Soft and very resilient with notes of nutty sweetness and subtle sour, I like these rolls!
No kneading, only a bit of stirring and lots of time, and of course the best ingredients you can find, anyone with a bowl can make these rolls. You end up with heaps of taste and a terrific texture. In short, I love everything about these rolls. It’s a combination of recipes that got me inspired. I mixed and matched, added to and deleted from until I was totally satisfied with the result. The recipe is spread over two days. The starter is made in the evening, the rolls the following day.
Ingredients for the Starter
225 g whole wheat flour
225 g water
30 g (rye) sourdough starter*
Making the Starter
In a bowl stir together 225 grams of whole wheat flour with 225 grams of water at room temperature with 30 grams of the (rye) sourdough culture. Stir it for about 1 minute until all the ingredients are combined. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it preferment at room temperature. After a minimum of 12 hours it is ready to be used in the final dough.
*For the starter in this recipe I use a sourdough starter which is made with 100% whole grain rye flour. A sourdough starter based on rye flour is easier to maintain, it does not transform into a slurry when you forget about it, it is easier to stir because it has almost no gluten and it smells very very nice, a bit like berries. I maintain the starter as a ‘almost’ stiff starter. This way it stirs easy but does not add as much water to the dough as a poolish starter. It is also very forgiving in the amount you feed it. As I am a bit lazy in feeding, normally I only feed it once a week, after my weekend baking. I just give it a few table spoons of water and rye flour, stir, and ready! Check out our posting about making your own rye sourdough starter.
Ingredients for the Rolls
makes 12 rolls
Starter (480 g total weight)
425 g wheat flour / bread flour
115 g water
75 g buttermilk (or combination of yogurt and water 2/1)
25 g honey
10 g sea salt
50 g very soft butter
Making the Rolls
Put the starter in a large bowl, add the other ingredients and mix for about 1 minute (no kneading) until everything is combined and you have a very soft dough. You can do this by hand but if you do not want to get your hands dirty you can also combine the ingredients with the aid of your mixer, but keep the mixing to a minimum. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for one hour.
Now do a stretch and fold (a full letter fold, left over right, right over left, bottom over top, top over bottom; see our bread movie to observe this technique if you are not familiar with it) and again leave to rest for one hour. Do a second stretch and fold and a rest for one hour and then a third one, again followed by a one hour rest (see time table at bottom of post).
Preheat your oven to 220ºC / 430ºF (at what stage you preheat your oven depends on how long it takes for your oven to heat through, some take 30 minutes, some, like ours, with stone floors take a lot longer, up to two hours). The preparation time from this point until the bread actually goes into the oven is 1 hour.
Shaping time! Weigh the total amount of dough and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into rolls. Lay the rolls in an oiled dish or tray, leaving some space (2cm or 0.75″) between the individual rolls, so that they will just touch each other at the end of the final proofing. The tray I use is 30 cm x 40 cm / 12 inch x 16 inch. Spray them lightly with oil and cover with clingfilm. The final proofing should take at least one to two hours, very probably more, depending on the temperature in your room and the temperature of the dough (see our tips on dough temperature). When you think they have risen enough, you can test the rolls by using your finger to carefully make a very small dent in the dough. If the dent remains, the bread is ready to bake, if the indentation disappears within a few seconds, the dough needs a little bit more time. Please make sure the rolls are well risen, with these rolls my experience is there’s more chance of under than over proofing. If it is taking too long, you can put the tray on top of a warm surface. We sometimes put a tray on top of our Rofco oven or use our small Rofco oven as a proofing cabinet by preheating it for a few minutes to 25ºC / 77ºF. It retains this temperature for a long time because of the oven stones and isolation.
Now your rolls are ready for the oven. Try to create some steam in your oven by putting a small metal baking tray on your oven floor when you preheat the oven. Pour a quarter of a cup of hot water in the small baking tray immediately after putting the bread in the oven. If you are going to create steam with a baking tray, you also want preheat your oven a bit higher (10ºC / 20ºF), because you are going to lose some heat in the process. When you use this technique you have to turn down the oven to the original recipe setting after you put the bread in the oven.
After about 20 to 25 minutes of baking, depending on your oven, your rolls should be ready. Transfer onto a rack and leave to cool. These rolls also keeps very well in the freezer. But please make sure to eat at least one roll while still warm with some fresh real butter!
No Knead Sourdough Wheat Rolls Time Table
Day 1 22.00 h
Make starter let ferment for at least 12 hours at room temperature
Day 2 10.00 h
Make final dough
- approx. 10.00 h Starter + rest of ingredients – 1 minute stirring
- 1 hour rest
- 11.00 h Stretch and fold 1
- 1 hour rest
- 12.00 h Stretch and fold 2
- 1 hour rest
- 13.00 h Stretch and fold 3
- 1 hour rest
- 14.00 Shape into 12 rolls
- Final proofing (at least) 1 hour
- approx 15.00 baking 20 minutes
- approx 15.20 ready!