Baps / “Scotch morning rolls”

These I made using the overnight ‘sponge’ method, which used less yeast. This method involved creating a starter with a little yeast (about half the amount I used in the previous recipes) and some of the water and flour, which I left for 12-18 hours for the yeast to grow and to act on the flour. This is how much it grew overnight:

sponge - before sponge - after

I left it about 24 hours, in fact – I made the sponge on a Thursday night and made the rolls on Friday night. But I put the sponge out in the pantry, which is very cool (about 12’C) on Friday morning. Once it has grown, you add the rest of the flour and water, and proceed pretty much as before.

These rolls are part white, part wholemeal. I used Allinsons strong white, and stoneground wholemeal from the windmill in Willesborough. Food miles approximately five – though I’m not sure where the wheat came from!

Overall the dough requires less yeast to begin with – though presumably if the yeast reproduces, the end result has just as much. I suppose over the course of a year you could at least halve your spend on yeast. Whitley says this method was used by bakers from the late 19th Century, when commercial yeast was available but expensive. The other reason for using this method, and of more relevance to the small-scale hobby baker, would be that a longer fermentation is meant to add to the flavour and improves the nutritional quality of the loaf.

There were nuanced differences in the recipe book about rising and proving times, but the basic idea was the same. To be honest, I feel my basic efforts aren’t quite good enough yet for me to appreciate the nuances. This time I might have overdone the extra water – the mixture was very slack. Although with kneading it came to a smooth and elastic dough, when I left the rolls to rise I have to say they rose outwards much more than upwards!

Marta kindly commented on a previous post that it could be my kneading technique; I’ll try her suggestion on the next loaf. So far I’ve been ‘air-kneading’: holding the dough mixture in the air and pulling it about; as Andrew Whitley, a bit like playing a concertina, and less tiring on the back than bending over a work surface. Whitley’s book says that it doesn’t matter how you knead, as long as you work the dough energetically for at least 10 minutes, subjecting it to ‘vigorous stress’. I’ve liked this approach because I found it was less frustrating (I don’t have a very big work surface and I get very impatient when the dough sticks to it). Not to mention my secret wish to be a pizza-maker, twirling the dough in the air…

As for the doughiness of the finished product – it’s definitely my oven, I’m pretty sure. The recipe for the rolls said 15 mins would be enough, but they definitely weren’t done in that time and I had to give them an extra 5 mins (which is quite a lot extra, proportionately). Worth discovering! These rolls were definitely done – no tacky texture or doughy taste.

They were definitely more tangy in flavour too, but something was still missing. My parents, who were visiting, thought they just needed more salt. With salty butter they tasted good. Dad has made bread for years and his always has lots of flavour – perhaps due to the tablespoon of black treacle he adds. I’ve asked him to send me his standard loaf recipe. I will continue with my experimentations using Andrew Whitley’s book, but I may have to give his a go too.

morning roll with butter

Postscript: The second time I made these rolls, I didn’t have to add any extra water, so perhaps the absorbency depends on the particular flour used (Mr Yeast says this is his experience too).

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~ by jobes on March 17, 2008.

2 Responses to “Baps / “Scotch morning rolls””

  1. I was looking around for a recipe for scottish style morning rolls when I came across this entry and I want to thank your for mentioning Andrew Whitley’s book. I don’t have a copy yet but just ordered one on Amazon and I am looking forward to receiving it.

    The Scottish style morning rolls I want to bake are quite different from the floury baps found in parts of England. In fact they remind me more of some forms of French bread and the style may well have originated in France. I sometimes wonder if these old methods are being lost in the UK as products are standardised by supermarklets across regions.

  2. Dax – I hope you’re enjoying the book!

    I find those English floury baps soft to the point of being quite textureless – they seem almost designed to be Easy To Eat, as if Britons don’t want to have to think about what they are stuffing down their throats, they just want to be able to shove it in mindlessly and chew on auto-pilot…

    I’ve bought a digital weighing scale which measures by the gram, which has helped on the flavour front: I found I hadn’t been adding nearly enough salt!

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