Saturdays in our house were set aside for bread baking, while I went off to dance classes in the morning my Dad would start making his dough for a variety of different loaves. He seemed to have such a knack at kneading and shaping the loaves, whether it was perfectly formed rolls for my packed lunches or delicious German plaited bread.
I used to love coming back home at lunchtime as the bread was ready to come out of the oven. The kitchen would be filled with this amazing smell of freshly baked bread and the table would slowly fill up with all the baking that had been carried out to see us through for another couple of weeks.
I never really took the opportunity to learn how to bake bread while I was at home and it is only now in later years that I’ve thought this is something I would like to be able to do. Sadly, my Dad is too old to show me the way, so I thought I would experiment with some of our favourite family recipes and see if I could reproduce a cinnamon loaf and Ivy’s butterhorn rolls.
My next challenge was to also see if I would be able to make bread in the unknown entity of an Aga. While I can handle using it for dinner, which is really a successful guessing game, bread baking was no doubt going to be a totally different experience.
The weekend I picked to carry out the baking my parents popped around to supervise! We had fun as I combined the ingredients and made my attempts to create these perfectly formed, delicate crescent shaped rolls. I was able to produce a batch of nice looking rolls, but where I think I might have gone wrong was to set aside one of the trays to prove on top of some loaf tins on the Aga.
Possibly the extra heat conduction was too much and although they rose beautifully at the time, they also dropped during baking. The Aga always seems to provide learning opportunities and I suppose it comes down to practice makes perfect, or perhaps another excuse to get the apron on and make more bread.
So, I won’t necessarily be joining the GBBO next year for my bread baking efforts, but it was still rewarding to have made your own bread from scratch rather than using a bread making machine or popping down to the supermarket to buy it.
I’ve shared the Ivy butterhorn recipe if any of you would like to try it and if you do, please share your pictures with us.
- 25g fresh yeast
- 100g caster sugar
- 5g salt
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 285 ml milk
- 595-665g plain flour
- 3 medium eggs beaten well
- melted unsalted butter for brushing the rolls
- In a bowl proof the yeast with one teaspoon of sugar in 60ml of warm water for 10 minutes or until it is foamy.
- In the large bowl of the electric mixer combine the remaining sugar, salt and oil, add the milk scalded and stir in 595g of the flour, stirring to combine the mixture well.
- Add the yeast mixture and the eggs and with the dough hook beat in enough of the remaining 70g of flour to make a soft, sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl turning it to coat it with the oil and let it rise covered with a plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours, or until it is double in size.
- Punch down the dough, on a floured surface divide into 4 equal parts, and roll each part into a ball.
- Working with 1 ball at a time and keeping the remaining balls covered with a kitchen towel, roll the balls on a floured surface into 45cm circles, cut each circle into 8 wedges, and, beginning with the wide ends, roll up the edges.
- Arrange the rolls, points down 5cm apart on ungreased baking sheets and let them rise, covered loosely, in a warm place for one hour, or until they are double in size.
- Brush the rolls lightly with the butter and bake them in the middle of a pre heated oven at 190C or 375F for 12-15 minutes, or until they are pale golden.
- Transfer the rolls to racks and let them cool.