By: Danya Weiner
In the past few weeks I've gotten into the habit of making homemade bread rolls and freezing them. I warm them up for breakfast, I make sandwiches for the kids to take to school, or as an afternoon snack. This recipe for the perfect bread rolls comes from my sister-in-law, Hani.
Hani is 24 years old. She has nine brothers and sisters. She comes from a religious family and is a mother now to a 9-month old baby. Theoretically, we don't have much in common and most probably wouldn’t have been friends, but that’s only in theory. In actuality, Hani is one of the most sincere and intelligent people I have met. She has an incredible ability to expose her most intimate self, which in itself is the key to creating a genuine and personal friendship. During the weekends that we spend together we dive deep into talks about relationships, kids, religion, family and food of course!
A few weeks ago, Hani sent me an email with a recipe she received from her sister who got it from her neighbor and suggested I post it on the blog. It took me awhile to make the recipe, because on paper, it didn't make such an impression on me. Once I finally got down to making the recipe, one Friday morning, I was surprised at how easy they were to make, but was still a bit skeptical of how they were going to taste. Oded and the kids came home just as they were finished baking, and they literally couldn't put them down. Since then, I've been making them once a week, and I can rightfully say this is one of the best recipes I've come by in quite some time.
So what's so special about these bread rolls?
Preparation- they are so easy to make that even those who are afraid of working with yeast will find that there is nothing about this recipe that won't work.
Texture- these rolls are somewhere in between a bread roll, a pita and an English muffin. They are soft and a bit sweet with a nice crisp outer layer.
Storage- the rolls heat up really nice after being stored in the freezer. I like to cut them in half and put them is the toaster with a little butter and salt.
Some tips before getting started:
Hani suggested that I could replace the all-purpose flour with 70% whole wheat flour and 30% all-purpose flour. I tried it with 50% Rye flour and 50% all-purpose flour and they came out a little too flat.
There is nothing pretty about working with this dough. Its messy, sticky and drips everywhere. Make sure to prep your work space accordingly.
There is no oil or butter in this recipe- it's not a mistake! But I do like to drizzle a bit of olive oil over the bread rolls before I bake them, giving them the nice crisp outer layer.
You can top the bread rolls with any topping of your choice, or leave them plain. We used some sea salt, poppy, zaatar, and sesame seeds. Just put a little sprinkle of your topping of choice onto the rolls before baking.
The rolls can be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to two months.
Ingredients for about 30 rolls:
2 pounds/1 kilo all-purpose flour
2½ tablespoons instant dried yeast
1 cup instant oatmeal
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups water
In a very large bowl, mix together the flour and yeast. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix until the ingredients are combined. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
Cover the bowl with a plastic bag (the kind you get from a super market) and allow to rise for about an hour. The dough will be spilling over the bowl at this point.
Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wet your hands with water, and grab a handful of the dough and simply place it onto the baking sheet. Continue placing the dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches/5 cm. apart.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the rolls are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before taking off of the parchment paper.