How To: Shaping Plain Rolls

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How To: Shaping Plain Rolls


  1. Divide the knocked back dough into equal pieces and shape into balls. Take a ball and gently stretch and pull the dough towards the top, creating a smooth surface underneath.
  2. Turn the roll over so the smooth side is upper-most, and neaten the roll with the sides of your hands. Shape the other rolls, working quickly to ensure the first ones do not over-prove.
  3. Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing them apart. Lightly pat down the tops to flatten a little. Leave to prove until at least half their size again, then bake.


Crown Shape as for plain rolls and cut a cross in the top before proving.

Pawnbroker Divide the small ball of dough into 3 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place next to each other on the baking sheet to make a triangle.

Catherine wheel Shape the small ball of dough into a sausage about 15cm long. Coil the dough round from the centre, forming a catherine wheel.

Knot Shape the small ball of dough into a sausage about 10cm long. Carefully, without stretching, tie the dough into a knot. Try to hide the ends under the knot.

Pointed Carefully roll opposite ends of the small ball between your hand and the table into tapered points. The points of dough can be gently twisted.

Baps Shape as for dinner rolls, but flatten the tops of the rolls even more.

Bread finishes and glazes

There are a various ways to enhance the appearance of the crust, the simplest being a dusting of flour before baking, which gives a rustic, natural and soft finish. For shine and a rich colour, you can brush the top of the loaf with sieved beaten egg before baking and sprinkle with seeds too if you like. A milk glaze will give a softer crust and matt finish. Liquid glazes should be applied very thinly, using a pastry brush, avoiding any dripping, as this can cause the bread to stick to the tin.

You can also slash the top of the bread to give a rustic appearance, either before the bread proves (the slashes open and expand while proving and even more when baking), or 10–15 minutes before baking so they open up a little. Use a very sharp knife or single sided razor blade to make shallow cuts in the dough.

For a very soft crust, cover the bread with a tea towel as it cools.

Author: Leiths Teachers


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