Bread making (Sourdough) Basics for home bakers

I keep getting many questions from home-bakers, about measurements, dough consistency, mixing and proofing mostly with regard to sourdough recipes. So I decided that it will be helpful to create a post that address all the basics in one place about “baking sourdough at home”.

This is for anyone who is new to sourdough baking or is thinking of starting fresh. Also these information would be helpful specially if you are attempting my recipes on this blog, but is not limited to.

I presume, that you have some sort of previous baking experience and now you have decided to take up sourdough baking. If this is not true, then may be it is a good time to take a step back and familiarize yourself with some simple bakes before attempting sourdough recipes. But, it is totally up to you. If you think, you are capable of jumping straight in the deep end, by all means, do so. Everyone is different, so challenge yourself if you like 🙂

Lets get to it then;

Starter:
So as all of you know, we need a sourdough starter to make sourdough products. I have a whole blog post dedicated to this topic.
Find it through this link. I am stating this again, it is best to start by baking with commercial yeast before you attempt sourdough.

Flour types:
I will start by saying you can make any bread/pastry product using normal all purpose flour. All purpose flour was the only thing I knew/had in the beginning of my baking journey. I made rolls, bread (yeasted/sourdough), enriched products, croissants, puff, pizza, cakes, tart bases, pies and everything using just all purpose flour. But later as my knowledge and experience expanded, I went into using different flour types, because I felt the need. Bread flour has a higher percentage of gluten and ideal for bread and baguettes. Cake flour has much less gluten and more starch and hence ideal for cakes, short bread etc. For everything else, I use all-purpose flour. But still, when I ran out of a certain flour, I have interchanged these and was still able to get good results. When making bread/ bread rolls, you can mix other low gluten ( even gluten free) flour varieties to create different flavor profiles or to simply up the nutrition. Whole meal, Rye, Buckwheat, Teff are some examples.
Most recipes use these flours in 5 – 20% of the total bread flour weight. There are recipes that use 80% – 100% Rye or wholemeal. Well, once you master the basics, you can dive deep into the world of bread and try as many recipes as you like or create your own.
Apart from these, we use semolina, rice flour to dust bannetons and couches to stop dough from sticking.

Measurements:
Always keep in mind that, ingredient measurements stated in a recipe are only a guide line. This is specially true when it comes to water. In bread making, you may need to adjust water percentage that you actually use and it may be slightly less or more than that stated in the recipe. This is mainly because;
Flours have different moisture content and absorbency
Eggs you use might be smaller or bigger
Humidity of the air
Room temperature
Starter hydration

Mixing:
Mixing can be done by hand. But for enriched doughs like brioche, it is easier to start in the mixer and them finish off by hand. I recommend using hands as much as possible, so we can get a good feel of the dough consistency. We should not relay solely on time when mixing, but the dough consistency. This is why I always mention the look and feel of the dough and provide you with a picture. So that you know what to look for rather than mixing blindly.

Autolysis:
Not mandatory, but is a good technique to add strength do dough at home, when you don’t have industrial mixers. This is useful when you have higher hydration percentage in your dough. Not necessary for rolls or other enriched doughs. You can of course use mixing to build and strengthen gluten. But I use autolysis as it requires less intervention. Just mix the flour and water and let this sit for some time (range from 30 minutes to a few hours) During this time flour absorb water, enzymes start to get activated and gluten is formed. This gluten can be further strengthened by folding the dough, which we will talk about next.

