Welcome To Ovenminded

About My Bakin', Cookin', Wine Makin'!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BBA#16 Kaiser Rolls

Kaiser rolls, that wonderfully crunchy crust, light airy interior, great with anything you may fill it with, spread on it or just eat plain. Turn back the clock , ( if only we could!!), I'm 8, my cousin Vinny , yeah I know, is also 8, it's Sunday, our task, when we visit Grandma and Grandpa on Sundays, is to walk to the  Italian bakery, Cuccio's, on the corner of W 1st and Ave X  in Brooklyn . Our parents gave us just the right amount of time, for 2 eight year olds, to reach the bakery just before 2pm, when the rolls would be coming out of the oven!
Of course we loved our walk to pick up those 3 dozen hot, from the oven Kaiser rolls, about four, that's what Vinny and I would eat on the way back, which always took longer, there had to be enough time to eat the 2 rolls! They were so delicious, the bakery is still there, making those rolls ,as well as breads, and Italian pastries, the aromas when you enter can only be described as heavenly sweet with the fragrance of fresh bread, the  hint  vanilla and of anise from the pastries.
 I have never had a kaiser roll as good as that since then, part, I am sure is just memory and not all fact, but I still have not had a good one since. It now seems strange to me with all the baking I do, why had I not made Kaiser rolls before? Partly due to my displeasure with some of the bread recipes from the books I was  using, guess  I thought , how good could the rolls be, still holding the rolls of my youth as the standard .
 Joining the BBA challenge with other amateur bakers at Chris' site  http://akuindeed.com/?p=3797#more-3797, has been immensely rewarding, the sharing of experiences with the recipes has helped me to be a better baker, as well as I believe the excellent book by Peter Reinhardt, The Bread Bakers Apprentice. I have learned more about baking bread from this one book than all of the other four I own. 
 My wife and I were anticipating the kaiser Roll challenge like two kids on Christmas eve.
The rolls were really good, really, really good! Did they meet the standard of the rolls of my youth...no, was I disappointed, not at all, they were delicious, though I think I under baked them a bit, and the result was a less than crisp crust, but the crumb was creamy colored, airy, and fragrant of a  slight sweetness from the malt I would think, as well as the cold ferment process of the pate ferment.
The recipe is not difficult, the instructions were easy to follow , the amount of liquid and flour will always be at odds with a recipe, the humidity of one's kitchen, the moisture in the flour are all a factor in making the dough. I follow the recipe and adjust as needed, without considering the accuracy of it, perhaps because I had always been doing that. I see that since we are in fact critiquing the recipe I need to be more aware of variances, but still , it's so easy to over hydrate at the start, and then have to add more flour, or under hydrate, the only way to be sure of the accuracy would require the same conditions and products the author used when making the bread. Here again I am back where I started, because every recipe ,no matter what I'm making has variables written into it, cook  30 minutes  OR UNTIL DONE, OK, just how long is that? that would depend ,again on the environment, the ingredients, the oven. knead until soft and pliable and tacky, well, a newbie, as we all once were, and at times I still am, would have some difficulty with that, just how pliable is pliable, experience always, repetition is the learning curve.
 I had used less than the amount of water only 4 & 1/2 oz.,and still needed to add some additional flour, perhaps the pate ferment had more moisture then I was aware of. In any event the dough came together was soft and slightly tacky. The problem I did have was with shaping, I did buy a Kaiser roll design cutter, along with other items, a couple months back, the hand method  I kinda botched, didn't make the rope long enough, and didn't want to do any others by hand, I have the cutter, use that, as i did want to try my new toy! Well it seems I over proofed the rolls, PR said to turn them over and proof  30- 45 min longer, it seemed to me that they were already proofed enough, but I still let them rise about 10 min more. I then brushed them with an egg white beaten with a tbs of water and then sprinkled on sesame seeds and one with poppy.
