The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge 16: Kaiser Rolls.
I can't remember the last time I bought these sandwich rolls which used to be a favorite in our house. I have forgotten about them after I started baking all of our bread almost two years ago. I never thought they would be so much fun to make and they're very yummy too. I love its chew and the crunch of the crust when toasted, excellent for BLT or simply smeared with whipped cream cheese.
The dough is very easy to work with but shaping the rolls using the traditional folding method takes a bit of practice. After the shaped pieces have risen for 10 minutes I had to re-shape them because the design disappeared. I remedied that by dusting the bottoms with lots of rye flour and pressing harder in-between folds. Sorry I didn't take photos of the process but you can watch this [rather fuzzy] video of a baker applying karate chops on the dough.
I folded 4 of the rolls and the other 5 dough balls I shaped into knotted ropes. I like the looks of the baked folded rolls better, they are prettier, more rounded and even. Two of the knotted rolls were misshapen, they came out sort of oval-triangular and one has a slight bump on one side. I don't know if I should get a stamp for easier and faster shaping next time I make these, all you do is shape into rounds and press. The stamp also retains the round shape of the rolls. On the other hand, I love the rustic appearance of the rolls.
Although I love poppy and sesame seeds, I didn't bother to top the rolls because they will just fall off and get scattered all over when they are sliced. I also prefer the clean look of the rolls without them.
For my first taste of the roll, I fried thick slices of home cured bacon, sliced yellow tomatoes from my garden, and baby romaine lettuce. Simply delicious! I could have this everyday for lunch. Okay, maybe not the bacon.^__^
visual appeal 5
ease of preparation 5
Here's my recipe for smoked home cured bacon. It's very rare to find where I live whole slabs of pork belly so I used thick pieces instead. I used Twinings® lapsang souchong tea available at most grocery stores. The tea gives a smokey flavor without being overwhelming. Soaked applewood chips are also very good with bacon.
Smoked Home Cured Bacon
three 1½-inch thick pieces of skinless pork belly
3 tablespoons dry cure (mixture of 1 pound kosher salt, 8 pounds of sugar, and 2 ounces of pink salt, recipe from CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn)
2 tablespoons maple sugar crystals or syrup
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
6 lapsang souchong teabags
aluminum disposable deep roasting pan and small metal rack
- Mix the dry cure, maple sugar, and garlic powder. Spread the cure on the pork belly evenly. Place the pork pieces in a gallon freezer bag and refrigerate for 5 days, turning the bag every day to cure evenly.
- Rinse pork under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Open the teabags and place all the loose tea leaves in the middle of the roasting pan, discard the bags. Place the rack on the pan and the pan on top of the stove. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, place the pork on the rack, cover tightly with aluminum foil and smoke for 1 hour. Remove the pork, let cool, and store in the freezer. Slice and fry until crispy.