Gluten mesh

Gluten:
Gluten help keep the shape and also allowed the dough to expand (rise during fermentation/ oven spring). For crusty bread, baguettes it is very important to have a good strong gluten development, to get the expected chewy texture. Always do a “window test” meaning you should be able to stretch a dough without tearing so thin that you can see through. Check the following image.
But for soft bread rolls and enriched products like brioche, cinnamon scrolls, babka etc, this is not the case. In these cases, we only need moderate strength in the dough to achieve the softer crumb. This is why those recipes call for more fat, sugar in the dough and use flours with less gluten %. Also notice, most enriched recipes don’t require autolysing or folding. You can get away with minimal kneading.

stretchy dough
Gluten strength (window test)

Folding techniques:
You can use any technique you like. Stretch and fold is what we widely use. You simply stretch the dough and fold it right back. This is ideal with less sticky doughs like crusty bread. Coil fold is another technique. This is done by lifting the dough with two hand at opposite sides and letting dough coil underneath. Useful with slightly wet/ enriched doughs. Slap and fold is the third most popular, which I love, by the way. Great with sticky and slightly wet doughs. Gives you great control. Folding is how I add strength to the dough apart from autolysis.

Bulk Proof:
Bulk proofing is where you let the yeast do their job, which is fermenting. Moisture will activate the enzymes that break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. Yeast from your starter will consume these sugars and reproduce rapidly, releasing CO2 as one of the by products. As a result the dough will expand and will be airy. Again do not rely on the time here. It is only a guide. Always look for the volume of the dough. If it has nearly doubled in size, then you are done with bulk proofing. With natural yeast, bulk proofing takes longer than with commercial fast acting yeast. We don’t want to over proof at this stage, as there will be a long retardation usually.

Retarding:
Retarding is nothing but long and slow fermentation. Usually achieved by placing the dough in a refrigerator. Some recipes retard the dough as a bulk and then shape them and do a final proof before baking. There are other recipes, that shape the product and then retard the final product before baking. Either way, the final product that we bake should be fully proofed. Let talk about final proof later.

Shaping:
Shaping the dough is very crucial. Shaping dough correctly, results in a much nicer and a high quality end product. Correct shaping adds strength to the surface, which would help keep dough from spreading during oven spring. If it spread sideways, too much, the final product will be flat and the crumb won’t be as open as we like it to be.
After the bulk, we either divide the dough or go straight to pre-shape. Pre-shaping helps gather the dough and make it easier to handle. We should let the pre-shaped dough rest/relax for at least 10 minutes (not too long) before shaping. This way the dough will be flexible, so we can shape it easily. It is a good idea to degas the dough before shaping. This doesn’t have to be too rough. We just lightly press, so that excess air is released and the dough is nice and even. Shaping is fun, watch videos and practice as much as you can and stick with your preferred method. Check following videos.
Shaping a loaf
Shaping baguettes
Shaping bread rolls
Shaping a babka

Bread pans, baskets:
You can proof your dough is anything. For rustic bread you can use bannetons. If you don’t have bannetons, use any bowl or loaf tin, lined with a thick tea towel. Make sure to dust the tea towel generously with flour or semolina. For brioche or sandwich loafs, you require a loaf tin to get the shape right. So you proof in the same tin that you bake it. For baguettes, you can use a thick tea towel or a couche to proof. If baking in a baguette tray, you can proof directly on the tray. Check following videos.
How I use a tea towel to proof baguettes
I have used a loaf pan instead of a banneton

place in basket
Using a banneton to proof

Final proof:
When product is proofed, just right, it gives a better oven spring. So it is mandatory that you check this with a “poke test“. When you gently put an indent on the surface with a finger, it should slowly bounce back. If it bounces back too quickly, then you need to proof a little longer. If it doesn’t bounce back, then the product is over proofed. But don’t worry, slightly over-proofed doesn’t mean we can’t bake it! Just that it won’t have the same oven spring. But it will still be a great bake! There is a learning curve. With time everything will be easier and become second nature.

proofed
Fully proofed rolls

Steam:
Stem is important in baking crusty bread and rolls. It gives a nice crust and also a lovely color to the finished product and also helps over spring (expansion). There are several ways to produce steam in a home oven. A few I use are;
Placing a pan with boiling water on the bottom rack
Spray water (mist) directly using a spray bottle
Pour boiling water on to a preheated tray placed on the lower (bottom) rack

Oven temperature:
This is the most crucial thing to get right and the most overlooked. I can not stress this enough. You have to get to know to your oven. Never rely on the oven display. Be it electric or gas, always use your own store bought oven thermometer to get the oven temperature on point. Adjust the temperature according to your oven type. Convection ovens are efficient and heats up evenly and are usually hotter than convention. If you have a bottom heated oven (only the bottom element heats up in “bake” mode), remember the top half of the oven is the hottest as hot air travel upwards. Take time to read the manual and experiment with your oven before settling in.

