Before I begin I should probably just let you know that this post was written on sunday (20th May) and since then I am feeling a little better. Now please continue …
I’m having one of those days…….you know when you wake up feeling wide awake and assume it’s probably around 7am so you start to get up, then you spy the clock out of the corner of your eye and your worst nightmare hits home…it’s 1am and you’ve been in bed for 2 hours!! I then spent the rest of the night waking up every 30 minutes or so and feeling pretty darn sorry for myself the next day.
Then, when it was actually time to get up, a few hours of revision was followed by my attempt to make my own recipe bread rolls. With just an idea and a feeling of adventure I began but very soon my lack of baking knowledge and need for a glass of wine and a nice hot bath took over and by the end I was surrounded by a pile of half decent almost passable but definitely not “shout about” bread rolls and I have tears in my eyes and a sick feeling in my gut. Because that is me out of time for making bread rolls, with a big exam looming and no more fennel I am done!
Now these aren’t a complete disaster, as far as a bread roll goes it is edible, in fact it is quite fine. But my idea as a whole really has not come across well, the flavours are muddled and the beautifully caramelised, sweet and sticky fennel seeds on the top are in fact burnt to a crisp and really better off scraped into the bin! Never the less I have 15 rolls and I am not one to waste food! So I will be eating them of course!
So this post is not just one massive excuse to my offering of a bread roll, this is infact the epitomy of my friday challenges…a chance to learn! Well… I think it started to go wrong when I cooked the fennel in a cup of vegetable stock and began to panic that maybe that would strip all of the flavour out, or make it too soggy. It seemed ok so I left it to cool to room temperature and then made the dough. Before the first rise I scrunched all of the fennel and zest of an orange into the dough and soon had what can only be described as a slimy ball of dough sliding around my kitchen top. I added flour…more flour….more flour untill I felt it was back to a consistency of dough I recognised then I started to shape it into rolls.
In comes Scott “I thought you let it rise once before shaping it”….. Me “No, do you, I don’t know I can’t remember”. Frantic scramble through my Jamie Oliver book. “Oh yeah I do, aahh”. I quickly squished all the perfectly shaped and weighed out rolls back into one big ball and leave it to rise. One hour later I re shaped them into rolls and then left to rise for a second time. At this point I’m feeling fine and the rolls are looking good!
I dry fried some fennel seeds in a pan untill lightly toasted then added sugar and the juice of an orange. This idea originated from my Braised Cabbage recipe because when I added the fennel seeds and sugar to the cabbage magic happened, I had to stop myself eating it all there and then…caramelised fennel seeds were the bomb!
My fennel seeds unfortunately started to clump together and when I did try and put them onto the rolls they wouldn’t come off the spoon, or my finger and I ended up squashing alot of rolls trying to get the seeds on to them. Never mind I thought, it would still turn out amazing, my faith was still in these rolls!
I followed the cooking method from my LEON Baking book and added ice cubes to a preheated oven and put the rolls in for around 17 minutes. When I took them out the first thing I noticed was that the fennel seeds were black; clumped black little bitter balls of charcoal fury ready to make you wince at every mouthful! (At this point I was on the phone to my mum who sensibly suggested I just scrape them off, but in my over tired bad mood I insisted the whole world was over and this bread was the end of my life, how could I put burnt fennel seeds on my blog!?!?).
I tore one open straight from the oven, burning my fingers and my mouth and of course the inside was under cooked. At this point I should have known this was coming. I popped them back in for 3 minutes then left them on the side to cool down. Later on, me and a very nervous looking Scott decided to try another roll, after Scott pointing out that it’s never an exciting moment when the chef presents you with food and says “This is going to be disgusting, tell me what you think?”. I instantly didn’t like it even with the seeds scraped off. The fennel flavour was lost and a weird texture, the orange didn’t mix well and the bread had an over powering taste of flour!
So I won’t be sharing my recipe this time, but I am giving (promising) an IOU for my own recipe bread roll. Not everything turns out how you imagine and sometimes life can get in the way of even the most dedicated blogger (in my case a rather important exam) but it’s important to remember to laugh about it, learn what you can and move on to the next challenge! Which I can reveal is “Artichoke”, a vegetable I have been dying to conquer for a long time!