It is a cloudy autumn day in the middle of the week and I am at Johan & Nyström now, in Katajanokka. My new favourite place. My new favourite neighbourhood. One day when I have tons of money, I will move my kitchen here. I am actually having a rather down day, it might be the cloudy Helsinki or it might be because I didn’t sleep much last night. But then right before I left home to come here, I received a postcard from one of my dearest friends living in the UK and I smiled again. Hold on to your friends, always. They will take you up to the surface when you hit the bottom.
So, as you can see today’s story is not really about the recipe, but more about me. Actually the whole story behind baking these bread rolls is that I wanted to try my hands on some rolls and I thought walnut and dried cranberry would be a good combination. That’s all.
And yes, they turned out to be really delicious! I don’t like walnut in sweet recipes likes cakes much, but it adds a lot to savoury dishes, like bread or savoury sauces. And the dried cranberry makes you feel like there is some jam embedded in the bread! Especially if you eat the bread warm, with butter on. I adapted the recipe by Jenny Jones for bread rolls – I used white wheat flour instead of bread flour and I added the walnut and cranberry to her basic bread roll recipe. And I put some boiling water in the oven as I always do when I bake bread, to make steam inside.
So I am sitting in the middle of the cafe drinking tea – very good tea, reminds of one package of black tea that I was once given as a gift.. Many many months ago. Feels like a lifetime ago. I have a kimono dress that I am probably wearing in a wrong way – I could not figure out how to wrap the damn thing for hours. I must be looking like a freak with my sleepy face and all the rest of my looks. But.. I have good friends. Majestic friends. So I know I will be alright.
Anyway, bake these rolls. They are majestic too. Look at the texture. Full of surprises!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
(makes 8 rolls)
2 1/2 cups / 6 dl. wheat flour (vehnäjauho for readers in Finland)
1/4 tsp / 1.25 ml. active dry yeast
1 tsp / 5 ml. salt
1 cup / 2.4 dl. walnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped – if you leave walnuts and dried cranberry out of the picture, you can use the rest of this recipe for basic bread rolls
1 cup / 2.4 dl. dried cranberry
1 1/4 cups / 3 dl. hot water (but not boiling water) – you can use cold water and leave the dough in the fridge overnight if you want to prepare the dough in the evening and bake the rolls early in the morning for breakfast
1. In a bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
2. Add walnut and dried cranberry and stir.
3. Add water, stir until all dry ingredients get wet and it becomes a very sticky dough.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot in the kitchen (but not hot) for 3 hours.
5. After 3 hours, it will look like this.
6. Put flour generously on the surface that you will prepare the rolls. Put dough on the surface and using a dough scraper (or if not, using your hands, or a floured spatula) fold the dough for about 12 times. If it sticks to the surface, just add more flour (but add little by little, not a handful each time).
7. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
8. Put a damp towel on the balls and let them rise. In the meantime preheat the oven to 225C.
9. When the oven reaches the temperature put some boiling water in an oven-proof pan and put that in the base of the oven. Put the bread rolls in the oven, in middle rack and bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. When they are baked, take out of the oven and let them cool down to room temperature before eating.