It feels like a year ago that I was offered the opportunity of hosting FFTO, and I just want to thank Claire of Purely Food and Michelle of Utterly Scrummy Food For Families for the opportunity. In December I came up with a list of breads I could challenge you all to do, but I discarded one after the other as time ticked on. Finally I decided to bake mosbolletjies. This translates directly to small moss balls but actually has nothing to do with anything green!
I live in wine farming country and during the harvest festival at Vergenoegd Wine Estate, Michael (the chef from Pomegranate Restaurant) started our meal off with mosbolletjies. The first week they were white, but the second time we went, they were pink from the grape must. It was this that gave me the inspiration to set the challenge as I did. Grape must is the first step of wine making. It refers to freshly pressed juice which includes the skins, stems and seeds. However, inspiration was not friendly with time and I suddenly panicked that I had left it too late. But, the fact that I did not ‘borrow’ some must from the wine farm meant I had to create my own at home. These steps and stages might seem like quite a lot in order to make small must balls but I hope you will find it fun!
Stage one: create the must
I did this by placing 500g of crimson grapes, stem on, into a deep bowl, and used a muddler to press them. I have pressed grapes by foot before, but this is not practical. It takes a lot of pressure, so press as hard as you need to in order to break the skin. But, not too hard as you don’t need much juice and you want the best of the juice you press. The darker the grapes, the darker your must will be. I left this out of the fridge for 24 hours so that the skins would colour the must. Strain so that all you have left is the must.
Stage two: feed the yeast
As it is winter here, I gently heated the must until it was lukewarm (about 40° Celsius), and then I measured out 80mls. To this I added 20g of fresh yeast. If you cannot get hold of fresh yeast then use 10g dried yeast. I left the yeast to eat the sugar for 20 minutes while I carried on preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Stage three: let’s make dough
Weigh out 420g cake flour and add 1 teaspoon salt and 4 tablespoons sugar (I used fructose). Cube 60g butter and add this to the flour. In a separate jug measure out 125mls milk and heat gently until it is lukewarm. Add one egg and whisk into the milk. By now your 20 minutes should be up. Stir the yeast and must mixture and add it to the milk. Mix the wet ingredients all together and then make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. I used my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to bring the ingredients together on a low speed. Once this was done I increased the speed slightly and let the mixer do the kneading. After 10 minutes of kneading I turned the dough out, lightly oiled the bowl and put the dough back in.
Stage four: let’s make bread
Next I covered the bowl with some cling film (saran wrap) and I placed the bowl in the warmest place in my house to prove for one hour. After an hour I turned the dough out onto a silpat (but you can use your counter top) and I lightly dusted it with flour before knocking it back. I then shaped small balls and placed them onto a round baking tray (with a silpat on the bottom) before lightly oiling the cling film I had used for the first proving stage. I covered the dough with the cling film and placed the baking tray back in the warm spot to prove for one hour.
Stage five: let’s bake bread
I turned the oven on to warm to 180° Celsius and as soon as the rolls had finished proving I glazed them with some of the left over grape must. I then placed them into the oven to bake for 20 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool. They are meant to be soft and sweet. These are often served at restaurants in the wine region before you get your meal, or with soup. But I think they make a great tea time snack if served with jam! They will feel a bit stale after a day or two, but 10 seconds in the microwave will make them all soft again.
For conversions click here
If you are taking part in the challenge please note that Michelle will be doing the round up – take a look here for the requirements of the challenge.
for all South African Bloggers: please let me know if you are taking part in the challenge – I will be giving away a prize to one lucky blogger!