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Sourdough Burger Buns

sourdough burger buns

If there is anything that you should learn to make, apart from bread of course, that would be the bread rolls. Be it simple dinner rolls, fancy hot cross buns or versatile burger buns, it is a skill any baking enthusiast would love to have.

sourdough burger buns
20% whole meal and bacon fat in this one

I have tried many recipes and tutorials, prior to my culinary education and bakery experience. To be honest, I struggled to get it right mainly because I didn’t know what I was looking for. I wasn’t even trying sourdough versions.

sourdough burger buns
only 60 g milk in this one

That was 7 years ago and a lot have changed since then. You can actually find good, quality resources on the internet. But, I may have slightly different approach/method, so here is my journal. I will try to mentions every little detail along the way, but feel free to reach me for questions/clarifications either through comment here or IG.

sourdough burger buns
200 g milk and 60 g bacon fat 2 tbsp honey in this one

Ingredients and alternatives:

Flour:
You can of course use any glutenous flour or a combination. All purpose, strong bread flour should be the base. You can mix other flour verities to change texture, flavor at 5 – 20% ;
Rye
whole meal
Buckwheat
Teff etc.

burgers

Fat:
Fat is what makes rolls softer and help keep soft for longer.
Fat is usually introduced as fat itself, but eggs and milk has fat too. Keep that in mind when you mix and match. You can use any of the fats below;
Butter
Oil (Vegetable, canola, olive oil, grape seed, avocado)
Bacon fat ( Inna @flourfloozy should get credit for this idea)
Lard

Eggs:
Adding eggs is optional. You can totally skip this process or opt to add just egg yolk for a richer texture. You can also use tofu instead of eggs and get all the effects of adding eggs. 1/4 cup tofu is equal to an egg, but make sure to drain well to remove excess water out.

Milk:
Optional again. Milk, just like eggs adds extra richness. Increases softness, and sweetness. Keep in mind different milks have different sweetness and flavors. So use a in less % if you are not sure. Use following alternatives;
Cows milk (any fat %)
Nut milk (check if it is sweetened)
Coconut milk (beware of flavor and fat content)
Soy milk
Oats milk

Sugar:
Need only very little. Interchange with any of the following;
White sugar
Brown sugar
Honey
Coconut sugar
Maple syrup
Rice malt syrup etc.

Moisture:
Water is the most basic and easy solution here. Feel free to use alternatives as replacement or mixed with water to get extra flavor;
Beer varieties
Coconut water etc.

Topping:
Use either eggs or milk to brush the top. This gives a nice color and shine. Use any of the following to decorate or keep it plain;
Sesame
Poppy seeds
Line seeds etc.

dough

Mix everything except the water and start to mix. Add water gradually, until a soft dough is formed. Use a stand mixer with dough hook or use a spatula. Once everything comes together kneed a further minute until dough is smooth. Take the dough out on to a floured surface. Finish kneading by hands. Its okay if the dough is bit sticky. Fold the dough to create a smooth dough ball. check next picture.

dough

Use flour to stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Once it looks smooth like in the picture, place it in a lightly greased bowl.

dough

Cover the bowl loosely with a lid or a tea towel and place in a warm place for the bulk fermentation. (3-4 hours)

Note:
I use my oven for this, with a cup of boiling water placed on the bottom rack. Replace with new boiling water once every 1.5 hours.

dough

This is how the dough would look after the bulk. We are looking for a softer puffed up dough which has almost doubled the original volume.

dough

Punch down the dough and fold it back to a tight ball and place back in the same bowl. Cover tightly and place in the fridge until next day.

