It may be hot in Rome in August, but still not quite hot enough to stop baking bread. It becomes more of a tactical strike: contemplate what to bake, assemble dough quickly and retreat immediately to a cooler area with an iced drink. Leave dough to rise in the 30C kitchen with minimal intervention. Just fold dough whenever you need more iced tea and need to enter the kitchen. Baking only happens early evening, once the temperature starts to drop, but stealthily, with windows wide open but the kitchen lights off, to avoid alerting the mosquitoes next door……. (Their condominio gardeners are heavy-handed with watering, but with half their building on holiday over the long Ferragosto weekend, the mosquitos were suddenly hungry enough to venture over the hedge to our building.)
I had made Barley sourdough bread rolls recently, but wanted to see if I could make them a bit lighter. Just a small batch, for breakfast for two for a couple days. So I played around with the ratios, and here’s how it went:
Barley sourdough bread rolls, round two
100 g rye sourdough starter (100% hydration)
300 g water
150 g barley flour
250 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
Sunflower seeds for sprinkling on top
Mix ingredients and stir well, by hand or with a stand mixer, until dough comes together and is stretchy and slightly glossy. You might need more water, depending on your flour. Cover and let dough rise until doubled; how long depends on your starter and kitchen temperature. It took my dough about two-three hours in a warm kitchen.
Fold dough a few times and knead slightly. Split dough into 10-11 parts and shape into bread rolls. Put them in a baking paper-covered tray, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for an hour or two, you will see them rising. When ready to bake, heat oven to 230C. Brush bread rolls lightly with water just before they go into the oven, and sprinkle on some sunflower seeds, if you wish. Press them slightly into the dough, or they will just fall off. Bake 20 minutes on middle rack until golden and done. Cool on rack before slicing.
Notes: I was really pleased with these! Nice crusty exterior, better internal structure and very good flavour.