“I judge a restaurant by the bread, and by the coffee.” – Burt Lancaster

For those of you that don’t follow me on the major social media networks; firstly, why not? and secondly, you’ve been missing out on some different types of bread recipes I’ve been trialing. I was given the criteria of producing 4 different breads a day for the restaurant, and most people would just have done white, brown, a flavoured white & brown.


But in an age where baking has been the fashionable past time of recent years, that isn’t enough any more. There needs to be flavours & techniques as well as style & substance. Do a simple thing well, rather than a complex one mediocre, has been my mantra for a few years now and bread making is no different. Such is the importance of bread with restaurants, many a great chef has pontificated on the subject:

Former 3 Michelin starred chef, Pierre Koffmann allegedly said:

Serve good bread and all will be well.

Whilst American legend Julia Child, is quoted as saying:

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Plenty of chefs will tell you that you need to love and nurture the dough, as this get transferred to the bread, after all it’s a living breathing thing.

For most of the recipes below, you will need some ferment, which I’ve described how to make in a previous bread post: How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

The Recipes

What dried onions look like.

Onion bread

  • 1350g Strong bread flour
  • 50g Fresh yeast
  • 25g Sea salt
  • 25g Sugar
  • 50g dripping / butter (if making for vegetarians), diced into small cubes
  • 250g Ferment
  • 900ml Water
  • 100g Dried onions

Combine in a large bowl (or mixer bowl, if you have one) the flour, salt, sugar and dripping. Thoroughly mix together, rubbing in the dripping as you would for pastry.

Add the dried onions & the ferment, loosely incorporate before gradually adding the water & kneading for 10minutes. The dough should be slightly wetter than normal, this is what you’re looking for.

Place in a large bowl, so the dough will have room to prove. Clingfilm the bowl tightly all the way around with multiple layers.

Prove overnight in the fridge. The reason the dough needs to be slightly wetter than normal & the overnight proving, is so that the dried onions can absorb the extra moisture & permeate the flavour through the dough.

The following morning, remove the dough from the fridge & knock back (knock all the air out of it & give it a good stretch). Next cut & weigh into appropriate size lumps, obviously these will affect the cooking times. For individual rolls I normally go for 55g-60g which will take 11minutes at 220°C, in a non-fan assisted oven. For 1lb (450g) loaves, 230°C for 35-45minutes.

Roll the dough to the require shape, being careful not to over work it. Cover with a warm damp cloth or lightly greased cling film to prove for the 2nd time. When the dough has doubled in size then it’s ready for the preheated oven.

  • Rolls at 55-60g – 11minutes at 220°C
  • Loaves at 450g – 35-45minutes at 230°C

An extension of this recipe is the ‘Cheese & Onion’ rolls I tweeted. For this flavour add 200g of Gruyere cheese & 1 tsp of paprika after the overnight proving stage & knead into the dough.


Cheese & onion rolls

Mini Lentil loaves

  • 600g Strong bread flour
  • 50g Granary flour
  • 500g Cooked lentils du pays
  • 200g Ferment
  • 30g Fresh yeast
  • 7g Sea salt
  • 50g Honey
  • 300ml Warm water
  • 1 Dsp wholegrain mustard

Lentil mini loaves, please click for a larger image

Preheat oven to 220°C

Dissolve the honey & yeast in the warm water. Cling film and leave to start to ferment (bubbles rising & a foam appearing on the surface).

Combine in a large bowl (or mixer bowl, if you have one) the flours, salt, lentils & grain mustard, mix until full incorporated. Then add the ferment & gradually add the fermenting honey/water mix.

Knead for 10minutes, then prove in a warm place covered with either clingfilm or a damp cloth.

When the dough has doubled in size, knock back and cut into 55-60g size portions. Put into lightly greased mini loaf tins, if you don’t have these, try using a muffin tray instead; same taste, different shape.

Again, prove until double in size then bake for 11minutes. Once cooked, remove from the tins to prevent getting a soggy bottom (nobody likes a soggy bottom, 🙂  ).

Pain de Ruecht

  • 290g Ferment
  • 950ml Warm water
  • 10g Fresh yeast
  • 1.2kg White strong flour
  • 300g Rye flour
  • 30g Sea salt
  • 30g Fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine all the ingredients, except the water & the fennel seeds.

Gradually add the water and knead into a dough for about 10minutes.

Place in a large bowl, so the dough will have room to prove. Clingfilm the bowl tightly all the way around with multiple layers & prove overnight in the fridge.

The following morning, knock back, divide & shape between 4, 1lb loaf tins. Brush with milk and scatter the dough with the fennel seeds. Prove the dough for a 2nd time until doubled in size then bake for 30 minutes.

The Technique

Whilst I was in this bread making phase, a few people asked how I made the piccolo white rolls. It is quite hard to describe, particularly on Twitter, so I roped in the services of a commis to take some pictures whilst I rolled the bread. I do hope this is of some use.



Please click to see a larger image

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