Want a simple & tasty way to make a birthday breakfast feel a little bit special?
Just make a nice bread dough ... see below
Instead of spreading the buns out on a baking tray - lay them out in the shape of the initial of the birthday person - it's Justin's birthday today hence the 'J'.
If the dough balls just have a small space between them, when they rise they will join nicely together to form the letter.
After baking for about 20 minutes you have a large and tasty birthday treat.
4 cups of strong plain bread flour (keep a little aside to spread on the worktop)
1 cube of fresh yeast (50gm) or 1 sachet of dried easy action yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 - 1.5 cups of warm milk and water mixed
optional - 1/4 cup of melted butter
This is super easy if you have a food processor or strong mixer.
Fresh yeast is my preferred choice but easy blend dried yeast works well too.
The temperature of the liquid is crucial. Too hot and you kill the yeast, too cool and the yeast never wakes up.
1. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of the food processor - or a bowl if you are making by hand.
2. Measure 1 cup of the liquid, test to make sure it is a warm tepid.
3. Either: stir the fresh yeast into the liquid OR mix the easy blend dried yeast into the flour.
4. Add the warm liquid (milk/water/butter) to the flour and then keep adding extra liquid until the dough holds together and feels nicely elastic. (About 1 minute in a food processor and 10 minutes kneading by hand)
It is hard to say the exact amount of liquid - flours vary and room conditions affect this. You should feel the dough is elasticky and not sticking to your fingers. If you have added too much liquid then just add more flour until it kneads together nicely. When kneading by hand, spread some flour onto the worktop so the dough doesn't stick to it.
5. After the kneading, place the dough into a large mixing bowl, cover with cling film and a tea towel. Place in a warm place to rise for about an hour. (Next to a radiator or in a warm spot)
6. When the dough has risen and doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knead by hand for a minute or two. This is to knock the air out of the dough.
Now divide the dough up into eight balls. Then halve them to make 16 balls. Lay the balls out onto a buttered/oiled baking sheet in the shape of the initial you want to create.
The dough balls should be about 1 cm apart.
7. Leave the dough on the baking sheet with a tea towel covering them for about 30 minutes. I usually turn the oven on (200 C) at this point and place the tray of buns on top of the oven so they keep warm but not too hot.
8. After 30 minutes, brush the bun tops with milk.
9. Pop the tray into the oven at 200 C for about 15 - 20 minutes.
10. Take out of the oven and lay on a pretty tea towel in front of the Birthday person.