Mar 1, 2016

The Waterford Blaa | Irish Breads

The Waterford Blaa

The Waterford Blaa is a large, soft, and fluffy roll that is exclusive to Waterford City, Ireland. It is also distinguished by it's floury crust. It has achieved PGI (protected geographical indication) status, which is a big deal in the European Union. Any bread sold as a Waterford Blaa must be made by one of the certified bakeries.


The Waterford Blaa

The origin of this bread is attributed to the Huguenots, Calvinists driven out of France in the seventeenth century and welcomed into Ireland because of the trades they brought with them. They mostly settled in southern Ireland. This bread, made with white flour, which was new to Ireland at the time, is derived from the French bread tradition. One theory is that the name is derived from the French word "blanc." I got so obsessed with learning about this bread that I spent a couple of hours watching videos in Gaelic all about the Blaa.

The bread is typically served at breakfast with just butter or filled with bacon. I've also seen it used to sandwich "crisps" (potato chips) and to make a "chip butty" (essentially a French fry sandwich). They are also popular for making ham and cheese and other sandwiches.

The Waterford Blaa

I am living dangerously by using the term Waterford Blaa. The last time I posted protected bread, Pane de Genzano, I got an email from an unofficial representative of the Italian bread police. Fortunately they did not show up at my doorstep.

Dear Waterford bread police, I have actually been to your fine city! We stayed there on our drive from Galway to Dublin via the southern coast about 10 years ago. Mr. Kitchen was born in Ireland. Please do not arrest me!

This bread is amazingly soft and fluffy... and so good fresh from the oven and slathered with salted Irish butter.

I baked these in a 9 inch by 13 inch Pyrex dish, which I lined with parchment. I'm sure a metal sheet cake pan or a quarter sheet pan would also be fine.

The Waterford Blaa

This recipe makes eight large rolls. They are best the day they are made, but are still great for sandwiches the next day. Wrap any leftovers individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer in a freezer bag for up to two weeks.

After the recipe, check out the rest of the Irish breads from the #TwelveLoaves bakers.

The Waterford Blaa Recipe

Ingredients

285 to 300 grams (285 to 300 ml) lukewarm (100 degrees F) water
10 grams (about 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
10 grams (about 2 1/4 tsp) sugar
500 grams bread flour (just less than 4 cups) plus more for coating the rolls
10 grams (about 1 3/4 tsp) fine sea salt
10 grams (about 3/4 tablespoon) room temperature unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Place 285 grams of the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and the sugar.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon or a dough whisk until just combined. 
  3. Place the bowl on the mixer and mix with the dough hook for 10 minutes, adding more water early on as needed to achieve a smooth dough. 
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 40 to 45 minutes. 
  5. Line a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan with parchment, and dust it liberally with flour. 
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and deflate it. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (I used a scale). 
  7. Form each piece into a ball, and then press each ball with the palm of your hand to flatten it into a disk. Place each disk side by side into the pan (2 disks x 4 disks). Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise, about 45 to 50 minutes. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 410 degrees F. 
  9. When the Blaas are ready, liberally dust them with flour. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. 
  10. Lift the parchment out of the pan and place the Blaas on a wire rack. Using a pastry brush, distribute the flour that is already on the rolls evenly over the tops. 
  11. These rolls can be served warm or cooled. Cool completely before storing. 
Update: I made these rolls again, dividing the dough into 15 pieces, and they were great. Just use the same sized pan and reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes. 




For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's inspiring selection of #TwelveLoaves RED Breads!

31 comments:

  1. I wondered where the name came from - how cool! I haven't tried Waterford Blaa before, but yours make me want to eat a whole pan - they look INCREDIBLE! These would go over very well with my whole family, so I'll be making them soon (maybe for St. Paddy's Day).

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    1. Thanks Heather! These went really quickly in my house!

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    2. Thank you for translating the 'gram' ingredients as I hate looking it up which never seems correct and I don't have a scale to do it yet. Can't wait to try this! Thank you!

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  2. Gorgeous as always! I would eat a dozen at a time-- filled with Irish bacon would be divine. Ham and cheese would be tasty too. I love that I don't need to travel to Ireland to enjoy this treat but wouldn't that be fun too!

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    1. Thank you Holly! Yes, Irish bacon sounds wonderful doesn't it?

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  3. These look heavenly, soft and fluffy, just perfect to enjoy with a slather of sweet butter... Or some Dubliner white cheddar... Or ham or bacon. And now my tummy is growling in anticipation.

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  4. WOW! I am in total awe! these rolls are simply amazing, and so much history behind them! fantastic post, Karen.... One more bread from your blog to go into my files "to bake soon" ❤️

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    1. I can't wait to see yours! They are really good =)

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  5. Pinning these beauties! I want to make sandwiches with them. They look so soft and delicious. Bacon in the middle? Yes Please!! Lol. I'll come visit you if the bread police decide you're too dangerous to walk the streets :)

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  6. These look very much like Scottish Baps. Either way YUM! :-)

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    1. I just looked up baps, and you're right, they sure do! Thank you Sandra!

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  7. These look amazing Karen can't wait to try them! Haha Pane from Genzano, I am right around the corner from Genzano, and yes Italians love and protect their breads.

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    1. Ha ha Rose, so you do know! It was pretty hilarious. Thanks for the kind comments.

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  8. Hello Karen, I sent a message but it looks like it didn’t go throw, so here I go again, I love the look of theses beautiful gorgeous buns and also look delicious , they would be great with home made chill...

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    1. Hi Rosa! Ooh! They would be good with chili!! Thanks so much!

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  9. I know I say it all the time, but seriously your bread is amazing!! Words can't describe how much I'd love one of these right now!

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  10. Every time I visit your page my husband walks by! I think he can smell the bread baking through the monitor. Either I make these soon or we move in next door to you! :)

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    1. You definitely need to make these for that adorable husband of yours (I say that because he likes my bread)

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  11. I made these today with my 4 year old son, and they were so good! Easy and fun to make, and so delicious. Had never heard of these before, thanks for the recipe

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    1. I love hearing this! Thanks so much!

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  12. Karen, this 12 loaves concept is a great idea. is this happening all of the time! I would love to do something like this.

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    1. Hi David, it's the first Tuesday of every month.

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  13. Karen, every month your breads are absolutely outstanding, and this is no exception. I have seen your bread become famous, especially over Facebook and I can't wait to join in and try the recipe too. Beautiful and inviting photos as always,

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    1. Thank you so much Felice! So sad about 12 loaves. If you'd like to keep baking bread with me, there's another group called Bread Bakers. They post on the second Tuesday of the month. Love reading about your breads!

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  14. Ok so I have been going to Waterford since I was a child as my dad was born and raised there. I had my first blaa in 1963, so I am a blaa aficionado. I was jone sing for one this morning as I had a dream that I was eating one with Irish sausages and black and white pudding. Have the pudding and sausages so heading out to the stupidmarket for bread flour and yeast to try your recipe. I will report back and if mine come out as good as yours look I will come give you a gift next time I'm in LA. They look exactly like the fresh ones I get in Ballybricken in Waterfod City! God bless the interwebzz....you can find anything your heart desires on it!

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    1. Yes, the interwebs are an amazing thing! Thanks so much for this fun story!

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  15. Hi there can i times the recipe by 2 to make more ? Will I get the same result?

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    1. I think you could but I've never tried it. Let me know!

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.