Sourdough Bread Rolls

I grew up in a country during communist times. I remember coming back from school by myself, because at that time it was safe for children to walk alone on the streets even in a town. My family brought me from school only during the first year but after that, I was coming back from school by myself. That means that after 7-8 years I was on my own to commute from school to home for a distance of ~1km in the town. Unimaginable these days. Those were other times....

It happened many times that I was returning from school with a colleague who was living nearby. We both had a few coins as pocket money from our parents to buy some food/snack if we would desire. But remember, we were during communist times were food shops were almost empty...there was no crackers, no chocolates or no sweet things to buy. On our way back home, in a small corner under a big tall building there was a little bread shop. Inside, one seller and empty shelves behind her. Not because of the hour but because bread was sold immediately after the truck transporting it was arriving. During the rest of the time, those shelves were empty. The only remaining pieces of bread on the counter were some bread rolls and some bread without salt (for people with health issues). They were super cheap (I remember even the price, 0.5 lei), with a straight line scoring in the middle. For 2 kids, hungry after one day of school, those rolls were heaven. When we were finding them because sometimes they were missing too.  We were buying one for each and before arriving home we were devouring every single bite. Just the bear naked bread rolls...
These are my memories with bread rolls and that is why they have a special meaning for me.
Yes, these ones in this recipe have seeds over. I couldn't have dreamed of bread rolls with seeds back then. They were simple with no attractive look on top though they were the best for me back then.

I tried to keep this recipe simple. I understand that for people not being obsessed with bread like me, doing stretch and folds, lamination and coil folds over a day it can be complicated. It can be also messy and requires a bit of space and organisation. But it should not be that complicated to have some gorgeous rolls, while still enjoying sourdough, on the table in 8 hours of proofing.

Ingredients: (70% hydration)

  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 10:00] Scaling. Start by measuring all ingredients.
  2. Immediately after,  Mix water + flours. Mix only the flours with water just until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I use lukewarm water to speed up the fermentation. After the mix, I keep the dough in my bread proofer at 27ºC.
  3. [Day 1, Saturday, 11:00] Sourdough starter. Add the starter over the dough and knead for 10 minutes with a standing mixer. If you do not have one, knead by hand. Then, let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:00] Salt. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead again for 5 minutes. Then, let the dough relax for 1 hour. I use an aliquot jar to measure/compare the volume increase. This means that I put 40g of dough in a straight small glass jar.  During the entire fermentation process, I keep the aliquot jar near the dough.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:00] Stretch and Fold 1. Do a set of stretch and folds straight in the mixer's bowl.  Let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:00] Stretch and Fold 2. Do a second set of stretch and folds straight in the mixer's bowl.  Let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:00] Divide and shape. When the dough in the aliquot jar indicates a rise of 40%, I divide the dough into 16 pieces. The dough has 1640g in total. 40g went already in the aliquot jar, so 1600/16 = 100g each roll. Then, I shape them and transfer onto a baking sheet. I cover with a linen and let it rise until the dough in the aliquot jar reaches 75% volume increase.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:30] Bake them in the preheated oven at 250ºC on the hot stone for 20-30 minutes. For steaming, pour 200ml of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. As a trick, I use a teapot to pour water far from the hand.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:00] Cool. The bread rolls needs to cool for at least 1 hour until they reach room temperature. If you can resist, of course...
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 18:00] Cut/Eat. Now is the big moment to enjoy these beautiful rolls for dinner.


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