Italian style enriched and flavoured with extra virgin olive oil is versatile for making decorative rolls. Children will love helping to make and shape these rolls-they can try making twists, fingers or artichoke-shapes, or just about any shape they want. The rolls are sure to disappear as soon as they are cool enough to eat.
400g/1lb/4 cups unbleached strong white bread flour
10 ml/2 tsp salt
15g/1/2 oz fresh yeast
60ml/4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1.Lightly oil three baking sheets. Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre measure 200ml/8fl oz/1 cup lukewarm water. Cream the yeast with half the water, then stir in the remainder. Add to the well with the oil and mix to a dough.
2.Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in bulk.
3.Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knock back (punch down). Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into rolls. To make twists, rolls each piece of dough into strip 30cm/12in long and 4cm/1 ½ wide. Twist. Each strip into a loose spiral and join the ends together to make a circle place on the baking sheets, spaced well apart. Brush lightly with olive oil, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
4.To make fingers, flatten each of the dough into an oval and roll to about 23cm/9in long, roll up from the wider end. Gently stretch the dough roll to 20-23cm/8-9in long, cut in half. Place on the baking sheets, spaced well apart. Brush the dough with olive oil, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
5.To make artichoke-shapes, shape each piece of the dough into a ball and spaced well apart on the baking sheets. Brush with oil, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes using a scissors, snip 5mm/1/4 in deep cuts in a circle on the top of each ball, then make five horizontal cuts around the sides.
6.Preheat the oven to 200°/C/400°F/Gas 6. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes