There is nothing quite as inviting as the scent of freshly baked bread wafting through your home. For me this smell is often associated with the night before Eid when my mom usually pops two or three loaves into the oven. The bread is served at breakfast and again as a light supper when the whole family comes for their ritual Eid visit in the evenings.
Her recipe often gets rave reviews. It’s possibly the best bread you’ll eat. It’s savoury (of course) but with an almost cake-like texture. It’s soft and it tastes of comfort. At Eid it’s usually served with corned tongue or corned beef but a slice of it goes down just as well spread with a humble butter and cheese combination.
I’ve baked bread before, but nothing that tastes quite as lovely as my mother’s. Then again, what child doesn’t enjoy her mother’s food more that her own? Mothers are the people we often get our foodie inspiration from, right foodies?
A few Sundays ago, I decided to use her recipe to make bread rolls. It’s not written down anywhere – she makes it out of her head. Thankfully, I’ve noted the ingredients and remember enough of the method to give you all a coherent (hopefully) recipe.
It didn’t turn out exactly like my mother’s. She claims it did but she’s kind like that. I’ll definitely be making it again and often too. After all, practise makes perfect.
What I used:
7 cups flour (bread flour is probably ideal but all I had was cake flour which was good enough)
2 sachets of instant yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 to 2 tsp salt
Enough lukewarm milk to form a soft dough
How I put it together
Boil potatoes. Drain. Once soft, add the butter and mash. Let that cool slightly. What that happens, sift flour and salt and add the yeast and sugar in a bowl. Stir dry ingredients to distribute them evenly. To the slightly cooled, mashed potatoes add a beaten egg. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix. The milk should be lukewarm to allow the yeast to activate.
Add the milk to the mixture in the bowl and mix until it forms a soft dough. Knead for a little while but not too much. Form the dough into ball and rub some oil lightly over it. Place back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and leave in a warm place for about an hour. After an hour, it should have more than doubled in size.
At this point, knock it back slightly. Then shape into rolls or (if you don’t have the time, inclination or patience) simply divide the dough into 2 and make loaves of bread.
Allow the bread or rolls to prove while the oven heats up to 180°C.
The baking time depends on your oven. The rolls took 20-25 minutes in my oven and bread usually takes about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the loaf pan.