These bread buns may look all sweetness and light but they’re actually little hellraisers, full of lager. Together with wholemeal flour, the beer adds an incredible depth of flavour which adds a whole new dimension to lunchtime sandwiches.
The recipe is a Paul Hollywood one (from How to Bake) and is based on the same principles set out here. Start off with 400g of strong white flour, 100g of strong wholemeal flour, 10g of salt, 10g of instant yeast and 30g of softened unsalted butter. Pour in at least 300ml of good beer, I needed the whole bottle. This is Hell’s Lager, brewed within walking distance of my house. It’s very delicious.
Bring it all together, adding more beer if you need. Then knead on an oiled surface for at least ten minutes (a Kitchenaid and dough hook came in handy here). Leave to rise, covered in cling film, for at least two hours. I went for three.
Once it’s risen, knock it back to get any big air bubbles out. Shape into fourteen round rolls (these should be about 60g each of you’re being precise about it). Arrange six buns around one in the middle with a little space between them and then leave to prove again, covered loosely in clingfilm for about an hour. They should grow together. Heat the oven to 210°C.
Make three little snips in each bun with scissors (I think this helps the shape in the oven but it’s just quite fun to go at bread dough with scissors) and then bake for 30 minutes. They’ll go quite dark and should sound hollow when tapped underneath.
The hops in the beer add a rich, almost bitter, taste which goes perfectly with ham or strong cheese and makes a good old-fashioned butty.