Choosing which "classic" bread recipes to make this week from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking was difficult. There were just too many possibilities. I decided on Kaiser rolls because I was intrigued (and slightly confused) by the folding technique.
Kaiser rolls can be made with a stamp, but who has one? (Fine, I do. But most people don't. And the times I used the stamp, I wasn't wild about the results.) I was happy to see instructions for folding the dough. Really it's more like tying a knot. Dough macramé.
The instructions baffled me upon the first few reads. Then I rolled up a kitchen towel and used that to practice on. After a couple of tries, it made sense.
The elasticity of this dough makes it easy to work with, but you have to figure out exactly how long you want the "legs" after I made the loop (and seriously, the book calls for a 12-inch piece of dough, but once you start handling it, it stretched quite a bit.) Even if the formed rolls look pretty good before they go into the oven, they don't always bake perfectly. This technique requires a bit of practice but when the rolls look just right, it's well worth the effort. So much better than rolls made with a stamp.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking to give away this week.
Adapted from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by the French Culinary Institute. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved
About the bread baker: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. You can find her on her blog, Cookistry or follow her on Twitter at @dbcurrie or @cookistry.
- Yield:Makes 12 rolls
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:3 hours 45 minutes
- 812 grams /1 pound 12 2/3 ounces bread flour
- 430 grams / 15 1/8 ounces water
- 41 grams / 1 1/2 ounces eggs
- 29 grams / 1 ounce fresh yeast
- 19 grams / 2/3 ounce vegetable oil
- 16 grams / 1/2 ounce malt syrup
- 19 grams 2/3 ounce salt
- 18 grams / 2/3 ounce sugar
Prepare the mise en place.
Combine the bread flour with the water, eggs, yeast, vegetable oil, and malt syrup in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the hook. Mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until blended.
Add the salt and sugar, increase the mixer speed tp medium, and mix for about 8 minutes, or until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, feels elastic, and gives some resistance when tugged.
Lightly oil a large bowl or container.
Scrape the dough into the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic film and set aside to ferment for 1 hour.
Lightly flour a clean, flat work surface.
Uncover the dough and divide it into 12 115-gram / 4-ounce rounds on the floured surface. Cover with plastic film and bench rest for 15 minutes.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. If you have a kaiser roll stamp, press the center of the roll with it. If you don’t have a stamp, lightly press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each round into a baguette about 12 inches long. Working with one piece at a time, form each baguette into a loop, crossing the ends with the right end being on the bottom. Pull the right end up and over the center of the loop and the push it under in the same direction. The left loop should now be pointing right. Take the left end and pull it up and under the center hole and then connect it to the other end. You should now have a roll that is rather like a rosette. Place 6 rolls, seam side down, onto each of the prepared pans. Cover with plastic film and proof for 1 hour.
About an hour before you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Uncover the dough and transfer the rolls to the preheated oven. Bake for 22 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks to cool.