- wonderful crusty full-flavoured rolls
Guinness & Herb Rolls
Supermarkets will usually let you have fresh yeast for free from their bakery.
Fresh yeast is all part of the alchemy and romance of bread making and I prefer to use it. Don’t worry if you can’t get it. Fresh and dried yeast works equally well.

QUITE EASY, MAKES approximately 12 rolls
Preparation 5 minutes (kneading 10 minutes)
Proving 2 x 1 hours (approx)
Cooking 20 to 25 minutes in a very hot oven

  • 300mL Guinness or stout
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g of yeast (fresh or dried)
  • 10g of salt
  • 10g of herbs de Provence
  • a glug of olive oil

The first time you make bread it will seem a palaver but if you get into a routine you will find it remarkably relaxing and very rewarding. Do persevere!
Measure everything out the first time you make bread but consciously memorise what the quantities look like. Once you become a regular bread maker, it should be possible to measure by eye.
As long as the measurements are approximate everything should be fine. Develop a feel for the correct texture.
This bread recipe uses the ’sponge’ method and is best started the night before.

Start by weighing out all your ingredients
1. Mix 1/3 of the white flour, the Guinness and the yeast in a bowl whisking until you have a smooth batter. Leave covered overnight in a warm place (this is the sponge).
2. The next morning you should come down to a bubbling yeasty brew.
NOTE : If you are short of time an hour in a warm spot should be all you need to get the sponge going. Especially if you use fresh yeast.
3. Mix the sponge with all the other ingredients.
TIP: I find a table knife the best way to start off mixing but then use your hands.
4. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface (wooden preferably) and knead for about 10 minutes. The mix will start off quite sticky but it should gradually become silken as the gluten in the flour begins to work.
5. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or bin liner.
6. When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour in a warm kitchen), gently ‘knock it back’. Knead again briefly then cut and shape it into about 12 rolls. (you could of course just make one or two loaves)
7. Dust a baking sheet with flour (I tend to use rye flour) and arrange the rolls with plenty of space between them.
8. Dust the rolls and cover with a bin liner. Leave them somewhere warm for a second rising until doubled in size.
9. Heat the oven to 240°C. Place a tray in the bottom of the oven and add a mug of water from a hot kettle just before you put the rolls in the oven.
10. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The rolls should have a crisp crust and sound hollow when you tap them. (Check them after 10 minutes and turn the oven down slightly to 200°C if they are cooking too quickly).
11. Turn the rolls out onto a rack and allow to cool.

• Keep everything warm
• The more you knead the better the bread
• Avoid draughts (cover the dough)
• Bake in a very hot oven
• Use the ‘steam method’ for a great crust
• Avoid a soggy bottom! - turn the bread out onto a rack to cool

Once you get in the swing you can use all sorts of different flours and different flavourings.
Do Experiment.
Below is the baker's standard mixing formula. This will make 2 large loaves.

  • 1kg flour
  • 600g liquid
  • 20 g yeast
  • 20g salt
  • 20mL oil
  • 20 g flavourings

You will note the Guinness bread recipe is based of this formula but uses ½ quantities.

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