JULIAN COLE offers his own recipe for sage and onion rolls.

ROLLS are the fun side of bread-making and I came up with these on a snowy afternoon. The flavouring works for stuffing, so why not for rolls? That was the logic and the results were pleasing. I have made them two ways and include a variation in the advice at the end.


500g strong white flour
Sachet of easy-blend yeast or about 10g of fresh yeast
10g salt
300mls warm water
One large onion
Teaspoon or so of dried sage
Tablespoon or so of olive oil
A little butter

First fry the onion in a frying pan in a decent splash of oil, cooking slowly over a low heat. A bit of sea salt and a dash of water should stop burning. When they are done and caramelised a little, remove from the heat and add the sage and a knob of butter to the pan.

Make the dough while the onions are frying, mixing the flour, yeast, water and salt and kneading for five or six minutes. When the dough is formed, add the cooked onions and a dash of olive oil and knead for two minutes or so more.

As a final touch, roll the dough round the pan to pick up any stray herbs or onions and to absorb the butter (if you wish to be healthier, miss the stage out and don’t use the butter at all).

Leave to rise for an hour or so, in a covered bowl. Gently deflate the dough and divide into 12 pieces (or more for smaller rolls), make each piece into a ball and roll beneath your cupped hand until good and round.

Leave to rise on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment for about 20 minutes, making sure to cover the rolls with a tea towel.

Pre-heat oven to 200C (maybe a little lower; know your oven) and cook for 15 minutes, or a little longer if a roll does not sound hollow when tapped underneath. Leave to cool on a wire tray.

• Variations: Try using half Granary flour and half strong white for a country-style roll, adding a grated raw potato to the warm water for the dough. The potato gives a nice moistness to the finished roll and could also be added to the recipe above.