Tuesday, December 2, 2008

German Brotchen

I was left with plenty of stuff from Thanksgiving. One of the main uses of leftovers is sandwiches. The trouble with that being I didn't have any bread.

Many years ago I had spent a few weeks in Germany. One of the things I remember was the bread. They had these rolls that were hard on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. This was my attempt at making those rolls. The texture was good. The outside had that nice hard crust; the inside was soft, like Wonder Bread soft. But the flavor was... so-so. I think next time I will need to try a different flour. Maybe I'll add a little sugar or honey or something next time as well.

Here's the dough rising

Here's the outside of the roll, nice and crusty though I probably should have punched it down more and gotten rid of the big air pockets
And here is the inside of the bread. Mmmm it needed a nice sharp serrated knife to cut it in half. I didn't quite capture the steam still coming out of it.

1 package active dry yeast
1-1/4 cup slightly warm water
2 tbsp shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
4 cups flour

Mix the yeast and water and allow to sit for about 5 mins so that it gets frothy. Add the shortening, and salt. Add about 2 cups of flour. Beat 1 egg white to stiff peaks and fold into the mix. Add flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it pulls together as a wet dough but does not pull away completely from the sides of the bowl. Oil a medium bowl and put dough in the bowl to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and allow to rise again. Flour a work surface and dump the dough out. Split into 12 rolls and form balls. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the balls on the parchment paper. Make sure the balls are well spaced as they will expand. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise, about 45 mins. Brush with the additional egg white. Heat up oven to 450F. Put some sort of pan on the rack close to the bottom of the oven. Put ice water in the pan. Put the rolls on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 20 mins.

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