I decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show (GBBS for short) and write about it. Don’t know much about GBBS? No worries. Check out my first blog in this series to learn more about the show and about why I decided to do this, for better or for worse (so far, mostly worse).
I’ve reached bread week and I’m pretty damn excited about it, because, like Oprah, I. Love.Bread. (Yeah, I totally used that video in last week’s blog but I’m not even embarrassed to share it again, because I love it that much.)
I’ll share it in every single bread week blog if I have to and I’ll probably have to, because I just love bread that darn much. (P.S. I just Googled “I love bread” because, well, I do things like that, and this bizarre/possibly amazing video came up. I can’t tell if it’s brilliant or the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. But it’s one or the other, I’m sure of it.)
Anyway, now that that song’s stuck in my head (and possibly yours) I’ll get to the point: this week’s challenge was rye bread rolls and I totally nailed it, guys.
My rye bread rolls were much better than al-rye-ight. (Get it, alright? Okay, that was embarrassing.)
Ordinarily I try to use recipes from the official GBBS website. They post several of the contestants’ recipes for each episode. Unfortunately they didn’t post any of the rye bread roll recipes this time so I had to go rogue. (That may have been the lamest use of the phrase “go rogue” ever.)
It took me awhile to find a rye bread roll recipe that seemed easy and had ingredients I could actually find at my local grocery store. But eventually I settled on this recipe from Taste of Home.
I picked it because I’d heard of all the ingredients, but that didn’t mean I could easily find all of the ingredients. I can’t tell you how long I wandered around the grocery store looking for nonfat dry milk powder. Turns out it was in a totally normal spot in the baking section, but, anyway, in case you have a hard time finding it too, it looks like this:
Anyway, I also couldn’t find the rye flour, which was kind of a big deal considering it’s the main ingredient in rye rolls. Eventually I found a whole grain rye flour in the health food section. (Ordinarily I avoid the health food section, because I’m sorry, it just has to be said, that section smells weird, guys. It just does.)
It was easier to round up the rest of the ingredients though: active dry yeast, water, eggs, butter, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and molasses. I skipped the suggested caraway seeds and used the kosher salt instead because caraway seeds were like $6 for a small container and I’m way too cheap to spend that much on seeds. I’m not made of seed money.
From there, the recipe was pretty straight-forward. I just had to dissolve the yeast in warm water and then mix everything up in a big ole bowl. The recipe had me add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour first, mix the dough and then add the rye flour and an additional one to two cups of all purpose flour and mix again. I was supposed to make a soft dough.
In my very amateur opinion, all dough looks soft. I mean it’s dough.
Then I had to dump my (hopefully soft) dough unto a well-floured surface so I could knead it.
Confession time: I have no idea how to knead dough.
I’m pretty sure I just punched the dough for 8 minutes because the recipe told me to knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, and as I had no idea what I was doing, I figured I may as well just do whatever I was doing, longer.
After I’d punched the dough or actually kneaded it (who knows) I had to put it into a greased bowl, cover it and let it rise for an hour (or until it had doubled in size).
Here’s a little tidbit about me, I’m never patient enough to wait to let things double in size, so I just took it out after an hour because I was sick of waiting.
Then after that, I had to roll the dough into 30 well, rolls and brush them with an egg wash and sprinkle on a bit of that kosher salt we talked about earlier. This took awhile, there were a lot of rolls.
Then, here’s the worst part: I had to wait for the rolls to rise again. This was supposed to take about 45 minutes.
I took the photo below when I felt like the rolls had been rising a long time, like a really long time. As you can see by the timer on the oven, it had only been 7 minutes. Patience is, uh, not my thing.
Thankfully, the baking bit went much faster. It only took about 17 minutes to get these babies golden brown. That’s more than what the recipe told me to do but yeah, I’m an overachiever (and, also usually an over-baker). This time though, my tendency to go baking-overboard worked out.
The rolls came out looking pretty great. I didn’t even have to try to hide any ugly ones in the picture this time.
Anyway, if I’m going to get real honest and a bit braggy for a second, let me just say these rolls were by far the best thing I’ve baked yet. They remind me of soft pretzels in that they’re delicious like them and I want to eat way too many of them and also, I did eat too many of them.
Frankly when these bad boys came out of the oven looking good and tasting even better I was tempted to do a bit of this:
But I didn’t of course, because, I’m way classier than that, obviously and a better dancer. Or not.
The point is, these rolls were good. You should make some.
Next week, I’ll tackle a much tougher challenge: ciabatta loaves. At that point, I probably won’t be feeling Chandler-victory-dance-level cocky. So for now I’ll take the wins where I can get ’em and I’ll eat a bunch of rolls. Because I can and because, if I haven’t mentioned this yet, I love bread.
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So thanks in advance. You’re the freaking best. In that way you’re a lot like bread.