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Mar 8, 2022

Belfast Baps

Belfast Baps are large white bread rolls with origins in Northern Ireland. They are fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside. 

Belfast Baps stacked on a wood board.



These Belfast Baps, with their thin and crunchy crust and soft and fluffy interior are so easy to make and will introduce you to a little bit of Belfast culture. 

This bread is similar to Irish Batch Bread in that it is browned and crackly on top, however, Batch Bread also includes fat, typically lard, to enrich it. Belfast Baps are made with a lean dough with only a little bit of sugar to enrich the dough. 

These rolls also remind me of a Waterford Blaa, the difference being that the Blaa is a bit smaller with a softer crust, and it's dusted with white wheat flour. The Belfast Bap is dusted with rice flour. 

Belfast Baps in a basket.



When you remove these baps from the oven and set them down on the cooling rack, turn down the music and listen to the rolls as they crackle and sing. Listening to bread fresh from the oven as it sings to me is one of my favorite parts of baking bread. 

The crust will crack and crumple a bit, which is expected, so don't worry. 

Typically, Belfast Baps are a deep, deep brown, and home bakers often finish them under the broiler. Instead, I turned on the convection function of my oven for the last five minutes of baking to add extra color. Feel free to use your broiler at the end to achieve the traditional super dark color, but watch the rolls very closely! 

Belfast Baps on the baking sheet.



The History of Belfast Baps:

The credit for Belfast Baps is given to Bernard (Barney) Hughes, who was a 19th century Irish entrepreneur who came from humble beginnings to become the owner of the largest bakery and milling business in Ireland. 

He also became a politician and philanthropist. Even though he was a Catholic, he promoted non-sectarianism in government and was well regarded by both Catholics and Protestants. He was also interested in creating an affordable bread for working class Irish, especially during the great famine of the 1840s. Thus, these baps. 

In fact, these are sometimes referred to as "Barney's Baps."

Belfast Baps sliced.


Belfast Baps are often used to create a breakfast sandwich with the ingredients for an Ulster Fry, a traditional breakfast of sausage, egg, tomatoes, black pudding, and potato cakes (or potato farls). The ingredients are stuffed into a Belfast Bap for a breakfast on-the-go. 

Clearly, the baps must be large to hold all of the ingredients. Sometimes cooks will often hollow out the rolls to accomodate as much of the Ulster Fry as possible. 

Belfast Baps are also often used for "crisp" sandwiches, sandwiches that are filled with potato chips and maybe a few other ingredients, but with an emphasis on the chips (or crisps). If you used to stuff your sandwiches with potato chips as a kid, you have been redeemed. 

Additionally, the baps can also be used for a "butty," a sandwich made with a roll spread with butter and stuffed with bacon. How can you go wrong with that?

Belfast Baps filled with bacon.



Ingredients and Equipment for Belfast Baps:

For these rolls, all you will need is flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast, along with some rice flour for coating the rolls before baking. 

While not traditional, I also brushed the rolls with a little milk before sprinkling them with the rice flour. If you want to stay true to Barney's spirit, you can skip the brushing of milk and just press the tops of the rolls in a plate of rice flour after shaping. 

To bake the rolls, you will need a cookie sheet or a half sheet pan. I also used parchment paper sheets for lining the pan. 

These rolls will stay fresh for a couple of days. After that, you should probably slice and toast them before serving. You can also freeze them, individually wrapped, and thaw them when you are ready to serve them. 



Bread bakers logo


Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting Bread Bakers this month and asked the others to join her in sharing Irish Breads in honor of St. Patricks Day, which is right around the corner.  Let's see what everyone baked up for us today......

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.



Belfast Baps stacked.





Belfast Baps

Belfast Baps
Yield: 12 rolls
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 10 M
Belfast Baps are large white bread rolls with origins in Northern Ireland. They are fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside.

Ingredients

  • 484 grams (2 cups) lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 780 grams (5 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • Rice flour for dusting

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients, except the rice flour, to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir everything together with a dough whisk or wooden spoon to moisten the flour.
  2. Mix on low with the dough hook for one minute, and then mix on second speed for 7 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the work surface, form it into a ball, and place it into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minute to an hour.
  4. Line a half sheet pan (13 by 18 inch rimmed baking sheet) with parchment paper and heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form each piece into a tight ball. Place the balls in the pan, 3 across and 4 down. Wet your hand and press down on rolls and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for about 30 minutes, until puffy.
  6. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tops of the rolls with rice flour.
  7. Place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes, until the bread reaches an interior temperature of 200 degrees F. Optionally, turn the oven to broil and brown the tops of the rolls, watching very closely. Alternatively, you can also use the convection function of your oven for the last five minutes to brown the rolls.
  8. Cool the rolls on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

290.41

Fat (grams)

1.38

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.22

Carbs (grams)

59.01

Fiber (grams)

2.28

Net carbs

56.73

Sugar (grams)

0.91

Protein (grams)

9.18

Sodium (milligrams)

356.17

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Baps, Belfast baps
Bread
Irish
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Would you like to comment?

  1. A delicious roll and a great history lesson. Thanks Karen. Now if I had one of those "butty's" my morning would be perfect.

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  2. Wow they are so perfectly done. I just feel like staring at the screen and not doing anything, or just if I could grab one. Would love to have with some salad stuffed inside

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  3. One of the things we desperately miss in the US is the baps we can buy in almost any grocery store in the UK. I will be trying your Irish baps for sure, Karen!

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  4. Oh, now I must compare these to the blaas! I never actually was a huge fan of floury tops and would leave it off for myself, but the rice flour and the crackle appeals!

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  5. What do I use instead of rice flour , impossible to get where I am, and using all purpose flour

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    Replies
    1. You can use white wheat flour. You can also grind your own rice flour if you like. Or just skip it altogether.

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  6. Crunchy top sounds lovely and I know we are going to love these rolls. Your Belfast Baps have turned out beautifully and love the texture!

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  7. These look so amazing! I cant wait to try them out

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  8. You are such an impressive baker! I so want to do these--and the version with lard, which I do always have around!

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