Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus proving time)
Baking time: 15 Mins
175ml Tepid Water
10g Fresh Yeast
A pinch of Caster Sugar
260g Very Strong White Bread Flour
A good pinch of Salt
A tablespoon of dried herbs (I tend to use sage or thyme)
15g Olive Oil or melted Lard
Making bread is such a therapeutic activity, but it can take some time so make sure you leave yourself a few hours on and off to get everything done. :-)
Grab a large mixing bowl and pour in the water. Add the yeast and sugar, then blend until combined. Tip in the flour, along with the salt, herbs and fat, then bring together to a sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, bring together to a ball of dough then knead, stretching the dough, folding back on itself, turning and repeating. Do this for around 7-8 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic. As long as your surface is clean and dry you shouldn’t need to keep dusting your surface, but the surrounding environmental conditions may dictate this. Just try and be as stingy as you can if you do have to add more flour!
When the dough is nice and smooth dust with a little flour then return to a clean bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 75 mins, until doubled in size. Once risen, turn out onto a lightly oiled surface, divide into eight and shape into little balls. Place each ball into a lightly greased dariole mould, place in a sealed container (I use a big cake tub) and leave to rise again for a further 25 mins. At the same time preheat the oven to 230C/fan 210C/gas 8.
Once the dough has risen place your moulds on a flat baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for around 15 mins, until golden brown on top. When you are happy the buns are baked remove from the oven and leave in the moulds for around 5 mins. Run a flat bladed knife around the edge of each bun and coax out. You can serve these hot, wait until cold or they freeze brilliantly too, handy for when needed!