Gie's a kiss!

Gie's a kiss!

When was the last time you heard that phrase, especially on a bakery blog?

Not only do we, at Christie the Baker, put a lot of love, TLC, knowledge and experience of our wonderful bakers into the baking of all our products, we especially pride ourselves with our morning rolls.

Voted "Best Morning Roll in Scotland", made only minutes away from our two high street shops, we aim to provide our customers with the best quality morning roll possible by using traditional baking methods and the best locally sourced ingredients. 

Firstly let me explain a little history of a morning roll and how would it was made compared to today.

Believed to have been around since the 17th century, local Scottish bakers have been making these handfuls of loveliness for their communities fresh every day. Each baker in their local region, would make these slightly differently for many reasons. Their individual process of baking and fermenting their dough, the quality of the local wheat and other ingredients available and their ovens. We know for example in Aberdeen they prefer a softer morning roll  or their famous buttery roll, Dundonians love a soft roll with lots of flour on top, Fifers enjoy a roll that is sweeter in flavour with overall soft texture and in Glasgow their roll has a crispy/crunchy bite ( due to the added rice cones on top)  with a soft fluffy inner. Some people prefer a well fired roll - where the top of the roll is black (burnt almost) and very crispy yet still light and tasty in the middle. Everywhere you travel to in Scotland, their local baker is very proud of their roll and if you happen to staycation this year, maybe try some of the regional differences for yourself.


Our award wining roll here at Christie the baker.


Anyway, fermentation is the process used for most bakery goods and varies in methods achieving slightly different outcomes. The longer the fermentation, the stronger the flavour of the finished product. Four basic ingredients were used to make a morning roll historically: flour; water, yeast and salt. Some bakers would add milk or fat to their roll too. The shelf life of a roll is just one day because of no artificial additives or preservatives just these simple straight forward ingredients were available back then. Most bakers nowadays still keep their recipes as simple as possible to honour this traditional recipe.

We all know the harvest happens late summer and if that summer had been particularly poor (we are in Scotland after all), the essential level of protein and sugars in the wheat is low. Sunnier regions would have higher grade wheat protein and sugars and therefore would have a slightly different consistency to their dough. Obviously only local wheat would have been available then but now we have imported wheat from all over the world. So the quality of flour used in the recipe is key to the success of the end product. The same would apply to the local dairy ingredients in the olden days - the quality of grass and feed the cows had would vary the flavour of any milk or butter used in their recipes. More consistency with these ingredients is likely now.

Yeast is vital in this process along with a little salt. You can use fast acting yeasts or traditional yeast which requires a longer fermentation. In the 17th century it would be a traditional slower acting yeast they used. Salt is necessary to help control the rate the rampant yeast  eats all the sugars in the wheat, which produce the gases to help the dough rise. If it rises too quickly the end bake would be tasteless and too soft to make into anything that resembles a roll. The time taken to knead and prepare the dough for the ovens and the temperature it is held at all varied back in the day. They didn't have prover cabinets to hold their doughs at a constant temperature (another way of controlling the yeast and how quickly it makes the dough rise). They had variations of seasonal and water temperatures which influenced the held dough temperature and thus would have affected the overall end roll. Finally the ovens they used, likely wood fired, would not always achieve a consistent temperature ( depending on the baker in charge of the oven some would have it very hot and others not so) and the type of local wood used would have influenced the end flavour too. Now bakers have large gas or electrically fired ovens which hold their temperature well, don't affect the natural flavours and give an overall consistency to their roll.


So now you know a little more about how a morning is made and why there are regional differences but one thing that all these bakers have in common is the way the rolls would prove. Starting as little individual balls of dough as the fermentation process makes them grow in size on the board and they start to touch one another. This in the bakery world is call "kissing". Once they start to "kiss" they are ready for the oven.


Isn't it a wonderful sensory experience when opening a pack of freshly baked rolls to seperate them apart and release their baked "titbits" (little pieces of baked roll hanging from the edges)  for you to nibble on while you prepare them for your favourite filling. 



"Gie's a kiss"  - love your local Christie the baker x



Check out owner Andrew Chisholm talking about the history and making of a traditional Scottish Morning Roll - click on the link below.