The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking's Kaiser Rolls

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

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.