In this recipe, small bun-sized pieces of herbed and yeasted dough are arranged in a quiche pan or shallow cake tin fairly close together, then baked. They come to the table joined together in a singular circular cluster, and diners can break off a roll as desired.
Preparation time: about 30 minutes
Dough resting time: First rise: 1 hour Second rise: 30 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
Makes 18 rolls
1 teaspoon dried yeast
about 1¼ cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups plain unbleached bread flour
1 teaspoon salt 3 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fine oatmeal or dried herbs for topping
Combine the yeast, a few teaspoons of warm water, and the sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy.
Whisk together the flour and salt.
Add the oil, herbs and yellow asafetida powder to the frothy yeast mixture.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Add three-quarters of the warm water, and mix. Add enough of the remaining water, if required, to make a soft but non-sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough and divide into 18 even-sized pieces. Shape them by rolling them around under cupped hands on a floured board or marble slab, then arrange them fairly close together in a lightly oiled, 25cm (10-inch) quiche pan or round, shallow baking dish. Keep in mind that the rolls will approximately double in size.
Allow the rolls to rise again for about 30 minutes. Spray with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame, fine oatmeal or dried herbs.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/430F and bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the base. Serve as described.