Gathering, stirring, sifting, kneading and forming. Then baking. I am awfully fond of the idea of making my own bread.
Breaking into a wholesome, risen mound fresh from the oven is a thing of true beauty. It’s kind. It feeds your soul. It’s an honest, simple love.
My Dad is particularly fond of the baking process, his crusty ciabattas, rustic olive loaves and general doughy escapades never cease to fulfil and inspire. Although I am yet to really get into traditional bread baking, I have been devoting a considerable degree of affection towards making soda bread of late. Soda bread uses baking soda as it’s raising agent, rather than yeast. It’s a quick and rather fabulous process. And I’m a little hooked.
I may or may not presently have a freezer full of soda rolls.
It all started when I was perusing Delicious Magazine a couple of months ago. One lazy weekend afternoon, my eyes flickered to a picture of Katie Quinn Davies‘ Seeded Irish Brown Bread. I wanted to smash my face into the picture, it’s rustic divinity was that enticing. An extreme reaction? Possibly. Nevertheless, it has resulted in two months of soda bread fun in our house. Hence the freezer situation.
These brown seeded soda rolls are my favourite version to come out of my doughy escapades. They’re wholesome, nutty and earthy. They’re rugged and rustic, and a whole playground of textures – crisp, light edges, slightly moist centre, crunchy seeds…
And when you hold a toasty, wholesome bun in your hands and then tear it open, you’re filled with warmth, with comfort. Breath it in…it’s an honest, simple love.
These rolls are excellent served warm with soup. I imagine they’d also be wonderful alongside soft-boiled eggs, or maybe with a sharp cheddar. Some avocado would be lovely. My most favourite way to enjoy these rolls recently is toasted, with butter and vegemite.
Honest, simple love.
Makes 6 rolls.
1/3 cup Sunflower Seeds, plus more for scattering on top
1/3 cup Pepitas, plus more for scattering on top
1 & 3/4 cup Plain Flour, plus more for scattering
2 cups Wholemeal Flour
1 heaped tablespoon Flaxmeal
1 & 1/4 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 generous teaspoon Poppy Seeds
1 generous teaspoon Sesame Seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper (you might need two trays, depending on how big your oven is).
2. In a large non-stick pan, toast the sunflower seeds and pepitas over low heat for ~4 minutes until golden and toasty. Allow to cool.
3. Sift the flours and bicarb soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the flaxmeal, salt and cooled, toasted seeds and stir to combine, making a well in the centre.
4. Add the buttermilk and oil to the well, then stir to create a sticky dough.
5. Turn out your dough onto a generously floured surface. Separate your dough into 6 even mounds.
6. One by one, knead your dough briefly until it comes together, adding more flour if required, and form into round rolls (avoiding any cracks across the top). Place the rolls onto the baking tray, ensuring they are spaced ~10cm apart to allow them to grow.
7. Using a sharp knife, cut across the top of the rolls (~1cm deep) in a criss-cross shape. Brush the top of the rolls with water and then scatter a small handful of sunflower seeds and pepitas, as well as the poppy and sesame seeds, over the top of the rolls.
8. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes (covering with foil at ~25 minutes or when perfectly golden brown). You’ll know they’re cooked when the bottom is hollow, and the centre is fluffy (although the centre will remain slightly moist even when cooked).
These rolls freeze excellently once cooked. To serve, I remove them from the freezer and defrost in the microwave for ~45 seconds (on defrost setting) or until the bottom feels warm. I then cut them open and toast in the oven or under the grill until golden brown.