I’m seriously behind on blogging about the breads I’m making. But I have a wonderful excuse: instead of communicating only via electronic means, I’ve been out in the world having actual face-time with real-live humans. I know, how outrageous! And this weekend, I’ll be attending BlogHer Food 09 with a whole lot of real-live humans. In the meantime, I’ll try to get a couple more BBA Challenge bread posts up, before I faint from all the face-to-face contact.
I had been wanting to make these Kaiser Rolls from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice since the BBA Challenge began. They did not disappoint. The rolls are perfectly crisp-chewy. Because they start with a pre-ferment (pâte fermentée again), they have a complex, yet subtle, yeast-dough flavor. And just so you know, the magical pâte fermentée is simply a formula of flour, salt, yeast, and water that you make a day or two ahead of time, and then let it sit in the fridge until you are ready to make the actual bread. As the pre-ferment sits in that cold environment, it slowly develops a rich flavor. When you bring it out, let it come to room temperature, and then mix it into more flour, salt, yeast, and water (and whatever other ingredients the actual bread calls for), that rich flavor is infused into the rest of the dough. Trust me. Reading about it is far more complicated than making it.
I had ordered a Kaiser Roll stamp (who knew there was such a thing?) a while back, but it only arrived long after these rolls were baked. I instead used the knotted roll shaping method described in the book. It could also be called the roll-a-small-ball-of-dough-into-a-rope-and-then-tie-it-into-a-knot method.
I will say that I really wanted my rolls to have the gorgeous shiny golden-brown crust of the rolls shown in the book. Didn’t happen. Next time, I’ll try brushing the rolls with thinned egg whites before sprinkling the toppings on and baking them. When I do, I’ll report back to you.
The pale color of the crust did not even slow us down. The rolls made great pesto-mayonnaise chicken sandwiches, hamburger buns, dinner rolls, and after-school snacks for my son. I think this will be my new favorite hamburger bun, since brioche buns are really more of a special occasion burger bun (all that butter!), and I’m not always in the mood for challah buns. I’m so fickle. Who knew I needed this many burger bun choices in my life? Some women have several black dresses; I’ve got my burger bun recipes. It takes all kinds.
The recipe for this bread can be found in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.