I was motivated to make them because I’d learnt how to harvest poppy seeds over the weekend.
We were staying at Cherry and Clarke’s gorgeous country house for the weekend. Cherry has a way with all things green and I’m always amazed at how she’s transformed a few empty hillside paddocks into this breathtaking garden. I wrote about it more extensively here.
One of the first things we do is go for a walk around the property. We’d reached this rather sad looking bed and I wondered why she hadn’t replaced the poppies with something new for her picking garden. So she told me to hold out my hand, picked a dried pod and shook the contents into my palm. Out tumbled hundreds of little black seeds.
“Thought you might like to see where real poppy seeds come from!” she responded cheekily.
Always generous Cherry loaded us up with all sorts of delicious things from her garden to take back to the city. I felt compelled to make something special that honored the precious little black seeds and the wonderful woman who had grown them. This is what I came up with…
PULL-APART DINNER ROLLS AND POPPY AND CHEDDAR CRACKERS
The recipe I’m giving you today makes enough dough to produce both crackers and rolls. The entire process will take a few hours and is a good thing to do on a lazy weekend morning. If you think you don’t have time to do both just halve the following BASIC DOUGH recipe. Apart from rising and cooking time the rolls are quick and easy to make. The crackers, although really easy as well, are labour intensive and will take about an hour to press out by hand. Making the crackers is a good job to do with a friend…with a nice glass of bubbles to help you along the way.
1 kg pkt or 8 cups plain flour (all purpose)
4 cups warm water
2 sachets or 2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon cooking(regular) salt
*this is a great basic yeast dough that I use for bread, pizza and rolls
2 cups plain flour (for kneading)
1/2 cup poppy seeds (for crackers)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (for rolls)
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup salt flakes
1 cup milk
With other half of the dough place on floured work surface and slightly flatten it. Drizzle and smear both sides with a little olive oil and then continue to flatten dough with fingers until a rough rectangle forms. The oil lubricates the dough and stops it from tearing and shrinking back on itself (I use this technique for making huge slab pizzas because it’s so much easier and quicker than using a rolling-pin).
You will now have two separate yeast dough’s quietly rising away. On a warm day this should take about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. In winter I use my oven to prove dough and the interior should be no hotter than a warm summers day!
PULL-APART DINNER ROLLS
What I do is take a pinch of dough from each of the 12 to make up the 13th piece. If you want all your rolls to be the same size you can weigh the dough. Each piece generally weighs about 75-80 gms (2 and 3/4 ozs) I like to do this as the finished pattern looks prettier if the rolls are the same size.
Turn oven to 240c. (460 f)
Place lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. Using the lidded method creates a steam environment which will aid in the rising of the rolls. Don’t worry if you are only using a baking sheet… they might not be quite so fluffy but will still be bloody delicious regardless!
After thirty minutes remove lid and bake rolls till golden…about another 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Allow to cool then serve with lashings of butter…YUM!
POPPY SEED AND CHEDDAR CRACKERS
While your rolls are proving and baking you can begin to make the crackers.
When you have filled the tray coat each piece of flattened dough with milk and sprinkle over salt flakes. It takes quite a while to press out the crackers so while I’m working on the second tray I like to get the first started in the oven and get a bit of a production line going…
Bake in same hot 240c (460f) oven (as your rolls cook) until crackers are golden brown… for about 8-10 minutes depending on your oven.
Serve with your favorite dip or a big chunk of Parmesan cheese…and a nice cold glass of Prosecco!
Cheers, Anna x
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