Every German region has them, called “Rundstück” in Hamburg, “Schrippe” in Berlin, “Semmel” in Munich, or simply “Brötchen” (= little bread). The typical Brötchen has a crackly crisp crust and a fluffy, soft, easy to pull out crumb. In this recipe we are going to have crunchy seed topping but you can also give your rolls a simple shiny, crackly glaze, so that they look like Rundstücke.
500 g/17.6 oz Italian Tipo 00 or pastry flour
8 g/0.3 oz instant yeast
4 g/1 tsp. sugar
270 g/9.1 oz water, lukewarm
40 g/1.4 oz olive oil
10 g/0.4 oz salt
1 egg, slightly beaten, for brushing
sesame, poppy or sunflower seeds, for topping
Shiny, Crackly Glaze
2 g cornstarch, boiled in
100 g water, and cooled to room temperature
- In the evening, stir yeast into lukewarm water until dissolved. Mix all ingredients for 1 minute at lowest speed (mixer or wooden spoon). Let dough sit for 5 minutes.
- Knead on medium-low speed (or with hands) for 2 minutes. Dough should be supple and still a little bit sticky (adjust with water if needed). Continue kneading for 4 more minutes, increasing speed to medium-high for last 30 sec. Dough should be bordering on sticky.
- Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. With wet or oiled hands, stretch and fold dough like a business envelope in thirds, then turn it around 90 degrees, and fold from short sides the same way. Gather dough ball, sides tucked underneath, and place it in lightly oiled bowl. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat these stretches and folds 3 more times, every 10 minutes (40 min. total time). Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove dough from refrigerator 3 hours before baking, to de-chill and double their original size. Prepare egg wash and three bowls with sesame, poppy and sunflower seeds for topping. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, and shape them into rolls. Brush each with egg wash, then dip in seeds. If you prefer a shiny, crackly crust, skip egg wash (apply cornstarch glaze after proofing.)
- Place dough balls seam side down on baking sheet. Let rolls rise for 2 to 2 and a half hours, or until grown 2 times their original size (remember to preheat oven after 1 and a half hours of roll rising.)
- Preheat oven to 428º F/220º C, including steam pan.
- Brush proofed rolls with cornstarch glaze (if using). Place rolls in oven, pouring 1 cup boiling water in steam pan.
- Bake for 9 minutes, then re-brush with cornstarch glaze (if using), rotate baking sheet 180 degrees for even browning, and continue baking for another 9 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown (internal temperature at least 200º F/92º C).
- Leave rolls in switched-off oven for 10 minutes more (leave the oven door a crack open), before taking them out to cool on a rack.
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