Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bread Baking Babes bake Knotty rolls!

It's been a while since I've made rolls but Ilva (Lucullian Delights) in our Kitchen of the Month made us sit at her kitchentable and spun a tale of knotting the most delicious rolls. At first glance you might think of this as just another nice roll. 

Nope! These are an example of why the workings of flour, yeast and water never ceases to amaze me. You know where you look at a recipe and think mm been there done that? And the outcome is different from what you expect? Or one of the ingredients listed makes you wonder: what is that going to do....

The secret ingredient in these rolls for me was lard. Yes. L.A.R.D. I didn't have it and didn't know if I could get some but never got to the point of shopping around for it because see, I had this tub of duck fat in my fridge. Don't look at me like that doctor, I declare it's left over from Christmas and you wouldn't want me to throw food out now do you? Besides when used modestly... I think it made these rolls into lovely soft and tender bread, a fine textured crumb, I thought I tasted a hint of added flavour through the duck fat. Yummy. Kids loved me! (Having teenagers that's quite a feat and very welcome!). 
Recipe here as well as at Ilva's, my notes in red.
knotted roll BBB
(From: Pane. Il piacere di preparare pane in casa by Anna Gennari)

for the biga:
500 g /1,1 lb normal bread flour
5 g/0,17 oz fresh yeast (pinch or less than 1/4 tsp instant yeast
240 ml/1 cup water
- Dissolve the yeast in a little water and quickly work the dough together. 
- Put it in a high container, cover with a half closed lid or a kitchen towel and leave for 15-24 hours.

for the final dough
All of the biga (Somehow misread/thought and only added 250 grams....)
1kg/ 2,2 lb 00 flour
450-550 ml/1,9-2,3 cup water, lukewarm
30 g fresh yeast (I used 2.1/4 tsp instant yeast, based on amount of flour and biga)
25 gr salt (I used 2.1/4 tsp, again based on amount of flour/biga)
50 g/ 1,7 oz extra-virgin olive oil
60 g/ 2,1 oz lard (duck fat!)
25 g/ 0,88 oz honey

pacman knotty roll for dinner
- Put the flour either in a big bowl or on a baking board, add the lard and mix it with your fingers until it has 'crumbled' and is completely mixed with the flour.
- Dissolve the yeast in little tepid water and add it to the flour. Mix as well as you can.
- Mix salt, olive oil and honey with the finger warm water and add it to the flour. Now work it it until it holds together and then add the biga. (I prefer adding the biga to the warm water as well to help incorporate in the flour mixture, and my instant yeast was mixed in at this point too)
- Work the dough until it is smooth and doesn't stick. By hand it takes between 5-10 minutes. You'll get a wonderfully soft and smooth dough, just barely tacky. 
- Put it into a big bowl, cover it with plastic film and leave to rise until it has doubled. 
- Now take up the dough and divide it into smaller parts, about 100 g/3,5 oz each, and roll into strands about 25 cm/9,8 in long.
- Put the knots on baking sheets and leave to rise until they have doubled in size and bake in a pre-heated oven (200°C/390°F) for 30-35 minutes. (I baked at a higher temperature 220C convection oven for 17-20 minutes. No particular reason, I just did *blush*).

 *** To make the knots.... I tried following the pics... I tied myself into knots.... we played Memory with the buns when they were finished.... tried to find two look-a-likes. 

I think I have to direct you to Ilva for pictures and text to make them look like the original. Any way knotted these are great. Bake them and get yourself wonderful rolls and a Baking Buddy Badge! For details see Ilva's post. (And while you're at it, go and see how the other Babes knotted, blogs in the sidebar!).

knotty rolls BBB


  1. mmmm duck fat! That sounds lovely and I am really happy you like these little knotties! They look great!

  2. They look beautiful, I only had two that looked alike.
    Ooh did you have to add all the biga?? I didn't do that either, didn't it say 250 g, it did at some point didn't it?
    anyway that picture with the burger... is calling my name real loud!

  3. They look fine to me . And don't they have to look like they were handmade ?In stead of all the same factory-look? At least you have nice table conversation with these knots !
    Mooie blog heb je !!Had ik nog niet gezien . (foei , ik weet het )

  4. These look beautiful! I've bookmarked Ilva's recipe and can't wait to try making it! I WISH we had duck fat to use. I couldn't be more envious. Alas, we just have regular pig lard from the butcher.


    P.S. By "normal bread flour", do you mean all-purpose or high-gluten bread flour?

  5. I love them! They are so cute and I love that no two look the same.
    Perfect buns, just lovely. I am eyeing that sammie at the bottom.. it's calling my name.

  6. @Elizabeth, I used our Dutch regular bread flour which is comparable with your ap-flour.

    (Sounds strange but our Dutch ap flour is too weak to bake bread. It can be done but flavour/texture wise I don't like it. So whenever an American author/recipe calls for ap flour I substitute with our bread flour. When they mention high gluten flour I go hunting) :-D

  7. Thank you for the confirmation, Karen. I have just been staring at various books as well as Ilva's post and noticed that the original recipe calls for 00 flour. Carol Field writes that "if you're determined" to mimic 00 flour, mix "1 part pastry, 3 parts all-purpose" but that (as you have just confirmed) all-purpose is the closest to 00 in North America.

    "Bread flour" to me means a strong flour with higher protein percentage at around 13% (I think it might be labelled "Manitoba flour" in some parts of Europe) as opposed to the ~11% for our all-purpose flour and ~9% for cake flour.


  8. Your rolls turned out so beautifully! I think knotting them up was the best part. Well, eating them, too.

  9. OH Great minds! I used mine for burger buns too.

    Your little knots are perfect

  10. Another BBBabe with duck fat? You guys are killing me! Beautiful looking rolls, thanks for the instant yeast conversion too!

  11. Duck fat -- that was so clever! Since I'm determined to bake these again with some variations, I think that duck fat will be one of those things I'd like to try.

    Your knots look perfectly fine to me, and so does the burger/sandwich.

  12. (whispering: Did you brush them with duck fat AND butter before and after baking like I did too. I loved them!) Funny I think I see several of yours that look just like mine ;o) now what does that say.

  13. I agree with Lien...that burger looks delicious...

    The breads look fabulous!


  14. good idea to use the buns as a burger bun! i will have to try that.

  15. Dat ziet er lekker uit! Kan je in Nederland "Cake flour" vinden? Ik breng het altijd mee wanneer ik kom.

    Vraagje voor je: heb je toevallig een goed recept voor ontbijtkoek? Alvast bedankt!

  16. They really are cute rolls! Yum!


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