German Bread Rolls
Lately I have rediscovered my passion for baking. While I have often prepared sweets in the past, everything that had to do with bread just seemed a bit too complicated to me. Since you have to pay so much attention to yeast and temperature, I can never bake at home. Until I tried it one day and had to realize that there is nothing magical about it.
Today I present to you a frozen-friendly recipe for Kaiser rolls, which have become real classics in our household. The ability to freeze the rolls and bake them up again only briefly makes this recipe a real gamechanger. As soon as the freezer is empty, new “Weckle” – that’s what we call bread rolls in our local dialect – are baked (usually on the weekend), which you can easily take to work or university during the week.
You start with a large bowl into which you put the lukewarm water and dissolve the yeast in it. Yeast is alive, so it needs some nourishment to grow. You add this nourishment in the form of a pinch of sugar. The temperature of the water is important in that the yeast bacteria multiply faster in warm water. But be careful: The water should not be really hot, because otherwise you will kill the bacteria and your buns will become hard like stone!
If your yeast is very fresh you can proceed directly in the preparation. In general, it is recommended to let the yeast-water mixture stand for about 10 minutes. After this time, small bubbles should have formed on the surface. This means that your yeast was active and has multiplied.
Now flour, salt and optionally some baker’s malt are added and first roughly mixed with a spoon until all the flour is bound. The baking malt is added for aesthetic and taste reasons. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also find it in well-stocked supermarkets. However, the rolls will be first class without malt (I speak from experience, as I have also forgotten the malt at times).
If you have a food processor, you can of course knead the dough with it. I knead mine by hand. Simply fold one side of the dough over the other and press firmly. With the other hand, turn the bowl and repeat with another side of the dough. If the dough sticks to your hands too much, add a little more flour.
Once your dough is pliable, add some oil to the bowl, roll the dough in it and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Now the dough must rise. To do this, place the bowl in a warm place (in our case, next to the central unit of the underfloor heating) and wait until the dough has doubled in size.
Now the rolls are formed. Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead again briefly. With the help of a kitchen scale, you can divide the dough into nine pieces weighing about 95 grams. If you don’t have a scale at hand, simply divide the dough into thirds and divide the pieces into thirds again.
To shape the rolls, take a piece of dough in your left hand and fold the outer side of the dough inward with your right hand. Rotate the piece with your left hand and keep folding with your right. You will notice that this builds up tension on the outside. The rolls must now rise again (but shorter than before).
For this recipe it is important that you preheat the oven in time. When the rolls have risen nicely, take a sharp knife and cut into the dough. Here it helps to just go at it with a little courage. To avoid flattening the rolls again, you should cut them in a fluid motion if possible.
To give the rolls a golden sheen and a crispy crust, I spray them with a little water. I also add the amount of a coffee cup full of water to the oven, either on a tray or simply on the bottom of the oven. The water evaporates in the oven and gives the rolls a wonderful color and texture.
After a short baking time, the whole house will smell wonderful and you can soon enjoy homemade buns.
To freeze the rolls, place them in freezer bags. The exact procedure for baking can be found in the recipe below.
German Bread Rolls
- 3 cups flour
- 1.25 cups water lukewarm
- 1 cube fresh yeast Alternatively: 1 pck. dry yeast
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp malt
- 2 tsp salt
- Water for sprinkling the rolls and for the oven
- Dissolve yeast with sugar in lukewarm water and let stand for about 10 minutes until the mixture forms small bubbles.
- Knead with the remaining ingredients for 10 minutes to form a smooth dough. Let rise covered in an oiled bowl for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
- Knead dough again briefly on a floured work surface. Divide into nine 95-gram pieces and shape into rolls. Cover again and let rise on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 410 °F convection oven. Cut the rolls twice with a sharp knife and spray with water. Add a little water to the oven and close the door quickly (steam will develop).
- Bake the rolls for about 18 minutes until golden brown or until the desired degree of browning.