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Need Help with an Old Recipe for Rolls please?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Many, many moons ago I was back in the Midlands of England and asked a relative for a recipe to make a local bread roll known as a Cob in the East Midlands. Its a fairly standard looking roll but tends to break apart in pieces in the crusty areas when you bite into it making it an old favourite with old cheddar and slices of onion or salad for those with a dislike for raw onion:-)


The recipe issues as as follow.  (I am no baker remember:-) )    


1. What is Strong Flour? and is it available in Western Canada?


2. What is Softex and is it available in Western Canada please?


Recipe is as follows'


3 lb flour strong 
1.5 oz per lb Softex
0.75 oz per lb yeast
10 oz per lb water


If anyone can help and make sense of the recipe ie write it so I can bake it at home perhaps I would greatly appreciate the help guys:-)


Cheers Jumper

post #2 of 17

Strong flour means bread flour. Look at the recipe linked at the very bottom and compare it's ratios to yours. Once you make the metric conversions, they are very close to yours. It appears that Softex must have been a brand of butter or margarine. I can't find anything about it. Maybe they went out of business.


Your recipe doesn't include salt though. Probably just an oversight when the relative wrote the recipe for you. Bread without salt tastes like cardboard to me. Some people do bake without it though.


Also keep in mind your recipe makes 3 times more than the one below. I would scale yours to 1 lb of flour. If it comes out well, and you want to make a lot, then use the 3 lb recipe.


I just noticed that the yeast ratio is a little different. Yours calls for about 1/2 as much more. A pack of yeast is .25 oz. Even the 2 packs per lb of flour called for in the below recipe sounds high. Yours calls for 3 packs per lb. Maybe your recipe shouldn't be .75 oz per lb, but just .75 oz for the whole recipe.


Math isn't my strong suit, so take my calculations with a grain (or couple teaspoons) of salt...and yeast. hahaha


Here's a calculator to do yeast conversions with links to other handy calculators.

post #3 of 17

Just realized maybe the yeast in your recipe is fresh yeast, not dry active. See the link I gave you for calculations. I can probably rewrite the recipe when I have time, if you need it. Just let me know what amount you want to make, which yeast you will use, and tell me what measurements you want to use. (oz or grams, ml, etc.)

post #4 of 17

Strong flour is the British term for a high-gluten flour, or what we call "bread flour" here in the US


Softex sounds like some sort of a conditioning additive for texture.  Maybe something that makes the rolls similar to Wonder bread?  But never heard of that and googling didn't help since that name is associated with a Greek paper towel company.  I don't think that is what the recipe author intended.

post #5 of 17

Not a good source for supplies for the non-commercial baker, but here is softex (read down near the bottom of the list):

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the considerable efforts Brian is finding the info supplied, appreciated:-)  I have just written to CSM from the link to see what light they can add:-)


I am most grateful:-)



post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hiya, thanks for the very kind offer, and any help would be greatly appreciated as I am no baker:-)  All I am wanting to achieve is to make perhaps a dozen Cobs once in a while my neighbor and I can enjoy the memories of this most excellent morsel on special occasions perhaps?


My neighbor is from just 16 miles away and also loved Cobs:-)


What a great group of helpful folks on this great site:-)


Cheers All:-)



post #8 of 17

King Arthur has a dough conditioner that they sell in retail quantities.  That might be a good substitute???

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Cheers Brian, will see if available locally and give it a go mate.


Cheers Jumper

post #10 of 17

Ok so not butter!! Sorry. Good detective work Brian. I was stumped searching just "softex" and as you can imagine "softex rolls" didn't get me any further!


What do you think about the yeast?

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hiya, I have written to a national bakery supplier in the UK to ask for an equivalent product in Canada or the US  for Softex  so hope they will send info next week :-)  Many thanks for helping. Butt, I am not sure about Softex tissue, might be a tiny bit hard to swallow, maybe a pint or two would help:-)  Been here many years in Canada but I still often chuckle at the use of words in Southern Canada/ N American :-) that meant something quite different in the UK:-) The wonders of English eh:-)lol



post #12 of 17

I'm also in Western Canada -- Vancouver, BC, to be exact. I bake a lot of bread and use unbleached Rogers All-Purpose Flour, made from hard wheat grown in BC & Alberta. So I'd substitute that for the strong flour.


The Softex - I wonder if it's a form of diastatic malt powder.  I use a scant teaspoon for every 3 cups of flour. If you use too much, it can make the dough too soft & sticky. I think you can get it from King Arthur, but I buy it locally in Vancouver.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Cheers Summer for the info supplied and response, I have written to a UK National Bakery supplier to find out exactly what Softex is and hope to hear sometime next week then can better judge what to use instead hey:-)  I am in Brentwood Bay, just by Butchart Gardens.  Good to hear from you neighbor:-)



post #14 of 17

Softex is a dough conditioner compromised of Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, a modified fatty acid compound that is a foaming agent for making bread dough very light and airy.


@BrianShaw was right, it's what makes Wonder bread so light and fluffy.


You should be looking for a (commercial) baking ingredient supplier in your area to find a similar ingredient i.e. ask for a SSL dough conditioner for bread making. They should be able to recommend something.

I found these guys in BC that potentially should carry this ingredient but it's probably difficult to obtain just a small quantity.


Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
I eat science everyday, do you?
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hiya Luc, Wow, you have sure done your due diligence or research on this project:-)  Cannot thank you enough for all the digging and supplying the links etc.:-) I am still awaiting an answer from the UK based Bakery supplier re the Softex but will post a followup when it arrives.  I was sad when I realized the Softex product was something likely used in Wonder bread as that was just awful likeness for bread as a recall:-) We had it in the mess hall when in the Paras and I almost went off bread completely due to it.


Then I met my amazing better half  of almost 38 years who when not counting beans  for a living loves to bake and would love to bake more often but is now stuck with an old gimp ex soldier to take care of so her time is limited to spend time researching how to make great pie dough, artisan bread, cheese scones and really good biscotti etc which are her future challenges hopefully but she tries often late at night bless her ,as she runs a bake sale at work for charity too:-) I know Super Women she is:-) And I ignorantly thought I was the tough one hey:-)


Sorry for going off track here but to all who helped I really appreciate your help and input. I will contact one of the suppliers you linked and see what deals can be made tomorrow:-)


Cheers All



post #16 of 17

Hi Jumper,

You're in Beautiful Brentwood Bay! A little bit of heaven! If your better half is interested in artisan bread, maybe drive up to True Grain bakery in Cowichan Bay one day this summer. They grind their own flour on site. There's nothing like freshly-ground flour - I've used their Red Fife whole wheat flour, so much better than supermarket flours.


And Luc - great detective work!

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hiya Summer, many thanks for the update and suggestion:-)  We are heading up there sometime soon a little birdie told me, so will take a look so we know where it is for summer crops etc:-) 


The Queen loves to bake artisan breads so I have bought her a few (good) books to work from and some work well and others during tax time perhaps a little less than perfect:-)  I would love to get her proper lessons but perhaps in a couple of years when retirement arrives if the goalposts stay still long enough to make it happen hey:-)lol


Reconnecting to the great folk on this list and me supplying her with bits and pieces of info from folks who work in the field have been really useful as have been the few recipes I have been supplied over the last couple of years.  Being creative during tax season is hard but its nearly over again so if anyone has fail safe baking recipes to share as noted in an earlier message in this post I will gladly accept so the Queen can reign supreme hey:-)lol


Cheers Jumper

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