Fun with Waterford Blaas #BreadBakers

 This month, our BreadBakers host has settled on the challenge of making Irish or St. Patrick's inspired breads.  There are quite a lot of quick leavened bread options from Ireland, but fewer yeast raised breads that I could find.  One of these is the Waterford Blaa, which I might have disastrously compared to a Scottish Bap if I hadn't seen that the latter is a more enriched dough than the blaa.  (I suppose I could be excused as I have both Scottish and Irish roots, but the Irish are more recent.)  My great grandmother Maloney came over from Ireland with her widowed mother to America and married my great granddad, and those stories need to be written down by my mom so we can remember!   I understand that it is hard to find a "decent" Waterford Blaa outside of county Waterford and that it is practically a protected recipe now, like Champagne or Parmesan, needing to actually be made in the region to qualify.  Therefore, I am using an authentic recipe, but also having some fun with it in shaping to honor Ireland and St. Patrick's day.

It was quite fortuitous that my full batch of Blaa dough gave me exactly the amount I needed to make one dinner's worth of Blaas, one full lucky shamrock to commemorate the wearing of the green, as well as a half batch of lemon cloverleaf rolls as another shamrock treat.  I do love the old Irish air, The Wearing of the Green, though it always makes me sad to hear.  Fortunately, I am currently tasting the cloverleaf rolls... and holy hand grenades, they are tasty!  I would make this dough again just to make these!  The Blaas are super soft and fluffy, but not airy, with a lovely chew and flavor to the crumb from the multiple rises.  Looking forward to trying them out with butter and marmalade as they were a traditional breakfast roll.  They are also quite popular eaten buttered, with rashers or bacon.

 Waterford Blaas
makes 12 buns

⅔ cup (5floz/142ml) warm water
1½ (.5oz/14g) tablespoons dry active yeast (that's two packets)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cups (10½ floz/300ml) water
1½ tsp salt
5½ cups (1¾ lbs/780g) bread flour (I used half bread flour, half all purpose flour)

In a glass measure, combine the ⅔ cup warm water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved.  Allow to activate for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.

Mix the salt into the flour.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour followed by the remaining water, a little at a time, mixing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the bottom of the bowl.

Once the dough comes together, knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the dough should feel smooth and elastic, stretching without breaking.

Cover and allow to proof for about one hour in a warm spot.

After one hour the dough should have at least doubled in size.

Knock the dough back, reform into a ball, and then return it to the bowl for a second proof. This should take about 30-40 minutes.

After the second rise turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently cut it into 12 even-sized pieces. About piece should be around 90g/3oz in weight.

Roll gently between your palms to form each roll into a nice round shape. Place the rolls about 1 inch apart in a baking pan (about 9x13-in.)

Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to proof once more for 45-60 minutes.  This third proof is where the rolls will take on their distinctive flavor.

Dust the top of the rolls with a bit of flour and bake at 425°F ( 210°C) in a pre-heated oven for about 25-35 minutes. The rolls should have crisp bottoms when fully baked and should not be too brown on top.

Enjoy with Irish butter and jam for breakfast or butter and rashers (or bacon) in the middle. Store at room temperature for 2 days. These rolls freeze well for up to 6 weeks also and will reheat beautifully in the oven.

(From my full batch of dough, I took four 90g pieces for my blaas, eight 50g pieces for my shamrock, and six 80g pieces for my cloverleaf buns.  The shamrock was shaped as if making a heart shaped pretzel, with two pieces joined at the point, then folding the arms around and under to make a hugging heart.  Then four hearts are combined for a lucky shamrock.  Three hearts would make a regular shamrock which would typically have a stem placed in between two leaves.  The shamrock is glazed with an egg wash and baked at 375ºF for 20 minutes, covering with foil at the final 5 minutes to prevent over-browning if necessary.)

For the cloverleaf rolls, the dough is portioned into three small pieces per roll.  I made six rolls, here are the proportions for a full batch of 12 rolls:
(Each of my rolls was 80g, divided into three 26-27g pieces, using a full batch of blaa dough, they would be 90g rolls divided into 30g each)

zest from 2 medium size lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Rub the lemon zest into the sugar.  Grease a muffin tin.  Dip each piece of dough into the butter and then into the sugar mixture and place three pieces into each muffin cup.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan immediately to cooling rack.

Combine icing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over rolls while still warm.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 Be sure to check out the rest of our bakers' breads this month!

#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.




  1. So glad that you had fun with this challenge Kelly. I would love one of these rolls with bacon for breakfast this morning.

  2. Love this, and the beautifully made shamrock . Love waterford blaas with some butter and jam

  3. Very cute shaping Kelly!! And your traditional blaas are gorgeous.

  4. What a fabulous way to shape the dough for St. Patrick's Day! I love when a Bread Baker fuller engages and has a great time with the bake! So lovely!

  5. Love the Texture of the blaas and the way you shaped them into shamrocks! Very creative and amazing recipe! I am bookmarking to try it.


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