Thursday, 2 July 2015

Swabian Hearty Bread Rolls

I have had a very productive and busy day today so far! Besides baking these delicious rolls I spent some time on my job search. So keep your fingers crossed for me that one day I'll be successful ;-) But I guess, as the saying goes, persistence is the key to success ;-) Sometimes, that is...if you don't make the same mistake all over again all the time. After that I indulged in my weekly cleaning project =P and in between ...

... I made these delicious rolls! So here we go in case I have confused you earlier on.

Usually I make a batch and freeze it so that I can take some out each day for lunch without any hassle ... I just love home-baked bread! I have had some conversations about my seemingly snack-like lunch...but, honestly, real, crunchy, hearty bread is so much more than a snack!!!

Bread rolls also remind me of weekends when I was a child. During the week we'd have bread, but on weekends it would be bread rolls. That was before the time when my Mum started baking, so I was a very small child then ;-)

My Dad drove to the bakery in the next village each Saturday and Sunday morning, since that used to be the one where they'd still make the bread themselves from scratch. They used to have different breads and rolls on different days of the week, since, when you actually make things from scratch, you cannot make 30 kinds of bread each day.

That reminds me... ! Have you ever seen Laugenbrot (= pretzel bread)? Actually, myself, I have only ever seen it in this specific bakery. Laugenbrötchen (= lye rolls), Laugenbrezeln (= pretzels) or Laugenstangen (= pretzel breadstick) are very common and available everywhere, but Laugenbrot doesn't seem to be. I loved to pluck it apart, as, since it was braided, like a Hefezopf bread (= braided sweet yeast bread), it was possible to divide into pieces in the places where the different strands met. I love thinking back to all the amazing things they used to bake....but let's get back:

The bread rolls: In the morning we'd have rolls with butter, jam, chocolate spread, honey or Eszet-Schnitten.
Eszet-Schnitten are very thin chocolate slices, available in different degrees of darkness, that you lay on your bread. I don't eat them anymore these days, but putting them on freshly toasted toast (on weekdays) was so much fun! They'd melt and go all gooey and, well ... CHOCOLATE! =)

The following recipe is similar to the Potato Bread one, but slightly heartier. Since it doesn't contain milk you only need items that you may have in your pantry anyway and if you'd been using nut milk it saves you that one step of making it.

Swabian Bread Rolls

recipe inspired by a recipe by Adelinde Häußler

Time: 30 minutes + 1 hours rising + 15 minutes + 3 hours rising + 15 minutes + 35 minutes resting & baking = 5 h 35 min (not all working time!)

for 7 rolls
100 g water, lukewarm
2 g or ½ tsp dried yeast (or twice the amount fresh yeast)
½ tsp honey
450 g whole wheat flour
50 g whole rye flour
½ tsp bread spice (usually a mixture of fennel, coriander and caraway seeds)
125 g potatoes
12 g salt
¼ tsp nutmeg, ground
½ tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Dissolve yeast and honey in water. Grind up the bread spice in a mortar or with a blender. Place flour and bread spice in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water-yeast-mixture. Mix with some flour from the sides of the well until you achieve a mud-like consistency. Sprinkle with some flour from the sides and cover with a lid, plate or cling film. Let rest in a warm place for an hour

  • In the meantime: Cut the potatoes in small pieces (1.5 cm size) and steam until very soft. For this place them in a metal colander or a steaming basket. Take a pot of a suitable size for the colander and add about 3 cm of water. Place the colander in the pot and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and let cook in the steam for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft. Keep the water.
  • Mash the potatoes and add some of the cooking water as you go to achieve a creamy consistency. (I use a potato masher and do this in the pot I cooked the potatoes in, since you need something with an even bottom surface).

  • When the yeast has visibly started to rise, add the mashed potatoes, nutmeg and vinegar. Also add the salt, but don't pour directly on the yeast, as direct contact causes some of the yeast-cells to die. Add a slight bit water. Knead until everything starts to come together and add more water as necessary.
  • When you have reached that consistency take the dough from the bowl and form into a ball by folding in the sides and rotating the ball of dough until the bottom side of the dough is smooth. Turn over and return to the bowl. Cover the bowl and return to the warm place. Let the dough rise until it has at least doubled in size. This may again take about 2-5 hours, depending on the temperature and the amount of yeast.

  • Pre-heat your oven if necessary. You'll want 210°C. Use upper and lower heat. If you have fan heat turn to only 190°C. Place a casserole dish with a bit of water in the oven to let steam develop.
  • Keep a bowl of water at hand. Wet the surface you'll be kneading on. Remove the dough from the bowl and put onto your surface. Divide into 120 g pieces and evenly divide up any leftover dough. I had seven rolls.
    • Form rolls: Using the same technique as for the whole of the dough before, do this with the first roll. Then, place, open side down, on the surface and move your hand in circular movements, as if you were rolling a ball in circles over the table. This will make the rolls more ball like, as opposed to the flatter shape they may have had before. Don't worry though if it doesn't entirely work, it is all a matter of practice and your rolls will turn out fine no matter what!
  • Repeat with all rolls and place open side down on a flour-covered baking sheet. You can also use a non-stick baking sheet. Wet all the rolls with water.
  • Let them rest for 10 minutes in a draught-free-place. Bake for 25 minutes. To test for done-ness, tap the bottom of a roll with your finger. It should sound hollow.

  • Let the rolls cool on a rack and eat immediately or place into freezer bags immediately after baking and freeze. If you do this take them out a couple of hours before you want to eat them, keep in the freezer bag and the re-heat on top of a toaster-oven.

You can turn this into a bread by baking it according to the instructions in the Potato Bread recipe.

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