Best Ever Baps

I’ve talked about Andrew Whitley’s book, Bread Matters, and the influence it has had on my baking before. For years I tried and failed to make sourdough bread, but Whitley’s book sorted it all out for me and made it simple. He taught me how to maintain a sourdough starter without any hassle or stress, so that sourdough loaves and sourdough pancakes are mine whenever I want them (well, within a few hours anyway). Whitley has devoted himself to bringing better bread to everyone – you can read more about his campaign on the Bread Matters website  – and I heartily recommend that you buy his excellent book.

Besides conquering sourdough, the other thing that Bread Matters gave me was the this fantastic, fool-proof recipe for baps. I’m sharing it here because I think the world needs more foolproof bread recipes… ‘Bap’ is one of those regional UK words that people get into rows about in the pub… Some people might call these rolls, or cobs, or even barm cakes (although these aren’t quite the authentic shape of a barm cake. By bap, I mean a small round bread bun that you would use for a burger or a sandwich – hope we’ve got that straight! This recipe makes 12, soft, delicious, wholesome little buns. The only difference between my version and the version in the book is that I use dried yeast rather than fresh and I add some white flour. Sometimes I use 100% wholemeal spelt – this makes delicious baps, but you might find that they rise a bit quicker, so keep an eye on them if you try spelt.

Half Wholemeal Baps

  • Servings: makes 12 baps
  • Print


  • 5g dried yeast (granules or fast action kind – see method for more info on their use)
  • 390g warm water
  • 300g strong wholemeal flour
  • 300g strong white flour
  • 5g sea salt
  • 30g fat (olive oil, butter, lard)


  • For dried yeast granules: Measure the water into a jug or small bowl and then add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Omit this stage if using fast action dried yeast.
  • Measure the flour into large mixing bowl (or bowl of your kitchen mixer), if you are using fast action dried yeast, add it to the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the salt and the fat.
  • Add the yeast dissolved in water (or just the water if you are using fast action yeast).
  • At this stage I now just use the dough hook on my Kenwood mixer to combine and do the kneading for me. If you are doing it by hand you need to combine all the ingredients in the bowl and then turn out on to your worktop (don’t flour it!) and knead until you have a soft, pliable and slightly stretchy dough (there’s lots more about good kneading in Whitley’s book!).
  • Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave the bowl somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Put your oven on to preheat to 230C.
  • Divide the dough into 12 even(ish) sized pieces and mould them into bun shapes, trying to create a nice taut domed top. Dust each bun thoroughly with flour (or dip each bun in a small bowl of flour) – it’s this that gives the buns their lovely soft crust.
  • Arrange the buns on a baking tray and put the whole tray in a large carrier bag. Leave somewhere warm until the baps have doubled in size and batched  – i.e. they’re snuggled up next to each other on the baking tray like this:
  • Now bake the baps for 5 minutes at 230C, then turn down the temp to 210C and bake for another 5-7 minutes until the baps are golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I enjoyed mine this lunchtime with a lump of Ticklemore cheese, some homemade apple chutney, and a bottle of very good beer from the George Wright Brewery. Definitely my idea of an excellent Saturday lunch.

Visit my recipe index for lots of delicious recipes, including loads more breads and buns!

40 thoughts on “Best Ever Baps

  1. I’ve never made bread before in my life and yesterday I found this recipe after deciding to attempt to cook my first ever bbq pulled pork recipe (it’s in the slow cooker). I’m not sure how exactly they will turn out but thanks for sharing.

  2. I was wondering how long they last for? I am thinking of making them later today but having them for lunch tomorrow. Also what’s the best way to store them? I am new to bread making and totally addicted!

    1. Hi Esther – obviously they taste better the fresher they are, but these are ok for a couple of days, in my opinion. I often make a tray and freeze them as soon as they are cool, and then get them out a few at a time – they defrost really quickly. Baking is fab isn’t it!

    1. Tbh I’m not sure… I am not an expert with rye flour at all, I’ve only used it for sourdough. Certainly I would think you would be able to substitute some of the wholemeal with rye. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  3. Nice baps! Although I tend to just say rolls 🙂 I’m a Dan Lepard enthusiast and haven’t got round to Whitley’s books yet, although I think they’re pretty similar in approach. By the way, I used your frothy crochet flower pattern to make my mum’s mother’s day present and she loved it, so thanks!

    1. My online baking friends are very much Whitley v Lepard – one of my friends is particularly evangelical about Lepard’s kneading and rising methods. I like Dan Lepard’s recipes but have to say that Whitley’s sourdough method makes it so easy, I don’t want to tamper!! Glad you like my flower pattern – sorry you found it a bit tricky, it is rather hard to explain…. 😉

  4. Fancy a go at these. Normally our bread machine sees to the breadmaking, but these look like they could be easy. Paul Hollywood has just brought out a new bread book too. Could be worth a look?

  5. They look delish!! I must give them a try. We make all our own bread, usually in a breadmaker, although I have had some success with no-knead artisan bread. I never think to make baps/rolls though – I have no idea why!

  6. Oh I might have to get this, I love bread baking. Every time I get a sourdough starter going the lovely Kiwi chucks it saying it smells ‘offish’. I’ve never got him to understand that smelling ‘offish’ is usually a good sign of being ‘onish’. Anyway, in Birmingham it depends on the crust. A soft crust roll is a bap and a crusty crust a ‘cob’.

    1. Ooh, I think Stoke is the same as Birmingham in that respect – a midlands thing maybe… Whitley is awesome for getting you going with sourdough – I really recommend his method. Other people are followers of Dan Lepard I know, but I think the Bread Matters approach is much more practical.

  7. I’ve always called them buns I have to admit. I am still struggling on with my sourdough. I’ve got a “sponge” I need to go and deal with in a minute – it’s the final rising that gets me everytime (it rises fine, but sticks badly to whatever I’ve risen it in – I have some new pointers to try out this time though). I think I may have to try out your recipe for spelt rolls. Have you ever tried kamut flour?

      1. Oooh nice tip! When I bake sourdough I prove in a glass bowl, lined with a linen tea towel, which I LIBERALLY (very liberally) cover with flour. That seems to work ok. I also tend to work on the less sticky side when it comes to my sourdough…

      2. I used to do that too, although my sourdough tends to be a bit softer so will stick quite easily! I use a cane banetton now though and the rice flour works a treat 🙂

      3. Actually I have finally had epic success with my sourdough. I used the River Cottage everday method for using the sourdough, and made a much drier mix. I had been lining a bowl with a (clean) floured teatowel and it still stuck badly. The wonders of the interent I spotted a tip from somebody who said to rub the flour thoroughly into an old tea towel – and that it would hold a lot. Also to underprove it slightly for the final rise. Result one not stuck loaf with impressive oven spring!
        Silverblackbird thanks for tip re rice flour – it also came up in my search and am planning to try that too. I haven’t invested in a banneton yet as my results were too dire to justify the expense.

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