Put the ★ ingredients in a bread machine in the order listed. Use the "dough only" program up to the end of the 1st rising.
Take the dough out, divide into 8 portions, and round off each. Cover with a tightly wrung out moistened kitchen towel, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Deflate the dough lightly, round off each piece again and line them up on a baking sheet. Cover with a tightly wrung out moistened kitchen towel and leave to rise again (2nd rising), until they are 1.5 to 2 times their original size.
Preheat the oven to 250°C. Dust the rolls with bread flour (not listed in the ingredient list) using a tea strainer.
Use a moistened, very sharp knife held at an angle to make a slash in the middle of each roll, drawing the blade towards you. Don't make the cut too deep.
Put some room temperature butter in a plastic bag, cut off a corner and squeeze some butter in the slashes on the rolls.
This butter is salted. Since the dough itself has very little salt, salted butter used here makes it taste just about right. Do Step 6 rapidly.
When the oven has heated up all the way, mist the rolls generously. Turn the oven temperature down to 210°C and bake the rolls for 20 minutes.
Cool the baked rolls on a cooling rack.
The outside is thin and crispy, and the slashes have opened up very nicely! This are smart looking rolls!
If you slice through one with a bread knife, the crumb is so soft and light! It's easy for children to eat, and the more you chew on it the more flavorful it gets. It's ideal as a dinner roll!
They get a bit wrinkly when cold, so mist them lightly and warm them up in a toaster oven to revive the crispy crust!
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make bread that was easy for children to eat, but looked rather smart, so I thought up this recipe for an easy to make soft French style bread that used a bread machine. My children love it, and I serve it often at dinners and gatherings.
This is a rather most dough that's a bit hard to handle, so if it is too sticky please flour your work surface with extra flour. To slash the loaves, hold your knife at an angle and make a shallow cut towards you, and the cuts should open up nicely. Use a very sharp knife or a razor blade! Make sure not to let the dough dry out!