The Word for Food: Hot rolls (2008)

Joyce Irving, ed.: The Word for Food (2008)

Hot Rolls


c.15 fl. oz tepid watermeasuring funnel

1½ pounds of flourlarge mixing bowl

1 teaspoon gluten small mixing bowl

2 teaspoons salt (flat)water jug

2 teaspoons sugar (heaped)baking tray

2 teaspoons dried yeast (flat)

1 250 mg ascorbic acid tablet

Put sugar and a small amount of water in the small mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and leave it for ¼ to ½ hour until it starts frothing. Put the other ingredients in the larger bowl. Mix them with a spoon. Make a hollow and pour in the yeast, followed by c.12 fluid ounces of water. Mix with a spoon, then your hands, adding the rest of the water if necessary. The mixture should end up firm, not sloppy. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight. Remove the dough from the bowl next morning and punch it into a ball. This amount should make 12-13 3 oz rolls. Divide and flatten each roll, then roll them up and place them on a baking tray greased with butter. Put them in the airing cupboard covered with a napkin. Leave until they’ve grown to twice the size (this should take between ½ and 1 hour). Meanwhile heat oven to high (400%). Bake in the middle of the oven for twenty minutes, turning them halfway through. Serve hot.

This is my mother’s recipe for white-bread rolls. She used to make them every weekend when we were kids. We would lie about in the sitting room on Saturday mornings trying to look nonchalant until they came out of the oven, around eleven o’clock, when she would utter the inflammatory cry: “Hot rolls!”

We descended upon them like ravening wolves, trying to cram down as many as possible (the limit was four, I think). They were generally too hot to eat, so we would juggle them in our fingers until they cooled down just a little. Melting pats of butter inside them was one particularly delectable way to have them, but just plain, as they came, was my personal favourite.

She would also make a vast loaf (generally wholemeal) for us to devour at lunch. I doubt that any other bread will ever taste as good.


The Word for Food: Recipes and Anecdotes from members of the International Writers’ Workshop, and others. Edited by Joyce Irving (Palmerston North: Heritage Press Ltd., 2008): 98-99.

[374 wds]

The Word for Food (2008)

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