You can continue to make rolls without retarding. In that case let it ferment a little further and continue the rest of the steps.

dough

Next day, take the dough out and let it thaw for about an hour. When the dough is soft enough to handle, you can move to the next step.

divide the dough

Divide the dough in to 8 equal pieces. The total dough weight might be different each time so weight the whole dough and divide that by 8 to get how much a piece should weigh.

Let the dough pieces rest for about 10 minutes once divided

shaped sough

Shape them into tight rolls. Check this video to get an idea on how to shape rolls. Make sure to get most of the air out from the dough as you roll.

shaped dough

Place the rolls on a tray and once everything is shaped, press each roll to squash it to flatten a bit. (press down on the roll with your palm or fist) check the picture. Notice they are a bit flatter than the roll in the picture above.

Now loosely cover these and place in a warm place until doubled. ( 3 – 4 hours again or might be longer)

proofed

Once proofed, place a pizza stone/cast iron tray and preheat the oven to 425 F 0R 220 C. It’s okay if you don’t have a pizza stone, you can still get good results.

decorate

Once the oven is ready, egg wash the rolls and decorate the top with sesame. And place the rolls in the oven.

Spay a little water using a spay bottle to create a bit of steam. This is optional.

bake for about 10 minutes, rotate the tray, reduce temperature to 400 F and bake for a further 5 minutes.

baked burger buns

Once fully baked, remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.

Sourdough Burger Buns

Uncategorized

Servings: 8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 400 g bread flour
  • 6 g salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 80 g fed starter
  • 40 g butter (softened)
  • 130 ml milk
  • +/-100 ml water
  • egg yolk and 1 tbsp water to egg wash
  • some sesame seeds to decorate

Instructions

  1. Weigh everything except for the water in to a bowl ( or bowl of a stand mixer)
  2. Start mixing and add water gradually
  3. When the everything start to come together, continue to mix until a dough is developed
  4. This dough might be a little sticky
  5. If too sticky add some flour or let it rest for 10 minutes
  6. Then mix/knead for another minute or two
  7. Dump the dough in to a floured surface and finish off kneading by hand
  8. Use slap and fold motion
  9. Use a little flour to help if necessary
  10. make into a smooth dough ball and place in a bowl
  11. Cover and place in a warm place for bulk fermentation
  12. This may take about 4 hours or longer in a cooler place
  13. Once dough is almost double in size, punch it down
  14. Round up the dough to a tight ball place in the same bowl, cover tightly and place in the fridge until next day
  15. Next morning, take the bowl out and let it thaw for about an hour until the dough is soft
  16. Then divide in to 8 equal pieces
  17. Let these rest for 10 minutes and shape in to rolls
  18. Once shaped, place on a tray and press rolls lightly to flatten a bit
  19. Cover and leave in a warm place again until they are doubled in size
  20. This may take about 4 – 5 hours
  21. Then preheat the oven to 425 F or 220 C
  22. Place a baking stone if you have one, this is optional, but would give better oven spring
  23. Once oven is ready, egg wash the rolls and sprinkle with sesame and place in the oven
  24. Pray a little water using a spay bottle (use whatever method you usually do to get steam)It’s okay to note have steam
  25. Bake for 10 minutes and check
  26. Reduce temp. to 400 F and bake for a further 5 minutes if they are not done extend for a further 5 minutes
  27. Once baked, let the buns cool down on a rack
https://myloveofbaking.com/sourdough-burger-buns/


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Sourdough Hot Cross buns

sourdough hot cross buns

Come Easter, this is something I look forward to. There is so much bliss in biting into a buttered warm hot cross bun. It goes so well with black coffee (specially the long black I miss so much) and for me it’s a completely satisfying breakfast.

