape, bringing uneven parts to the bottom of the roll. Remember to place the roll on the baking tray seamed side down.
Formed rolls will go through 2 rests (30min+15min) - the rolls will double in size. Each roll is sprinkled with flour (this happens before 2nd rest) and gets characteristic line dividing it into half (happens after 2nd rest, use chopstick or fork handle). You will need to place a tray of ice-cold water (or tray filled with ice cubes) at the bottom of your oven (steam helps to form airy texture and firm skin) and bake at 230C for 15 minutes.
Added bonus - rolls from this recipe keep fresh for up to 3 days when stored in airtight container. If you have any leftover rolls you will see that rolls just dry out (don’t go mouldy or any other nonsense that happens with ‘pumped up’ store-bought rolls) making them a perfect ingredient to transform into homemade bread crumbs (read Hints section below).
All in all - soft and airy rolls - perfect to accompany sweet or savoury meal.
Polish Breakfast Rolls
Yield: 8 rolls
Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (20min prep + rest and baking time)
Tin: Large baking tray + 2nd tray for ice-cold water (or tray filled with ice cubes)
- 2 and 2/3 cups (400g) all-purpose flour + 1-2 Tbsps (10g-20g) for dusting and shaping
- 1and 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 pack (7g) active dry yeast or 25g fresh bulk dry yeast
- 1 flat teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) canola or sunflower oil
- 1/5 cup (50ml) full-fat milk
- 4/5 cup + 1Tbsp (215ml) warm water (38C - 40C)
*cup = 250ml cup
1. Proof the yeast: In a small pot mix milk with sugar. Warm up the mixture to 38C, make sure sugar is fully dissolved. Add yeast to the mixture and give it a stir. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of flour on top (no need to stir), cover with cling film or dry kitchen towel and move to the warm place. After 15 minutes you should see the mixture foaming/bubbling up. If you don’t - you will need to repeat the step.
2. Prepare the dough: In your main bowl mix flour (400g) with salt, add yeast mixture (from Step 1), warm water and sunflower oil. If you work by hand - knead the dough for 15 minutes until it becomes elastic and pulls away from your hand. Remember to turn the bowl every so often to aerate the dough from every side. If after 8 minutes the dough is still too loose you have up to 2 Tablespoons of flour to add (add 1 Tablespoon at a time). The dough should be a little bit sticky but should pull away easily (leaving some marks on your hands). If you add too much flour the rolls will be hard. Once you have achieved the consistency knead for another 3-5 minutes. If you work with stand mixer - use dough hook and mix on medium speed for 12-15 minutes. If after 10 minutes the dough still looks loose you have up to 2 Tablespoons to add (1 at a time). Once ready, prepare second large bowl, lightly brush with oil, place the dough in it and sprinkle the top with 1 Tablespoon flour. Cover tightly with cling film or dry kitchen towel and move to warm place for 1 hour (1st rest). The dough should at least double in size.
3. Shape the rolls: After the dough doubles in size knead it for few seconds and then transfer onto lightly floured work surface. Form circle shape and cut into 8 triangles. Shape each triangle into a roll - the dough will still be on a sticky side but don’t add any more flour. Lightly flour your hands and fold the rolls moving uneven pieces onto the bottom. Line baking tray with parchment paper and transfer rolls (seamed side down). Place max 6 rolls on large baking tray (rolls will puff up so make sure you are leaving enough space in-between). Sift 1/2 Tablespoon of flour on top of rolls, cover with cling film or dry kitchen towel and move to the warm place for 30 minutes (2nd rest). The rolls should double in size. After that time using chopstick or fork handle make a line halfway through the roll - you want to press it deep, almost all the way to the bottom of the roll (you can lightly flour chopstick to prevent from sticking). Cover rolls again for 15 minutes (3rd and last rise). In that time preheat oven to 230C. Prepare additional deep tray and fill with ice cold water.
4. Bake: Place tray with ice cold water at the bottom of the oven, then place tray with rolls on the middle rack and bake at 230C for 15 minutes until rolls are light golden in colour. Once baked cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray then transfer to the cooling rack.
1. Bread Crumbs - after 3 days leave rolls to dry out and then grate into bread crumbs. The hint here is to remember to store your crumbs in airtight container with 2 laurel leaves. The leaves will keep fresh fragrant and right moisture so that your bread crumbs won’t become damp and mouldy.