not-quite kaiser sandwich rolls

by Stacy

It’s not often that I actually get tired of being in the kitchen. More likely I’m sick of doing dishes or deciding what to eat, but the actual cooking or baking doesn’t get old. Despite that, after two long days of work I was excited to get back in the kitchen to make real food (sorry, mac and cheese).

This happened to coincide with the first day my sourdough starter was ready for use. Inspired by this post at TheKitchn, I decided to mix up a starter last week. I did cheat a little in that I mixed up the starter in a container that I had just emptied of dough, so some commercial yeast remnants remained. However, wild yeast will eventually take it over, so I’m not too worried. The goal was not to make a wild yeast sourdough, it was to make a starter from which I could make bread. Mission accomplished!

After a few days, here is a terrible, awful, poorly lit photo of my bubbly starter:

sourdough starter

Having also seen a recipe for veggie burgers (again, from TheKitchn), I decided to make hamburger buns using my starter. Because I couldn’t quite find a recipe that met my needs, I forged ahead recipe-less and mixed up dough! It worked, and turned out quite tasty, too.

They’re not really kaiser rolls because the tops are smooth, but they’re sort of in between a kaiser roll and brioche in that the dough is enriched. Because I made them with white flour, I added some wheat germ for flavor and fiber. Whatever you want to call them, they’re nice toasted and surrounding a protein patty of your choosing. Though I haven’t eaten a ham sandwich in over a decade, I would imagine that ham and cheese would also stack up quite well on one of these. Next time I will make them at least partially whole wheat.

They have a nice thin crust and soft center, but if you store them in a plastic bag, the exterior will soften to a more hamburger bun-like texture. Sliced in half, they were still a bit wide for the toaster, so I browned them in the toaster oven.

not-quite kaiser sandwich rolls

Sandwich Rolls

Makes 6 rolls

Because I used starter and no recipe, you may need to add more flour or water until the proper consistency is reached. The dough should be smooth, elastic and fairly tacky without being sticky.

3/4 cup starter
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup water, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter or shortening at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling

1.) Combine starter, flour, water, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until dough comes together. Switch to dough hook and add salt, wheat germ, egg, butter, and honey. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom in the center. Add flour a tablespoon at a time, or dribble in water until this happens.

2.) Knead by hand or in the mixer for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl, form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours until doubled in size.

3.) Remove dough from bowl and use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (about 3 ounces each). Form the pieces into balls and place on a piece of parchment paper that has been misted with spray oil and dusted with cornmeal. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 30 minutes, then flip the rolls over and let rest for another 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.

4.) Preheat the oven to 425F with rack in the middle of the oven and a shallow pan on the bottom rack. Uncover the rolls and mist them with water. Sprinkle on sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.

5.) Place rolls in the oven on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup of hot tap water in the shallow pan underneath and quickly close the oven door. After 10 minutes, rotate the baking pan and lower the temperature to 400F. Bake another 10-20 minutes until rolls are golden brown and register 200F in the center.

6.) Promptly remove rolls from tray and let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

not-quite kaiser sandwich rolls

Submitted to YeastSpotting

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Meghan February 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I’m so impressed! I haven’t had much success with bread/rolls in the past, but this looks like it’s worth giving a try. Yum, yum!


stacy February 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

I hadn’t either which is why I was pleased with this. My husband requested a repeat! Next time with half whole wheat flour, I think.


Joanne February 6, 2010 at 11:44 am

These rolls look quite delicious. I love enriched breads! Especially enriched sourdoughs.

I’m quite impressed that you forged ahead recipe-less. I’m definitely nowhere near that point of confidence yet but definitely hope to be at some point!


stacy February 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Enriched doughs are so satisfying to work with, I think. =)

Hah, I might call it “impatience” instead of confidence. I did look at a few recipes just to get the end volume about right, then I just added flour until the dough seemed correct.


TreeHugginMomma June 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I stopped in to take a peak and I am glad I have. I have been looking for a roll recipe. I am going to give this a try (but then I have to make starter first). :)


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