i like baking bread. it’s something that, with the help of my kitchenaid, i can do once or twice a week.
i was a bit skeptical, given that they shriveled. but, i proceeded.
i lived in germany for a year, between high school and university. it was quite the experience, one that i cannot summarize in a single post. but, in ten words or less, it was all about the “brotgeschichte”. the story of the bread. my host father would take the dog for a walk at 6:30 and pick up fresh bread. there were always fresh rolls, brioche, baguette. for breakfast. for lunch. for dinner.
my favourite german meal is sausages, pretzels, salad and cheese. soft pretzels. that are chewy and poofy and sigh.
so, of course, i proceeded.
and they worked out beautifully.
makes 16; adapted from smitten kitchen
5 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tbsp dry active yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 cup hot water (125°F to 130°F)
combine bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in mixer with dough attachment. with machine running, gradually pour hot water, adding enough to form smooth elastic dough. knead for about 2 minutes. grease medium bowl (i used butter). add dough to bowl, turning to coat. cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 45-50 minutes.
flour baking sheet. punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. divide into 16 even pieces. form each dough piece into ball. place dough balls on prepared sheet, flattening each slightly. cut X in top center of each dough ball. cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes. (i swear, it’s worth all the waiting)
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten to blend
heat oven to 375°F. grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with flour and cornmeal (the flour will cut down on the mess, if you don’t have parchment paper).
bring 8 cups water to boil in large pot. add baking soda and sugar (water will foam up).
add 4 rolls and cook 30 seconds per side. using slotted spoon, transfer rolls to prepared sheet, arranging X side up. repeat with remaining rolls.
brush with egg white glaze and sprinkle generously with salt. bake at 375F until brown, about 25 minutes.