I procrastinated the next bread on the BBA Challenge list – Kaiser rolls – for a couple of weeks because I can buy really good Kaiser rolls at every corner here. So I was not really motivated because I was sure my rolls definitely wouldn’t be better than the ones from the bakery.
Just in case you are wondering whether Kaiser rolls are really typical for Germany or “only something Americans think is German, or some American variation of something that is German” (as my friend Sara from Three Clever Sisters put it) – IMHO they are typical. You can buy them not only in Southern Germany (where they maybe originally come from), but in every part of Germany. Here in the Berlin area all poppy seed rolls are Kaiser rolls, but you can buy plain ones, too. I LOVE the poppy seed version!
For Kaiser rolls, I had to make a pâte fermentée again which spent the night in the refrigerator. The next day, it came out of the refrigerator, was divided into 8 little pieces to de-chill and then mixed with more flour, salt, diastatic barley malt powder (which I bought here), instant yeast, an egg, oil and some water. After 2 hours of fermentation the dough was nice and smooth, so it was easy to form 10 rolls which had to rest for another 10 minutes.
In the absence of a kaiser roll cutter I wanted to use an apple slicer because I had read somewhere that this would be a good substitute. I used it on 3 rolls only, though, because the rolls got totally flat and I couldn’t imagine that they would rise that much that they would look like rolls again. So I used the knotting technique for the remaining 7 rolls – this was easy-peasy and a lot of FUN!!!!
The rolls had to proof for 45 minutes and then be flipped over to proof for another 45 minutes. I didn’t have a problem until I got to the second part of proofing. I had to pick up my kids from daycare during that time and it took WAY more time than 45 minutes (let’s put it that way: picking up a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old from daycare can be a protracted procedure). Anyway, when I got home I had 10 flat flat-fish on the pan. I didn’t want to put them in the oven that way, so I took up every roll, kneaded and knotted it again, and proofed it for another 45 minutes. I misted them with water and sprinkled white and black sesame seeds over the top. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any poppy seeds :-(. Then they went in the oven and came out pretty beautifully 20 minutes later. They DID look nice and they tasted fine, but I prefer the version from my bakery down the street! The kids loved the ones with the black sesame seeds a lot, though, because you won’t find black sesame seeds on any bread here in Germany. So they thought the rolls looked funny and interesting.