I can’t stomach the ordinary store bought stuff ever since I started baking my own bread, rolls and buns. If I am buying these, I make sure to go to the best local bakery available. I am so glad that there are still some small scale bakeries that make good, wholesome bread products without the chemicals.

sourdough hot cross bun
A good slathering of butter

Making hot cross buns were one of the favorite things I adored during my time as a baker. I used to make these by the hundreds at the small local bakery cafe, I worked last. I still remember how the whole place was filled with the aroma of warm sticky hot cross buns as they came out of hot ovens every morning. I think I liked making them as much as I love eating them.

sourdough hot cross buns

So this is my sourdough version of the much loved bun. I love the yeasted version too, specially when you don’t have the patience to wait two days for the bun to come out. As many of you have noticed by now, I am a little obsessed with the natural yeast, so it’s only natural that I’m making them to be sourdough.

hot cross buns

I love to load my hotX with currents and raisins and mildly spice with cinnamon, nutmeg and tinge of cloves. But feel free to add whatever you like. I know some like to add dried peel, lemon/orange zest. Or you can use dried blueberries, sour cherries instead. Last but not least, these can be made into chocolate buns, by adding a bit of cocoa to the dough and I have had great success in replacing fruit with chocolate chips. Mmmm…that said, I might whip up a chocolate batch later this month.

sourdough hot cross buns
best served warm with butter

Find the step by step guide below as usual and like all other sourdough recipes, this one’s success depends on the starter! So get your starter, refreshed and all bubbly and active before attempting the recipe.

starter

Make the starter ready at least 6 hours before you start mixing. The time depends on how much you feed and the activity of your starter. Read more here

For this I’m using a 80% hydrated starter.

mixing

Weigh everything, except for the dried fruit and water, into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Make sure butter is softened and egg and milk is at room temperature.

dough

Mix on low speed adding water gradually. I had about a two table spoon water left after mixing. When the dough comes together, increase the speed by a notch and mix for a bout two minutes. Scrape the sides and clear the hook as you do. When the dough looks like in the picture, you can add the dried fruit.

Mix on low speed only until the fruit are incorporated. Do not over-mix!

dough with fruit

Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Give a few stretch and folds or slap and folds (which ever is more comfortable) until the dough becomes smooth. Check the next picture.

dough

Once the dough a smooth dough ball like in the picture, place in in a plastic tub, cover with a lid and leave in a warm place for the fermentation to take place. This may take about 3-4 hours. You will see the dough grown considerably. Check next picture.

rinses dough

The dough will be risen and feel much softer and elastic. Punch down the dough and round it up again. A stretch and fold would do. Check the next picture.

rounded up dough

Then place back in the same bowl, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for the retardation or the long slow fermentation. This is when all the flavor is begin created.

This could be anywhere from 12 – 18 hours. The more you leave it to retard, the sour the flavor will be.

retarded dough

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature ( take about 3 hours) Now it’s time to divide the dough. So get the dough on to a lightly dusted surface. check next picture.

divide the dough

Divide the dough in to 12 equal pieces. In my case, it was about 95 g each. Once divided, let these rest for about 30 minutes. Make sure to cover them to prevent from drying out. Then you can round up them into smooth dough balls. Check the next picture.

dough balls

Shape them just like normal rolls. Check this video to get an idea. Then place them on a tray lined with a baking paper. Cover the whole tray and place it in a warm place for the final rise or until they are doubled in size. It took 3 and half hours in warm place (I use the oven with a boiling bowl of water placed in and then change water once or twice)

risen buns

Once the buns are risen, pre-heat the oven to 375 F and prepare the flour mixture for the cross. Check next picture.

flour mixture

Mix 1/3 cups flour with 1/4 + 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp sugar and pinch of salt. It should have no lumps and be in dripping consistency.

piping

Fill a piping bag ( any plastic bag/zip-lock bag would do) Cut a small hole at the tip. Keep this ready but do not pipe until the oven is ready. You wouldn’t be using all of it, so make less if you can or keep this in the fridge for a day or two for a next batch.

pipe the cross

Once the oven is ready, pipe the cross over the buns as shown in the picture and place the rolls in the oven (on a rack placed at the top 3/2 of the oven/slightly above center) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until top is nicely turned brown. I usually rotate the tray at 20 minute mark as my oven doesn’t distribute heat evenly.

