- 100ml (3fl oz) milk
- 225g (8oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp salt
- 40g (1½oz) butter, melted and cooled
- 3tsp dried active yeast or 1 x 7g sachet fast action yeast
- 4tsp caster sugar
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten to glaze
- 50g (2oz) poppy seeds to sprinkle, optional
- you will need
- x2 lightly oiled baking sheets
In a small pan bring the milk to just below the boil then turn off and allow to cool to until luke warm. When it is cooled, cream the dried active yeast with 3tbsp of the milk and the caster sugar until you have a smooth paste.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the butter, yeast mixture, beaten egg and two thirds of the remaining milk. You might not need all the milk but mix to form a soft dough and sprinkle on more milk if it feels dry when kneaded together in the bowl.
Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and springy to the touch. A little stickiness is good but if your dough feels too sticky at this point, knead in a handful more flour. Leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours in an oiled bowl covered with cling film until doubled in size.
Turn onto a floured worktop and briefly knead for another minute, then divide into 10 equal pieces keeping all the dough covered under oiled cling film. Shape the dough into small knots by gently rolling each piece into a sausage shape about 15cm (6in) long then gently tie it in a knot and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Leave to rise again under oiled cling film until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Brush the rolls with the egg glaze, sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until well risen, golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
If you are using fast action yeast, there is no need to mix the yeast with liquid so add it straight to the flour. When using fresh or dried active yeast it is important that the liquid you mix with it is not too hot as too high a heat will kill the yeast and your bread will not rise. Touch the liquid to test it is luke warm or blood temperature before adding to the yeast.