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A blaa is a soft wheat bun similar to a dinner roll. It is usually square at the base and billowy and round at the top. Common ingredients in a blaa include bread flour or baker's flour, sugar, and salt with butter, water, and yeast. The main characteristic that distinguishes blaa from other similar soft, leavened bread rolls is the liberal dusting of flour on the outside. These buns are commonly eaten for breakfast, but blaa is also popular as the bread for a small lunchtime sandwich.
Blaa is a leavened bread roll made with yeast. To make blaa, butter is stirred into sifted salt, sugar and flour. Bloomed yeast and slightly warm water is then added to the mixture, which is stirred into a dough. The dough is formed into a ball, which is risen, punched down, and divided into rolls before baking. Prior to entering the oven, blaa rolls are then sprinkled with a good layer of dry flour. These rolls can be baked individually on a baking sheet, or they can be rolled and baked together in a bread pan, which creates a group of buns that can be pulled apart and served.
This type of bread is not risen for as long as many other leavened breads. Rising the blaa rolls takes about 45 minutes before the bread is punched down and rested for another 15 minutes before it is shaped. This process strengthens and relaxes the gluten in the bread and allows the yeast to form the delicate pockets of air that make bread soft. Performing this process makes for evenly fluffy bread dough that is easily stretched and shaped into rolls.
This type of bun is most popular in Ireland, and it is usually eaten as a buttered breakfast roll. It is also sometimes split in two to serve as a small sandwich eaten at lunch or for a mid-morning snack. Generally, the filling on this sandwich is some kind of meat, often cold cuts, corned beef, or spiced ham.
When baking leavened breads like blaa, the baker must first bloom the yeast in a small cup of warm water before adding it to the dough. Blooming yeast is an awakening process that prepares the yeast to do its work in the bread. Yeast that has improperly bloomed will not rise in the dough. When yeast does not bloom when sprinkled in a small amount of warm water, the yeast is probably bad and will not make the bread rise.
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