baked buns

While the buns are begin baked, make a sugar syrup. Mix 1/4 sugar and 1/4 cup water, bring to a boil and let simmer for about a minute. As soon as the buns come out, brush them lightly with sugar syrup. check next picture.

brush with sugar syrup

Brush the buns while they are still very hot, this way, some of the syrup get absorbed. This will make the rolls softer and will keep them from drying out. Also they’ll look all shiny and attractive.

let them cool off

Once done, place the buns on a wire rack to cool off.

serve with butter

Serve with some butter. You can warm up the buns in the microwave. These can be stored in an air tight container for about two days at room temperature (19 C – 22 C) Or place in the fridge to keep for longer. They freeze well too.

Sourdough Hot Cross buns

Uncategorized

Servings: 12 rolls

sourdough hot cross buns

Ingredients

    For the buns
  • 400 g all purpose flour
  • 100 g bread flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml milk (1/4 cups)
  • 40 g butter !softened
  • 150 g active starter (80% hydration)
  • 190 – 200 ml water
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup dried raisins (loosely packed)
    For the cross
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 + 1 tbsp water
    For the sugar syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 water

Instructions

  1. Make the starter(80% hydrated) prior to making the recipe ( 6-8 hour depending on how you feed)
  2. Mix everything except fruit and water in a bowl of a stand mixer and start mixing on low speed adding water gradually. the dough should be a bit sticky
  3. Once everything is hydrated, Increase speed to medium and mix for about a minute or two
  4. Scrape the sides
  5. Once the dough comes together, add the dried fruit and mix on low only until they are incorporated
  6. Do not over mix
  7. Take the dough onto a floured surface and give a few stretch and folds to make the dough smooth
  8. Then place this in a bowl, cover and keep in a warm place for about 3-4 hours
  9. Punch down the dough again to a smooth ball, place back in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (up to 18)
  10. Let the dough come to room temperature (3 hours) and divide into 12 equal pieces
  11. Let these rest, covered, for about 30 minutes
  12. Then shape into buns, place on a prepared tray, cover and leave in a warm place until risen/or doubled in size
  13. Once they are ready preheat the oven to 375 F and make the paste for the cross
  14. To make the paste, mix everything until smooth and fill a piping bag and set aside
  15. Once the oven is ready, pipe the cross over the buns and place in the oven (slightly above the center)
  16. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes
  17. Rotate the tray for an even bake towards the end of the bake
  18. While they are baking, make the sugar syrup
  19. Mixing sugar and water in saucepan, bring to boil and simmer for a minute
  20. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with a light coating of sugar syrup
  21. Transfer them onto a wire rack to cool off
  22. Server warm with butter
https://myloveofbaking.com/sourdough-hot-cross-buns/
A close up
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Thyme infused sourdough dinner rolls

dinner rolls

I think I invented the most perfect dinner rolls recipe ever! That sounds a bit too dramatic, but trust me, that’s how I felt when they came out of the oven. They smelled so good and tasted even better with a slathering of butter, still warm and fresh.

These are NOT super enriched, brioche style buns. But they are soft, aromatic, nutty and wholesome. I think these are the perfect side to serve with your main or the bread and butter course it self. They don’t taste overly sweet, jut a touch of honey, so the thyme flavor is the real hero here. Just 10% each of wholemeal and rye makes a world of difference, by adding that nutty texture and the tiny brown color speckle to the crumb.

Thyme infused dinner rolls

Lastly, this is a recipe that can be stretched well over three days and the dough is very forgiving. So you don’t have to be precise about fermenting duration and retardation. I will mention this at each step.

