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BBA #16: Kaiser rolls [Mar. 20th, 2014|10:35 am]
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My gaming group has learned to look forward to the days when it's my turn to cook, because it's usually when I will try the next BBA bread. The first question that Ian asked when he came through the door Tuesday night was, "what's tonight's bread?"

The answer was, Kaiser rolls. Also known as hard rolls or bulkies. You know, the hamburger bun-sized rolls with a little star-shaped pattern in the top.

Now, I debated about making these rolls, because what I was making for dinner was not something that naturally went on a bun. I was making chicken and corn chowder, otherwise known as "CSA soup." This is because I had a lot of produce from my CSA and also a chicken that needed stewing rather than roasting. So my first thought was that I would make a different bread to go with the soup. Alas, my OCD nature is such that skipping forward in the book and not doing the breads in order was something I just couldn't get behind. So my second thought was to make them small like dinner rolls. But that would mean shaping a LOT of them, so eventually I just gave up and put these two great tastes that didn't go all that great together in front of my diners.

None of them complained. Except to say that the bread would be really fabulous with the pulled pork I made a while back. So I will eventually do that.

Anyway, on to the bread. Once again I will spare you pictures of dough. It all looks like dough. This was another bread that started with a preferment, and then putting it all together on the morning of the second day. Once it was risen, the fun began. I made a double batch (because I know my friends), so had to divide it into 12 "even" parts. I realized that I just plain need to use the scale to do this, because I am crap at eyeballing these divisions.

Once divided down, the dough gets shaped into rolls. This is where I learned the awful truth about Kaiser rolls. You want to know how bakeries get that traditional star shape in the top of the roll? They just form them into little balls and then use a Kaiser roll cutter to cut the shape into them! Scandalous!

There would be none of that for me. For one thing, I don't have an Kaiser roll cutter (and don't have a large enough kitchen for single-purpose tools like that). For another, if I'm going to do a thing, I want to do it the original way.

The original way is to turn each piece of dough into a long rope:

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And then to tie it into a knot:

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You then take the ends of the knot and tuck one under and up and the other over and down:

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This was one of those amazing moments when I looked at the pictures in the book and then looked at my own rolls, and realized that my rolls actually looked better than the ones in the book.

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While they were rising, I got in my workout for the day, then got home just in time to put them in the oven. I changed the recipe a little at this point by adding an egg wash to get better color and gloss on the finished rolls:

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Half of them are poppy seed, the other half sesame seed. The thing that is still amazing to me is that they actually look like Kaiser rolls!
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And thanks to a great suggestion about tossing ice cubes into the oven to create steam, I got a great, thin and crunchy crust on them, as well as an airy crumb:

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If it weren't for that pesky "having to work" nonsense, I don't think I would even buy a hamburger bun again. These were really delicious.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wilhelmina_d
2014-03-20 03:10 pm (UTC)

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Those look amazing!
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2014-03-20 03:33 pm (UTC)

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Congrats!! I'll have to get my Hubby to try this one!!
[User Picture]From: dr_phil_physics
2014-03-20 05:19 pm (UTC)

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Growing up near Niagara Falls, we would cross over to Canada, stop and get some supplies in St. Catherines and then go over to the lock on the Welland Canal and watch the freighters lock through, while having my father's chocolate sandwiches:

Kaiser rolls fresh from the bakery, sliced
Butter
slab of Cadbury's Milk Chocolate ***

On a cold, cold morning, it was wonderful for kids of all ages, including my father. (grin)

Dr. Phil

*** This was back when in Canada you could still get imported U.K. Cadbury's.
[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-03-20 05:24 pm (UTC)

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Before I came to the US, I had not properly appreciated the American attachment to the hamburger bun/dinner roll continuum. Wife'n'friends were appreciative of the fact that I made all the bread, but it was a sort of low-key appreciation. Until we got the barbecue going, and I casually threw together a batch of sesame seed buns, and - yeah. Jokes about Chaz'z buns notwithstanding, the degree of adulation is embarrassing to my English sensibility. Kaiser rolls are new to me, though - and m'wife's birthday party is Saturday. Thanks so much for this post; I am taking it as a prompt...
[User Picture]From: cynic51
2014-03-20 11:36 pm (UTC)

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On the other hand, we somehow managed NOT to finish all of them. I think because it's easier to say "wow, I've eaten a lot of rolls" compared to "wow, I've somehow had every slice off this loaf".
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-21 03:11 am (UTC)

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True! Plus is WAS a double batch.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-21 08:26 pm (UTC)

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I would totally eat those with soup.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: deep_blue_see
2014-04-13 09:58 pm (UTC)

Just so you know...

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...your BBA posts (two years ago) stuck in my head, as "when I have the headspace and a kitchen I'm happy with, I totally want to do that".
I (finally) made Anadama Bread today. :-)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-04-14 07:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Just so you know...

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Awesome!!!

I have gaming group on Wednesday, and the next bread is a cracker, so I think I will make them.