Ingredients: (makes 28)
- 500g Strong bread flour
- 10g Salt
- 10g Dried easy-bake yeast
- 25ml Extra virgin Olive oil (or Extra virgin Rapeseed oil)
- 400ml Cold water
- Big mixing bowl
- Kitchen scales
- Baking trays
- Baking Paper (optional)
- 2 litre plastic tub (with lid)
Step 1: Prep Rising Tub
Grease up a plastic tub for the dough to go in when it rises - don't forget to grease the lid too.
(something around 2 litres in size will do for this)
Step 2: Flour
In a big mixing bowl, measure out 500g of strong bread flour.
Step 3: Salt
Add 10g of salt (any sort)
Step 4: Yeast
Add 10g of dried easy-bake yeast (try and keep it away from the salt).
Step 5: Oil
Add 25ml of Extra virgin Olive oil (or Extra virgin Rapeseed oil)
Step 6: Mix
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together
Step 7: Water
This is the tricky bit.
Add up to 400ml of cold water (gradually).
Keep mixing it in bit by bit until all the flour is gone - then add enough so that the dough is sticky (but not gloopy). The actual amount will vary on how absorbent your flour is - I used about 380ml for this batch. Check the picture with my hand in to see how sticky it needs to be.
Step 8: Knead
The mix is pretty sticky, so will be yucky to mix by hand - but keep going - eventually the excess water will be absorbed and the dough will start to firm up. Try and stretch it or fold it - rather than just squashing it, though the technique really doesn't matter.
Step 9: More Kneading
Knead for about 10 minutes - or until the dough starts to get smooth and silky.
Then mould it into a ball.
Step 10: Rise
Put the dough in your greased tub and put it somewhere warm. It's cold here, so my dough always snuggles up next to the radiator, but if you have sun - then you can just leave it on the worktop. Note that this tub has a lockable lid - I've left one side open so that the pressure inside doesn't build up.
If you don't have a tub, you can use the bowl you did the mixing in. Just cover it with a damp cloth to stop the dough drying out.
The dough will need 60-90 minutes to double in size depending on how warm it is (though longer than this doesn't matter) - don't try and rush it as this is where the yeasty flavour builds up.
Step 11: Risen
The dough should now be doubled in size and silky-smooth looking.
Bash all the air out of it until it's back to it's original size.
Step 12: Ball Prep
You'll need a baking tray (I like to cover mine with silicone baking paper to prevent sticking) and a plate with some flour on it for dusting.
Step 13: Balling
Roll the dough into small balls in your hand - if you're keen for uniformity, a weight of about 30g will be about right. You might need to keep your hands nice and floury if the mixture is wet to stop it sticking too much.
Dip them in the flour (looks nice and prevents sticking) then space them evenly on the baking tray.
Step 14: Prove
My oven has a setting for proving (it's ever so slightly warm), but benefits from adding some water to the bottom (I use a small baking tray to contain it ) to make it nice and steamy.
If you don't have an oven setting for this, you can loosely cover the trays with a plastic bag (to prevent drying out) and put them somewhere warm.
You are looking for the balls to roughly double in size - which usually takes about 40 minutes. If they start to wrinkle on top then they've proved for too long and are starting to shrink back.
Step 15: Bake
Top up the water if it has run out (the steam makes a better crust), then heat the oven to 210c
(careful when you open the oven, otherwise you'll catch a facefull of steam)
Bake the balls for about 10 minutes then give them a check.
They should be an even golden brown - which depending on your oven might mean turning the tray around a couple of times. When done, the bottoms should sound hollow when tapped.
Step 16: Eat
Leave the balls on a wire tray to cool.
Best dipped in some Olive oil with a few drips of Balsamic vinegar - or cut in half and pasted with garlic butter (or chocolate spread!)
Eat the same day - However, if you freeze them - you can pop a couple in your lunchbox in the morning wrapped in greaseproof paper & they're nicely defrosted by lunchtime.