Breads & Doughs

How to Make Waterford Blaas (Authentic Irish Rolls Recipe)

4.77 from 99 votes
Have you heard of blaas? It's common in Ireland — especially County Waterford — and my Waterford Blaas recipe results in a floury bread roll, soft, and endlessly delicious.
Side profile of Waterford Blaas rolls.

Hi Bold Bakers!

This is Patricia Stafford (Gemma’s Mum) sharing my recipe for a famous bread I grew up on in Waterford, Ireland called blaas.  

Waterford Blaas are something that, if you have ever been to County Waterford in Ireland, you will have probably come across. This recipe is found only in Waterford, where the world-famous crystal glass also comes from. Similar to how Champagne can only really be made in the Champagne region of France, if blaas are made outside of County Waterford, then they are no longer considered blaa rolls, but a regular bread roll instead (but mine are blaas).

It’s believed to have been brought to Waterford and the South East by the French during the reformation. The blaa is a soft, white, floury bread roll, similar to a Bap or Hamburger Bun. It is popular here in Ireland, especially in Waterford City and County. They are also made in Kilkenny and Clonmel, both originally Norman walled towns.  

Because of the huge demand for blaa rolls, and in an effort to increase production, many Waterford bakers place the round dough pieces close to each other on the baking tray. During fermentation, the round dough pieces expand and batch together, so they bake out in a square, rather than a round shape. Prior to baking, the trays of rolls are dusted liberally with white flour. The dusting flour does not take on color in the oven and remains white.

Authentic Waterford Blaas, baked, showing the dusting of flour on top.

What Makes Authentic Waterford “Blaas?”

The origin of the name blaa is debated, though some would say it comes from the French word for corn “Blé.” A true, authentic Blaa should be made from naturally fermented dough, and the rounded dough pieces should be given a prolonged proof prior to baking. This traditional method gives the blaa its distinctive flavor. My recipe describes how to make blaa rolls by proving it once, then knocking back the dough gently. After that, it’s proving, shaping, and proving again before dusting with flour and baking. It’s this which gives them their special flavor. This process cannot be rushed, and if it is, then your blaa rolls will be a totally different thing!

What Goes Best On A Blaa?

This is personal presence but when the kids were young and I’d bring home Blaas from Waterford we would have them simply with butter and rashers — which is Irish bacon cut from the loin more so then the belly compared to American bacon.

[ Make your own Homemade Butter! ]

What You Need To Make Blaas

This recipe requires a double proofing and uses more yeast than your usual bread roll. Here are the special things you might need to get to make them:

  1. Active Dry Yeast. This recipe uses active dry yeast, which you’ll need to sponge before you add it in, instead of instant yeast (which you add to recipes without sponging).
  2. Bread Flour. You can sometimes swap out bread flour for all-purpose flour, but the higher protein content in bread flour will yield a result much closer to authentic Blaas this time around. IF you do use all-purpose, you might need less liquid, too, so be aware.

How to Make Waterford Blaas

This recipe really is quite simple and the hardest part will be waiting for the double proof — waiting is hard when you want fresh rolls! Here’s how you make them:

  1. Add your warm water, yeast, and sugar together and mix until dissolved. Let this rest until the yeast activates and bubbles!
  2. Mix your flour and salt together.
  3. Add your yeasty water to the flour, mix.
    1. Note: only add enough of the liquid until your dough forms a ball and the bowl is clean. You might need less — or a bit more — water depending on your flour and location to get the desired ball of dough!
  4. Knead for 5 minutes, either by hand or in your mixer.
  5. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and let it proof for about an hour in a warm spot.
    1. Note: Check on it when you’re approaching an hour. Depending on the heat and humidity of where you live, you might need a little less, or a little more, time.
  6. Knock the air out of the dough and put it back in the bowl for another round of proofing. This time should be shorter, around 30 minutes, but keep an eye on it again.
  7. Turn out the dough and cut it into 12 equal pieces.
  8. Roll the dough pieces into balls, smoothing out the seams. Place them in your baking pan about 1 inch apart.
  9. Cover and let rise for a final time, in the pan, for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  10. Dust liberally with flour, and bake in a 425°F ( 210°C) in a pre-heated oven for about 25-35 minutes.
  11. Eat and enjoy with butter — and bacon, if you’d like!

How to Store Them

Store the Blaas at room temperature in an airtight container. I like to keep them out of the fridge so the texture is softer. Blaas last for up to 3 days but also they freeze really well. I often pop them into the freezer and then I have them when I want just one roll for a sandwich.

Tips and Tricks for making Authentic Waterford Blaas

  • To be prepared, make the dough the day before and bake the Blaas off fresh the next day
  • Don’t forget to do the double proof as it is what gives Blaas their distinguished flavor
  • After 3 days you can re-fresh your Blaas in the oven wrapped in foil and lightly baked at 350°F (180°C) for roughly 10 minutes or until soft again
  • If you Blaas go stale and dry you can put them in a food processor and make bread crumbs out of them

I hope you enjoy this recipe,

Patricia xx.