Baked long rolls

To start with, as usual, with any sourdough recipe, you need the fed starter. I’m using a 100% hydrated fed, ripe starter for this recipe. If you want more details about starter head over to this link.

infused butter

Infuse butter by heating the butter with a bunch id thyme over medium heat. Let the mixture come to room temperature before removing the thyme stems.

dough

Mix everything as described in the recipe until a dough is formed, Knead it by hand until smooth. Place in a closed container and let ferment until almost doubled in size.

doubled dough

Once the dough is almost doubled, punch down lightly and refrigerate over night ( or at least 10 hours) You can extend this time up to 24 hours

divided dough

Divide the dough in to pieces and let them rest, covered for 15 minutes before shaping

shaped dough

Shape the dough pieces in to rounds or cylinders and place them in the baking dish/tray leave space around

shaped dough

Shaped into cylindrical shape and stacked in a deep loaf tin works too

proofed dough

proofed dough (after 6-8 hours depending on the temperature) The slower the proof, the better the flavour

proofed dough

proofed long buns. once the buns are proofed, preheat the oven, brush the buns with a whisked egg, and bake for 20 minutes

baked rolles

Once baked let the rolls cool on a wire rack

baked rolls

Baked rolls (long)

These rolls are perfect served warm with butter.

These rolls can be kept in a air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. You can freshen them up in the microwave (20 sec), then will be soft and lovely as good as new.

Thyme infused dinner rolls
Thyme infused rolls

If you wan to freeze them, seal them tightly in a freezer bag before freezing. To serve the frozen rolls, first let them come to room temperature and warm them in microwave (20 sec) or in a moderate oven (10 minutes).

Soft rolls

I guess these can be infused with other herbs you like, so go ahead and try with your favorite herb like rosemary, sage etc. I have used a mild honey because I wanted to hero the thyme flavor. You can substitute honey with sugar, or maple syrup.

Soft rolls
Thyme infused sourdough dinner rolls

Bread, buns

Thyme infused sourdough dinner rolls

Ingredients

  • 140 g ripe sourdough starter
  • 200 g bread flour
  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 50 g rye flour
  • 50 g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter (110 g)
  • a bunch of thyme
  • 1 egg to egg wash

Instructions

    For the infused butter
  1. Place the stick of butter and a hand full of thyme(with stems) in a pot and melt over medium heat
  2. Stir until butter melts
  3. Once the butter is melted, let it simmer for two minutes and take off the heat
  4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature
  5. Once cooled, remove the thyme stems, leaving some of the leaves
    For the dough
  1. In to a bowl of a stand mixer, add all the flours and salt
  2. Lightly mix to combine
  3. Add the eggs, honey, starter, butter mixture and 1/2 cup of the milk and start to mix
  4. Add the rest of the milk as you go, to make a soft dough
  5. Once the dough comes together, bring it over to an oiled surface and knead by hand until smooth (for about a minute or two)
  6. Place the dough in a plastic tub (non reactive container) close the lid and set in a warm draft free area to ferment
  7. The dough need to be roughly doubled in size (should take about 5-6 hours or more)
  8. Once the dough is bigger, punch it down slightly, place in the same container and refrigerate overnight (minimum of 10 hours)
  9. When you are ready, take the dough out and let it come to room temperature and soften up (should take about 4 hours)
  10. Place in a warm oven (27 C – 30 C) to speed up
  11. Once the dough is soft, divide into pieces ( 14 pieces of 70 g or 12 pieces of 80 g)
  12. Cover and let these rest for 10 – 15 minutes
  13. Then shape them in to rounds or cylinders (shape of hot dog buns)
  14. Once shaped, place them in on a lined tray or a greased deep baking dish
  15. Leave about 1/2 inch gap all around for the will grow bigger as they prove
  16. Now cover them with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft free place for the final rise(may take several hours ~6 or more)
  17. To speed up place in a warm oven (27 to 30 C)
  18. When they are proofed, preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)
  19. Lightly egg wash the buns on top, and bake for about 20 minutes or until top is golden brown
  20. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack
  21. Serve warm

Microwave for 20 seconds to warm these buns before serving

Store then in an air-tight container for up to two days at room temperature or freeze in a freezer bag

Thaw frozen buns ans microwave to freshen them up

https://myloveofbaking.com/thyme-infused-sourdough-dinner-rolls/
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