It would be lovely to have an emotional attachment to every recipe in this book, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes I spot baked goods when I am at a restaurant or farmer’s market and I think, ‘Ooh, yes ... I like the look of that!’ and feel inspired to come home and write a recipe based on whatever has tickled my fancy. This recipe for rich sweet rolls came from such an inspiration. They look fabulous and are just that little bit different.
Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave, then set aside to cool a little. Warm the milk in a small pan or in the microwave.
Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and maple syrup on one side and the yeast to the other side. Add 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and three-quarters of the warm milk (about 225ml) to the bowl, and then gently move the flour around with your fingertips. Continue to add the remaining milk, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl and the dough is soft but not sticky. Keep checking the texture as you add the milk, as you will probably not need all of it.
Spray the work surface with a little oil, then tip the dough onto it and start kneading. Continue to knead for 5–10 minutes (10 minutes if doing this by hand or 5 minutes if you are using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment).
To check that the dough has been kneaded enough, pick the dough up and then fold the outer edges of it underneath to make a ball with a nice taut top. Then cover your finger with flour and prod the side of the dough, making an indent about 5mm deep – the dough should spring back all the way if it has been kneaded enough. This shows that the gluten in the dough has been worked enough and is nice and stretchy and ready for the next stage. If it is not quite ready, knead the dough for a few more minutes.
When the dough is ready, lightly spray a large bowl with oil. Put the dough into the bowl and cover it with cling film that has also been sprayed with a little oil. The cling film should be airtight but not taut, to give the bread enough room to rise. Leave it in a warm, but not hot, place to rise until it has doubled in size – this will take at least 1 hour but could take longer depending on the temperature of the room.
When your dough is ready, drop it onto a lightly floured surface. Then fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Form the dough into an oblong by flattening the dough out slightly, and then roll it out into a square, slightly larger than 40 x 40cm. Brush 2 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough square.
Using a large sharp knife and a ruler, trim down the square until it is exactly 40cm square and then cut it into ten strips, each 4cm wide. Stack five of the strips on top of each other and set aside. Then stack the five remaining strips on top of each other in another pile, giving you two piles that look exactly the same.
Take one of the stacks and arrange it so the longest side is facing you. Using a sharp knife, cut this stack into eight slices, each 4cm wide. Repeat with the other stack, giving you sixteen little piles of layered bread dough.
Quickly brush the muffin tins with the rest of the melted butter and put one of the dough piles into the hole, cut-side up. Repeat with the rest of the dough piles. Spray cling film lightly with oil and use it to cover the dough, so that it is airtight but not taut to give the dough a little room to rise. Leave the muffin tins in a warm place for about 1 hour or so until the piles have doubled in size and filled out the muffin holes.
Remove the cling film from the tins and
Take the fan tans out of the oven and leave them to cool a little before serving.
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.