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How to Make Waterford Blaas (Authentic Irish Recipe)

4.77 from 99 votes
Have you heard of blaas? It's common in Ireland — especially County Waterford — and my Waterford Blaas recipe results in a floury bread roll, soft, and endlessly delicious.
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 12
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
proofing 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Have you heard of blaas? It's common in Ireland — especially County Waterford — and my Waterford Blaas recipe results in a floury bread roll, soft, and endlessly delicious.
Author: Patricia Stafford
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • cup (5floz/142ml) warm water
  • 1 1/2 (.5oz/14g) tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 1/2 floz/300ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups (1 3/4 lbs/780g) bread flour

Instructions

  • In a small jug add the warm water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Allow standing for about 5 minutes to activate and bubble.
  • Add the salt to the flour and mix well.
  • Add the yeasty water to the flour along with the remaining water bit by bit, stirring with a whisk or in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. (Note: Only add enough water for your dough to form a ball and clean the bottom of the bowl)
  • Once the dough comes together into a nice clean ball knead the dough, by hand or in your stand mixer with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the dough should feel smooth and elastic, stretching without breaking.
  • Put the dough into a large oiled bowl, and allow to proof for about one hour in a warm spot.
  • After one hour the dough should have at least doubled in size. If you press your finger into the dough it shouldn't bounce back. That means it's proofed enough. 
  • Knock the air out of the dough then return it to the bowl for a second proof. This should take about 30 minutes.
  • After the second proofing turn the dough onto a floured table and gently cut it into 12 even-sized pieces. About (90g/3oz) in weight. 
  • Roll gently between your palms to shape each roll into a nice round shape. Place the rolls about 1 inch apart in a pan (about 9 inches x 13 inches).
  • Cover the rolls with cling wrap and allow to proof once more for 45 minutes to an hour. At this point the dough ferments, giving these rolls their distinctive flavor.
  • Dust the top of the rolls with a bit of flour and bake in a 425°F ( 210°C) in a pre-heated oven for about 25-35 minutes. These rolls should have crisp bottoms when fully baked. They should not be too brown on top.
  • Enjoy with Irish 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. 

Recipe Notes

Serve with butter and jam! This was a breakfast roll, available from early in the morning when I was a child. Someone would be sent to get them in the morning for an occasional treat. They would be warm and delicious. These are best on the day they are made, but can be frozen and refreshed in a hot oven.

For Waterford people this is a sacred thing, proceed with caution!

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Gerry
Gerry
3 months ago

I’ve just done the first and second fermentation, shaped them into balls and put them in the fridge for overnight proofing. But now that I am trying to search the internet for proofing Blaa’s overnight and failing to find info I am starting to panic. Can I proof the Blaa’s overnight in the fridge? Many thanks!

jmtuna
4 months ago

Fell in love w/Blaa while spending 3.5 wks in Ireland. Wish I would’ve known when we left Waterford that Blaa was a regional culinary delight. I should have filled the glovebox. 1st attempt at Blaa- turned out pretty well. Easy to make, proofing wasnt bad & 1 is quite filling.

Shelly H.
Shelly H.
4 months ago

Gemma, thank you for these rolls. They completed my Corned beef and cabbage dinner. We even had Irish butter! My husband had a question, why the flour on top? I might have had a snowstorm on top..

Kelly
Kelly
4 months ago

I tried this recipe and I had to use plain flour because I didn’t have bread flour. I followed the recipe but mine turned out with a very hard and crisp outside. The inside was soft and tasted nice. I ate them with soup so it would soften the outside.
If I have followed the recipe apart from the flour, what could be going wrong?

I will try it again in the future and hopefully will see a difference.

Teresa Johnson
Teresa Johnson
4 months ago

You and your mom made my Saint Patricks Day! Can’t wait to try this bread!!! Thanks for sharing!

Susan
Susan
4 months ago

OMG, BLAAS!!! I can’t wait to try this recipe. – A Waterford girl living in America.

Elizabeth Coyne Hunt
4 months ago

Hi Gemma! I loved seeing you bake with your mom. I have been to Ireland 3 times; my first time was a semester of college spent in Tully Cross. I absolutely loved living there. The community was wonderful to us. Anyway, I can’t wait to try your mom’s recipe for the Blaas and the Irish Soda bread. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Happy St Patrick’s day! Slainte!

Meghan
Meghan
5 months ago

Thank you so much for the recipe! Making it with my kids today… hope it comes out okay, as I think we may have added an extra cup of flour after we lost count because someone asked a question…. lol…. but the dough came together and we had a “clean bowl”! So I’m hopeful!

Sophia sofia
5 months ago

Hi Gemma & mrs Patricia
I am planning to make them but I am little bit confused with the yeast.. I thought that there were two types: the fresh one and the dry which you don’t need to add it in water. The yeast you use is active dry and you need to sponge it in water. Can I use dry yeast and sponge it in water ??

Thank you in advance

Sofia

Brian
Brian
1 month ago

HI Gemma I’m from Waterford thank your mum for showing how to make a blaa they turned
out great just as nice as Hickey’s on Barrick Street and M&D Bakery going to make your carrot cake tomorrow take care Gemma best wishes from Tramore ps wonder was the shop on the Cork Road
where your mum got the blaas Dunphy’s or Nolan’s

Eileen
Eileen
2 months ago

Hi Gemma – I really want to make these but am concerned about the high temperature – can you confirm whether you use a fan oven please? If you don’t then I’d need to reduce the temperature as my oven is a fan oven (I’m in the UK) many thanks.

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