One of my biggest commitments for 2018 is to eat healthily: to nourish my body and fill it full of good stuff. But let’s be sensible: we’re never going to eat healthily 100% of the time. I think I’m aiming for around 80%, with a bit of cake and the odd glass of wine thrown in as a treat (note to self: that’s a treat, not every day – catch up on my Drinkaware month here). Diets are one of my biggest bugbears. I don’t want to count calories, or cut out carbs. I like carbs. Carbs give us energy and are a great source of fibre*, but we need to choose the right carbs for our body, not depressing, flabby white bread, mass produced, sugary biscuits, or – sadly – doughnuts (mmmm, doughnuts). One of the greatest things I feel I do for our family is take the time to bake really delicious, home made bread. Rye is less refined and much more nutritious than some other grains but I’m not really a huge fan of 100% rye, so I mix it roughly half and half with normal white bread flour. These easy, no knead rye bread rolls are so easy to make and this dough will probably make 10-12, depending on how big you make them.
I’m a lazy bread baker. I find kneading really boring, so I make my bread in the food mixer. It literally takes about 8 minutes to make the dough for these rolls, then for most of the rest of the recipe you can get on with other things while they’re rising.
No knead rye bread rolls
500g strong white bread flour
225g rye flour (I like the Doves Farm one – it’s about £2 in supermarkets)
2 x 7g fast action yeast
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
500ml warm water
So firstly, weigh out the flours, yeast, salt and sugar (make sure you pop the yeast and salt at opposite sides of the bowl).
Stir the oil into the warm water, and then, with the mixer running, gently pour the oily water into the flour. Let it mix for around 5 minutes, and that’s it.
Cover with clingfilm and put the bowl somewhere warm like the airing cupboard until the dough has really puffed up (this will take at least an hour if not a bit longer).
Dip your hands into the flour and flour the surface too, then scoop out the puffy dough and divide into 10-12 rolls, rolling them around until they’re nice and smooth. Pop them onto a couple of floured baking trays, making sure you give them room to rise.
Leave your rolls another hour or so until they’re doubled in size again.
Preheat the oven to 190 C/gas 5
If you like, you can brush the rolls with a little beaten egg or milk. You can also sprinkle with seeds or nuts.
Bake until they’re golden brown and sound hollow when they’re tapped on the bottom. This depends on the size, but I’d say start checking at around 20 minutes.
Serve however you fancy. We love them warm straight out of the oven with bowls of home made vegetable soup, and I’m a fan of a toasted one slathered in butter and marmalade for breakfast too. Slice them and stuff with your favourite sandwich ingredients for a filling lunch on the go, or serve for dinner stuffed with slices of cooked chicken, tomatoes and pesto mayo with some baked sweet potato wedges. They make great burger buns too, and don’t get me started on fish finger sandwiches with tartare sauce.
Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, the world’s your oyster. Our favourites have 1 tbsp chopped rosemary added, but you can add cheese, other herbs like thyme or basil (ooh or a couple of tablespoons of pesto give a delicious flavour). You can add oats, honey and seeds to make delicious breakfast rolls, or coconut, chocolate, orange… whatever you like.
*One of the most interesting bits of being a part of the Bel Advisory Board was listening to a whole range of experts on health and nutrition discussing the Government’s recent SACN report (that’s the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) on carbohydrates, including sugars and fibre in our diets. The report actually recommends that 50% of our calories should come from starchy carbs, wholegrain if possible (remember, carbs include fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, lentils and pulses).
If you’re on a budget
Rye flour can be a more expensive choice, so consider swapping the rye out for strong brown bread flour.