Little salted bread rolls

Little salted bread rolls

Focaccine

By
From
Venice
Makes
10
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

In the bacari these small rolls are often stuffed to the brim with thinly sliced prosciutto or speck and gorgonzola dolce. This recipe will also make a whole large flat focaccia that can then be cut into squares if you prefer. For a better flavour to the bread make the dough the night before you need it and leave it in the bowl in the fridge. Remove the dough from the fridge the next day and shape into rolls straight away. It will take a little longer to rise from being stored in the cold. This will give higher acidity and larger holes in the focaccine. The rolls will be quite firm to bite and therefore good with fillings you can chew such as sliced cured meat, bacon and grilled aubergine. They are just irresistible while still warm.

Tip: this bread doesn’t keep well but if you want to eat it the next day, allow it to cool then wrap tightly in plastic wrap to stop it drying out. It can also be frozen at this point. Any leftover rolls that have become dry can be split and toasted.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons fine salt
1 sachet dry yeast
or 14g fresh yeast
350ml water, tepid
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes, to scatter over before baking

Method

  1. Mix the flour and fine salt, and dried yeast if using, together in a large mixing bowl. If you are using fresh yeast, blend it into the water with your fingers until no lumps remain. Add the water to the flour and combine well using a plastic scraper or your hand to form a soft, pliable ball of dough. If it is too hard and dry add a couple of tablespoons of water and only add more flour if the dough is really sticky; the dough should be only just dry enough to leave the bowl clean when you remove it, but not so dry that it is tough to work with.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough by pulling, stretching and folding it for around 10 minutes until it becomes more elastic and bounces back to the touch. Fold the edges of the dough underneath itself so that you have a smooth ball. Dust the bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour to prevent sticking and place the dough inside. Sprinkle a little more flour over the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draught-free spot for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in volume. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and using your plastic scraper cut it into 10 even sized pieces. I do this on a digital scale to make it easier. Weigh the whole ball of dough and divide by 10 so that you know the ideal weight of each roll. Make each one into a ball by tucking the edges underneath and then rolling between your hands. Put the balls on to a floured baking tray at least 4 cm apart. Use your fingertips to make indentations in the tops of all the rolls, then drizzle a little oil over each one wiping it over the surface so that the they are covered in oil. This will prevent them getting a crust. Return the dough to its warm place to rise until it is about half as high again – 45 minutes to 1 hour. It should look puffy with little bubbles visible on the surface.
  4. Sprinkle the dough balls with the sea salt flakes and bake in the oven for 15–17 minutes or until golden brown, then allow to cool in a basket or on a wire rack so that they cannot sweat underneath.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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