Aparna Balasubramanian’s blog My Diverse Kitchen, is one of my favourites. The simple layout and the fabulous photographs have kept me hooked, sometimes for hours on end. I remember seeing her group page for bread baking–We Knead to Bake, and was kicking myself for not joining in when I could. It took Aparna another year before she opened up the group for fresh members. And there I was, this time, ready to sign up. Every month, the members are set a challenge, so to speak. We all bake one particular bread and post it together on the same day.
All the time that I was baking, I did not have a blog page to share those wonderful breads with others.. The Kummelweck Roll is the 26th bread that the group is baking. What was exciting to me was the fact that I could make one dough with this recipe, and finish with three different kinds of bread.Taking a look at the recipe, I had already decided, what I was going to have for dinner. Some frenetic calculations later ( you will realise how good my math really is in a short while) I decided I needed to make only half the recipe. I had calculated making 2 Kummelweck rolls, a couple of the stick like pieces of bread and 1 Vienna roll. So I measured everything out, double checking the recipe (to make sure I had half the portion), got the food processor working and turned my back to finish clearing up. When I looked back, in a couple of minutes, what confronted me was a gooey and terribly sticky mass. “That cannot be” I said to myself aghast “How on earth am I to work with this dough?” A little head scratching later, it struck me. While I halved every ingredient, I added the whole quantity of water (see, I told you my math sucked). So back to the weighing station to even out the balance.
.The Salt and pepper sticks did not need the extended rising the other two breads required. So in they went first. I wanted a crusty, shiny surface (like you see in all those fabulous photographs), so I had decided upon an egg wash. The recipe asks for an egg white so I decided to use the yolk for the wash (Big Mistake)–I hate to throw away stuff . In about 15 minutes, I had the most delicious looking bread sticks. All golden and shiny with the generous dusting of freshly ,milled pepper and a touch of sea-salt. The problem I had with the bread sticks was something personal. The wash made the bread smell so eggy! And I hate eggs. Strange but true. Everything I bake has to pass through my smell test and this one was no way going to pass it. What was my mistake? Yes I used the egg, but the main things was that I used the yolk (with grand thoughts of not wasting anything) while I should have stuck to the white. So my second batch which consisted of the rolls, the yolk was diluted to such an extent, (see I am still using the yolk. What is wrong with me?)I am not even sure if it was anything but a water wash.
While the Kummelweck rolls were perfect for the little patties I had made for the evening, the Vienna roll was reserved for breakfast, to be had with butter and jam. The mini burger was dressed with fresh herbs, cream cheese and mustard. The Vienna roll, served with home-made Guava and Strawberry Jelly.
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I used 1 3/4 tsp of Instant yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
2 Tbs oil
1 Tbs honey
1 egg white (optional)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour*
Egg wash (optional)
Coarse sea salt and caraway seeds
*To substitute for bread flour add 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten to 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour.
1. Mix together the warm water and the warm milk and stir in the yeast. Let it sit aside for about 5 minutes. Knead by hand or with the machine.
2. In the bowl of your machine, combine the yeast mixture, oil, honey, the egg white and stir.
3. Now add the salt and about 2 1/2 cups of flour and knead, adding as much more flour as required till you have a smooth and elastic dough that is tacky but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and let rise for about an hour, until it is almost double in volume.
5. Deflate the dough well (not kneading), shape into a round and allow it to rise, covered, for 30 minutes more.
6. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each into a smooth ball, then slightly flatten it. Place them on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Spray or lightly brush with oil, loosely cover and let the dough rise for 30 more minutes. Brush with egg-wash (or something else that will make sure the topping sticks when baking), then cut slits ( like an +) on the top using a sharp blade or scissors.
7. Sprinkle the top of the rolls with sea salt and caraway seeds, and then mist with water. Bake the rolls at 220C (425F) for 5 minutes and then quickly mist with water again making sure you don’t keep the oven door open for too long.
8. Bake for another 20 minutes or so until they are brown and done. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes 8 large burger bun sized rolls.
For the Vienna Loaf:
Follow the above recipe but with the following changes – After the second rise, divide the dough in half and shape each half into an oval with tapered ends. After the final rise, apply the egg wash and then slash the top with a 1/2″ deep lengthwise slit. Leave out the salt and caraway seeds. Bake at 200C (400F) for about 35 minutes, including the 5 minutes after spritzing with water.
For the Salt and Pepper Sticks:
Again follow the above recipe for the rolls, but make the following changes –
Leave out the second rise and do only the first rise. After that, divide the dough into 13 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a 12″ rope of even thickness, and place them 1-1/2″ apart on the greased or lined baking sheet. Let them rise now. Apply the egg wash, but do not make any cuts. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt crystals and coarsely ground or cracked black pepper. Do not spritz with water and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
If you would like to watch some of the videos on how to shape the rolls take a look at these
These hard and crusty rolls are usually served with a pile of thinly sliced roast beef. (As far as I am concerned, anything juicy would do) I have even grabbed one, still warm, just to feel the shards of the hard crust on my tongue as I took a bite. Do try to get hold of caraway seeds for the rolls, they make a big difference. Kummel, after all, does mean caraway seeds in German. So without it, the bread would just be a Weck (I said weck not wreck and weck means a roll in German).
This recipe is adapted from the original http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recipes/bread/rollskimelweck01.html