These chubby rolls are a bit like icebergs - the flax seed you see on top is just a fraction of what's beneath the surface!
The theory: The sticky gloopy nature of ground and wet flax seeds makes them a perfect substitute for eggs. Which means that I don't have to depend on the gluten content of flour to bake soft fluffy bread.
In practice: Even with 50% wholewheat flour, the dough was almost endlessly stretchy. And the oven spring of my shaped rolls was beautiful to behold.
The crumb was lovely and soft, the closest I've got to a wholewheat sandwich bread.
Ingredients (for 12 rolls)
2 cups wholewheat flour
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of oil
1 tsp fresh yeast
1.5 cups of warm water
3 T flax seeds
9 T water
To make the flax seed eggy: Grind flax seed in a small masala grinder or coffee bean grinder until fine. Add water and whirr again. The whole mixture will turn whitish and incredibly sticky.
To make the dough: Mix with the remaining ingredients, and get yourself an arm workout. I added no flour at all to this mix while kneading. In about 10 minutes, I had myself a beautiful speckled ball of elastic dough.
Leave alone in a covered bowl until well risen. My dough took more than 3 hours. If that seems like too long a wait, you could up the yeast to 2 tsp.
To shape rolls: I skipped the traditional method of shaping, and rolled out the dough to a thickness of 1.5 cm (some got a bit fatter). I used a cookie cutter to cut out circles and laid them on parchment lined trays.
In an hour, they had plumped up like humans in the holiday season. I brushed the tops with milk and gave them a sprinkling of flax seed. In they went onto two shelves of an oven preheated to 180ºC for 20 minutes. I switched shelves after 10 minutes to ensure no one felt left out.
And that was it! The rolls filled out nicely, and were a dream on their own, with butter and dunked into soup. Picking up the flax seed that didn't stick was fun too!