Whenever I make a roux, I am reminded of a line from “The Young Ones” TV series…
Rick: You know, it is amazing what you can come up with with just flour and water.
Vyvyan: Yeah. Glue.
But this is the glue that is going to bind the ingredients in this bread into something soft and luscious! Wonderfully fluffy, shreddable bread that stays fresh for days.
Makes 8 sandwich rolls, 12 dinner rolls or 16 mini slider rolls
30g (scant 1/4 cup) flour
150g (scant 2/3 cup) water
Whisk together the flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and allow to cool completely.
150g (scant 2/3 cup) milk, lukewarm
1 x 7g (1/4oz) sachet active dry yeast
25g (2 tbsp) granulated white sugar
450g (3 3/5 cups) flour
6g (1 tsp) salt
42g (3 tbsp) butter, room temperature
all the roux from above
1 medium egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
Put the milk in a bowl or jug with the yeast and sugar and set aside until it becomes frothy, about 5 minutes.
Put flour, salt and butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on medium speed until the butter is fully incorporated into the flour, about 3 minutes.
Add the roux and the egg and mix until combined, about 3 minutes.
Add the yeast mixture, mix until combined then knead for about 10 minutes by hand or 8 minutes in a stand mixer, until you have a smooth, very soft dough.
Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about an hour.
Punch the dough down, turn it out and cut it into equal portions (depending on the size you want), press each portion out as far as you can into rectangles, fold them twice into parcels – stretch to 9 x 15cm (3 1/2 x 6″) and fold to about 6 x 9cm (2 1/3 x 3 1/2″) for 8 sandwich rolls – and put them on a tray lined with baking paper. Cover them loosely with some plastic wrap lightly brushed with oil and let them rise in a warm place again, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F).
Bake sandwich rolls for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Dinner rolls or slider rolls will not take as long.
When done, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.