 Into the oven at 425, sprayed the walls and  floor with water, that's the oven of course LOL.After 10 minutes lowered the oven to 400 and rotated the pan 180 degrees. the rolls were already brown, let them bake just 6 more minutes and took them out, as I didn't want to burn them by leaving in for the full 20 minute total even though it said a total of 30 minutes, again I would think some ovens might need longer, but I know my electric oven is very efficient at holding heat. So did I under bake them, or was it the topping of egg white that caused the early browning, I'll have to make them again and bake longer to find out.Also I think I will leave out the oil and perhaps the egg also and see If I can achieve that crunchy crust of my youth.
 The resulting rolls were delicious though not with a crisp crust, eating them was a distinct pleasure as only the savoring of a new  pleasing taste can be, although the over proofing obliterated the cutter markings, but not the on the one I hand shaped! Also mine were a bit larger, 5 oz, and rose much higher than those PR pictured in the book.So it seems less proofing , just till doubled, no longer, would be the way to go.Next time I'll hand shape 3 and cut 3 as a test of the final appearance, I forgotten about the link Chris had put on his post about shaping the rolls. 
I looked at it ,after mine were done, and it is much simpler to follow than PR's method, although it's the same method.
Here is the process:
10 oz bread flour, 6oz lukewarm water, malt syrup 1 &1/2 tsp,1 egg beaten, 8oz pate ferment warmed on work counter 1 hour, (3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp instant yeast,1& 1/2 tbs veg oil, not shown)
Added all to mixer ,first dry then wet , 4 &1/4 oz water, mixed 1 minute, added additional flour, about 1/2 cup, to achieve a proper dough slightly sticky, which would eventually be tacky after kneading 6 min with dough hook, added sprinkles of flour as needed ( part of 1/2 cup)  when dough was soft and supple and slightly tacky, shaped into a boule and put into an oiled bowl to rise for 2 hours.
After 2 hours weighed the dough, it was 30 oz, so i made 6 ,5oz pieces
Shaped them into rounds, first a boule then rolled under a cupped hand pressing against the table to form into a ball. lightly sprayed them with oil and covered with plastic sheet to rest 10 minutes
After 10 minutes ,rolled one into a rope about 9" long
Tried to follow method to shape, should have done it again as it was not correct, but I wanted to use my new 'toy' the kaiser roll cutter.
It does look good at this point.....but
After all were shaped ,1, 5 cut with toy..placed top side down on a oiled sprayed and cornmeal dusted parchment, lightly spray oiled them, covered with plastic and let rise 45 minutes.
 Turned them over, at this time they were proofed, I should have brushed them  with an egg white beaten with 1 tbs water added toppings, 5 sesame 1 poppy, now instead of further proofing as it said in the book, but i didn't , sometimes you gotta go with what you see, but I didn't? I let them rise again, but only 10 minutes, enough is enough.
Sprinkled  sesame seeds on the last roll,
They look good except the markings were not there, due to too much proofing and the oven spring, note the 'hand' shaped one held it distinctive shape albeit improperly shaped, they smelled great!
In keeping with the meaning of Ruler or King, I made a sandwich befitting one, ( IMO,anyway) on our fresh baked kaiser roll!
 Real mayo, red lettuce, sliced tomato, grilled ,brined, skinless boneless  chicken breast, Munster cheese, crisp steamed fresh asparagus, and crisp thick sliced bacon,  ( hey, it's for the King!!LOL) 


  1. Very nice rolls! Your dough looks great too. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but when my head is saying, "It looks ready" or "That's way to much flour" I have started to listen to it rather than the directions in the book! I really like his book and have learned a lot from it, but my instinct is taking over and when I trust it my breads come out so much better! I have been slacking off in BBA cuz most of the recipes are for white flour which is making my husband ill. Hard to stay away from it if I am always making white breads! I will try to make what I can, but will be using WW flour so it's rather hard to compare.

  2. Jim, your rolls look wonderful! That burger looks pretty nice too!