Make Them Softer : Mini Walnut Bread Rolls

Walnut Mini Rolls // Mono+Co Mini Walnut Bread Rolls // Mono+Co Make Them Softer: Mini Walnut Bread Rolls // Mono+Co Make Them Softer : Mini Walnut Bread Rolls // Mono+Co

For the past few months, I have been on a bread baking spree converting a few bread recipes to include mashed potatoes as an additive.  This walnut roll’s  original recipe is from a Japanese baker/author Backe Akiko, whose backyard garage cafe I really envy.  Her recipes requires only basic ingredients, but I wish they have a more “squishable” bite.

Enter the mashed potatoes.

I halved the original recipe, tweaked the flour and water amount with added potato and the end result is a softer bun.  As the dough is quite wet, I suspect I might have used easily another 2-3 grams of butter when oiling my hands and work top to make the handling of the dough easier without sticking.

I served them with Japanese curry for breakfast and thought they made a perfect match, although the bread rolls can also be great on their own too, or simply add a spread of butter for a quick on the go snack.

~ Enjoy!


largely adapted from Backe's book here

60g mashed potatoes**
100g bread flour
 1/2 tablespoon sugar
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon instant yeast
 40g water***
 2g chilled butter
 25g walnuts, chopped

** Potatoes are boiled, mashed and cooled to room temperature before use.
*** You may like to use the starchy water left behind from boiling the potatoes with, cooled to room temperature.

In a mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast with a hand whisk to mix well the dry ingredients together.  Add mashed potatoes, and start the mixer running with a dough hook on the lowest speed.

Slowly drizzle the cooled potato water into the mixture with a pouring cup, or spoon by spoon, and when the mixture gathers into a ball, stop adding water.  As the quantity of ingredient is really quite small for the dough hook to reach in the big mixer bowl, halfway through the liquid addition, it will be a good idea to stop the mixer and use a spoon to manually incorporate the wet and dry ingredients together, otherwise you may end up adding too much water. Add butter and knead the dough till window pane stage.

Pour all the 25g chopped walnuts into the mixer to incorporate the nuts into the dough.  The dough will be wet and sticky, but still manageable with oiled hands/fingers.  Stop the mixer, and place dough in a greased bowl for its first proof, around 45 minutes.

The dough would have risen to about twice its original size after 45 minutes, punch down the dough to deflate it, and transfer the dough to a clean work top.  Grease the work top if the dough is too sticky.  Divide the dough into 3 portions, roughly roll them into balls, place on work top, cover and let the dough relax for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, deflate to squeeze out any air bubbles trapped in the dough balls, and then shape them into balls again, and arrange them in a greased 8″x3.5″x3″ rectangular cake tin.  Let it go through its final proof before baking, covered and placed in a draft free place, around 45 minutes.

When ready to bake, make sure that the oven has been preheated to 190C.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the bread are golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on rack before serving.  If you want a soft crust, brush melted butter over the bread now while they are fresh hot out of the oven.

If not eaten immediately, store in an airtight container to keep the bread rolls soft after they have cooled down.


Walnut Wholemeal Bread

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Unlike most home bread makers I know, my bread making routine did not take off well with a bread making machine.  The model I bought produced bread with a synthetic aroma that I couldn’t quite figure out what it was even till now.  As it was a discontinued model that went for a song, I had no after sales service to rely on.

For a while, I thought my recipes were wrong.  Yeast was not a familiar ingredient then.  I figured I had probably put in too much yeast, cos I could not pinpoint what other ingredient could attribute to that strange smell the whole time when the bread was in the machine.  After throwing about 5 loaves away, I gave up troubleshooting the recipe, and decided that yeast was just not my kind of ingredient. And along the way, concluded that bread making machines make strange smelling bread.

It was not until I got a mixer which came with the dough hook, that eventually turn me into an avid bread maker.  The breads I kneaded with the mixer and baked in the oven no longer emit that strange smell, so I could safely conclude that there was indeed something wrong with my bread machine.  Although I wished I could handle a dough from start to finish like this, the mixer made the task too easy, plus my hands are too warm to handle the dough.  A half machine homemade bread is still better than a factory produced one anyway.  No E-some-number ingredients. No Preservatives.  Just flour, salt, water and yeast.  Plus any ingredients that I like.

I am beginning to get too comfortable with this Champion’s Milk Toast recipe, so I started adapting it to bake a healthier wholemeal version.  My first not-so-successful attempt, to replace the bread flour completely with wholemeal flour, ended up with a super dense loaf.  So this time I tried with a plain flour and wholemeal flour mixture.

The first proof went well enough to encourage me to added some chopped walnuts into the dough during final shaping stage.  I decided not to use my usual “swiss roll” shaping method to create a neat looking loaf, but with this folding and sealing method instead.  The end result is a pretty rustic looking loaf of bread, that still maintains the fluffy texture of the original Champion’s Milk Toast.

Adapted from here
- 150g plain flour or bread flour
- 150g wholemeal flour
- 24g fine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 135g water
- 69g fresh milk
- 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 15g unsalted butter, cubed
- 30g walnut, roughly chopped


01. Put all ingredients, EXCEPT BUTTER & WALNUTS, in the  mixing bowl.
02. With a flat beater attachment, mix all ingredients at low speed (1 on my kitchenaid)
03. Change to a dough hook, and continue to knead the dough, adding cubed butter gradually.  Keep kneading till dough reached window pane stage.  You may increase the speed of the mixer to level 2 halfway when the dough starts to look stretchy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
04. Remove the bowl from the mixer, grease working hand slightly with butter so that the dough won’t stick to fingers, loosely shape the dough into a ball*.
05. Cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel, and let it proof for at least 60 minutes (or until it double in size).
06. After the dough has double in size, punch the dough down, and move it to a clean work top.
07. Roll loosely into a ball, leave it on the counter covered with towel for 15 minutes.
08. After 15 minutes, the dough will rise again.  Flatten the dough and add chopped walnuts to the dough.  Knead to mix the walnut well into the dough.
09. Shape the dough into a loaf shape and place it in the bread tin.
10. Covered the bread tin with towel, and let it have a final rise.
11. Once dough has risen to fill up the bread tin, bake it for 30minutes in a preheated oven at 170C / 240F.
12. When the baking time is over, remove the bread from the bread tin immediately, and let it cool down completely on a rack.

this dough will be sticky, almost impossible not to stick to fingers when touched, so I had to use the tucking method (using greased fingers to tuck/fold the sides of the dough to its base)  to roughly shape it into a neat ball for its first proof. See second photo,  it’s not all smooth and perfect, but good enough.
my bread tin measures 20x10x10 inches.