Through the backlit window pane of an artisan bakery, golden-brown buns are a tantalising sight, an invitation to indulge. Generally made with high-gluten flours, a large ratio of butter or lard, fresh yeast and sugar with milk, salt, and an egg or milk glaze, the ubiquitous roll of Vienna was for many years the epitome of this type of bread. In Aberdeen around the time that Viennoiserie was evolving in Paris, a flaky bread became popular with fishermen. Using the same technique for making croissants, the Rowie was neither crescent nor roll, and it was made with beef dripping. The modern version is made with butter or with butter and lard.
- 500 g strong white wheat flour
- 350 ml water, warmed to 38ºC
- 250 g butter / lard or 50:50
- 20 g yeast
- 10 g salt
- 10 g sugar
Dissolve yeast in sugar and warm water. Sieve flour and salt, add yeast water and work into a soft smooth dough. The high water ratio makes this a tough dough to work, about 20 minutes of hard kneading. Cover the dough and leave to rise for an hour. Degas, leave for a further hour. Cut the fat into small cubes, divide into three portions. On a floured working surface roll the dough into a rectangle, about 40 cm x 30 cm. Place the cubes of fat from one portion on two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the non-fat end into the middle, and then again over the final third. Leave to rest for 15 minutes, covered. Flour the surface, roll the dough out again with a little flour to aid the process, repeat once more. Flour the surface with flour and roll the dough again, then divide it into 15 pieces (roughly 80 g each), shape into ovals or rectangles, arrange on greased baking trays. Leave to rise until they have risen considerably. Preheat oven to 220°C. Place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.