Baking bread is one of my favorite tasks of the week. With rainy days, suggesting pots of soup, and of course Thanksgiving around the corner, new recipes are spinning in my head. Inspired by a new product I came across, of course, King Arthur Flour, Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor makes it so easy to bake one of my favorite breads without the extra fuss it usually takes.
I still remember that early Thanksgiving morning, in 1957, when my mother said to me, "how about you making the rolls this year." How excited I was to have this task; I had meticulously watched her do so many times before and felt the confidence she had in me to accomplish it. I've had a love affair with yeast breads ever since. Her roll recipe, that she made up, was most always formed into her favorite shape, "toad in a hole," but I also like to do Parker House or cloverleaf as my signature.
Today, I decided to turn my dough into Kaiser rolls--a favorite of my hubby's. He's told the story, over and over again, about buying a dozen Kaiser rolls to eat in the car on the way home from his grandparent's home in the Bronx...all by himself!
Kaiser rolls were invented in Vienna, Austria and thought to be named in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph. The rolls have a distinctive 5-segment pattern separated by curved superficial cuts from the center. Years ago, I came across a Kaiser roll press, but I will show you how you can accomplish the characteristic without it.
Pumpernickle Kaiser Rolls
6 cups King Arthur bread flour
1/3 cup Pumpernickle Artisan Bread Flavor
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. onion salt
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 pkgs (2T) active dry yeast
1/2 cup very warm water
1 5/8 - 1 3/4 cups additional water
1/2 tsp. honey
Quick Shine (or a beaten egg white with 1 tsp. water added)
Favorite Topping (I used an Artisan Bread Topping that included Flax, toasted sesame, black caraway, midget sunflowers, poppy, and anise seeds)
Start by "proofing" the yeast in the 1/2 cup of very warm water and add the honey. Whisk to combine. Allow to set about 5-7 minutes until foamy.
In a stand mixer, using the dough hook, add the flour, pumpernickle flavor, salt, onion salt, sugar, and oil and mix to combine. While the mixer is running on speed #2, add the proofed yeast and additional water, about 1/2 cup at a time until the dough starts pulling away from the side. Knead, using the dough hook an addition 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead again--the dough should be smooth and soft--like a "baby's butt" as my mother would say.
Place in a large bowl, sprayed with cooking spray (or plastic dough container) to allow dough to raise.
About 45 minutes later (give or take) the dough should be doubled. Turn out onto the board and divide into 12 sections.
The trick in making your own "Kaiser-looking" rolls without the press is to roll the dough into a rope.
Bring the two ends together, overlapping, and twist each section about the dough. Join the ends together and press to seal.
Alternatively, with the press, the dough would look like this:
Place rolls on a baking sheet, spray with baking oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 400F-degrees. Allow the rolls to rest while the oven is preheating. When the oven is ready, remove the plastic wrap, spray with the Quick Shine or brush with beaten egg white. Add seed topping, if using and bake for 18 minutes.
The heartiness of the pumpernickle fits our weather, although it's nothing like my family (and friends) will be experiencing on the east coast with the Frankinstorm! Stay safe--Enjoy!