It was Saturday afternoon, and I was feeling a little hacked off. All I had achieved so far on my very precious day off was a lie in that had left me with a headache, some cleaning I had failed to get done during the week and a trip to the supermarket. I was now heading home from the shops, anticipating the necessary unpack which always seems to take longer than it should. I also knew I needed to clear out the fridge before I put anything else in it. We were already having to wrestle the door shut due to the excess of 95% empty glass jars and bendy veg.
The rest of the family were happy seeing friends, watching endless movies on Netflix or mending broken things round the house. That is often all it takes to make my weekend, whatever jobs I’m doing, good enough for me. But today that wasn’t the case. It was late June but had rained almost non-stop for a month and my mood felt as dark as the clouds above me.
So, what to do? I knew I had to do something or my sulking would affect everyone in the house.
There was the chance our eldest would arrive at the dinner table with friends in tow so I had decided to make a lasagne that would stretch to feed a small crowd just in case. I’d do a big salad with all sorts of lovely things in it to have on the side, and we’d all sit round and eat together. I could get in the kitchen, put some music on and produce something we’d all enjoy. I felt better already.
The thought crossed my mind that I should have picked up some garlic bread, teenagers always devour that. I could stop at the corner shop on the way home, but I really couldn’t be bothered. Quickly my thoughts morphed the way they do in a split second. I think the fact that I had made some lovely soft rolls during the week played a part. Why not make dough balls with a garlic butter dip? The girls would love them, we all would, and I could skip the corner shop stop. A win all round.
And this is what I came up with. These dough balls are quick and easy to make and deliciously soft and squishy. The trick is to ensure you don’t overcook them or all you have is mini bread rolls – very disappointing! You want them just beginning to brown, then the inside will be perfect.
These dough balls are incredible moreish. If I’m being totally truthful, I made double the recipe I’ve given you and we devoured the lot between five of us. I have the feeling that we’d have eaten double that too!
- 4 g fast action yeast
- 250 g strong white bread flour
- 15 g olive oil
- 7 g sugar
- 3 g salt
- 175 ml tepid water
- 100 g softened salted butter
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- Place all the ingredients, except the butter and garlic, into the bread maker pan in the order required and run the dough setting. I use the pizza dough setting but if you don't have one the quickest dough setting you have should be fine. (See below for instructions if you are breadmakerless.)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Once the dough is ready sprinkle the work surface with flour, turn out your dough and proceed to cut small chunks off, shaping into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball by rolling in your palms. (If you want them to be perfectly formed then put your piece of dough on the work surface and, turning it as you go, proceed to pull a small pinch of dough from the base of the dough ball, up the ball and over into the centre. Once you have shaped the whole ball, squeeze the messy ends that have formed on the top together. Now turn it over so these ends are underneath.) Place the balls onto a lightly floured baking sheet or non-stick baking parchment.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until pale golden. Cool on a baking rack.
- Garlic butter.
- Mix the butter and garlic together well. Serve in a nice dipping bowl.
I’ve always used my bread maker to make dough but a quick search on the web has lead me to believe that if you don’t have one then the following methods should work for you. If you give either of them a go then let me know how it goes. Either place the ingredients in a mixer and mix with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic - about 5 minutes, or mix the ingredients by hand then knead until the dough is smooth and elastic - around 10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and leave to rise for 45 – 60 minutes until the dough has doubled in size then shape and cook the dough balls using the method above.