6 tablespoons olive oil (90 ml)
4 sprigs of rosemary for infusing
More rosemary for chopping (two level tablespoons)
10 – 11 fl oz warm water
Yeast (I used dried yeast - 1 teaspoon)
1 lb strong plain white flour
1 oz caster sugar
2 oz raisins
Teaspoon of salt
Beaten egg to glaze
Place the olive oil in a saucepan with about four sprigs of rosemary. Heat the oil gently until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
Soak the raisins in hot water (by doing this, they do not soak up the moisture in the dough).
Chop more rosemary (two level tablespoons). This is a time consuming job to do by hand, but I have tried it with a machine, but the machine chops the rosemary up into pieces that are too fine.
Prepare the yeast (I use dried yeast, so have to reconstitute it in warm water).
Place the flour, sugar, raisins and salt into a bowl with the chopped rosemary. Mix.
Make a well in the centre and add the strained olive oil, yeast and sufficient warm water to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out on to a wooden board that has been covered with flour. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Wash the bowl, put a dash of olive oil in and spread the oil around the inside of the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with cling film or a plastic bag and leave it in a warm place to double in volume. Depending on the temperature and amount of yeast you have used, this may take up to and beyond an hour. Alternatively, leave it in the kitchen overnight.
Divide the dough. I usually make each roll 3 ounces in weight. Knead each piece into a ball. Place on a baking sheet that you have previously covered with butter and sprinkled with flour. Gently flatten the balls of dough and cover with a plastic bag. Leave in a warn place to double in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C, 400 degrees F, gas mark 6.
When the rolls are ready, remove the plastic bag and glaze with the beaten egg. You will invariably have more than one baking sheets of rolls, so arrange the shelves in the oven so that one shelf is in the centre and another shelf near the top. Place the first batch of rolls on the centre shelf and bake for 10 minutes. As the first batch is nearing the end of the cooking time, prepare the next batch of rolls. When ready, place the first tray on the top shelf, and the new batch on the middle shelf. Bake for a further 10 minutes. At the end of this period, remove the top shelf of rolls and put the second batch on the top shelf for a further 10 minutes.
The rolls are cooked when they are brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack
Incidentally, if you decide to finish a meal with a cheese course and these buns, offer a sherry such as Lustau East India Solera for a perfect accompaniment.