A few weeks ago I finally got round to making my first pretzels, a staple of Swabian bread baskets, the race was on to produce proper breakfast rolls. Now, I won’t lie, we don’t have rolls every morning for breakfast. But we could have, if we wanted to: every other street has an independent baker who will open early in the morning to provide the neighbourhood with freshly-baked rolls, breads and the like. And despite the strict Sunday opening regulations (sorry, no Sunday shopping in Germany!), you’ll always find a baker nearby who will provide you with your wheat fix at the weekend. Even if they only open for a few hours in the morning.
If, like me, you live in a less trendy area of the UK – according to this week’s Guardian, George Orwell declared our ‘hood to be ‘one of the most god-forsaken places I have ever struck’ – you won’t have much luck in finding an independent bakery, relying entirely on the industrial rubber products sold in chains and supermarkets. In other words: you better get to bake your own. And why not look to Germany for inspiration? According to the German Bread ServicePortal, Germany has over 300 different types of bread, as well as more than 1200 varieties of smaller rolls, making us one of the most cereal-obsessed countries in the world.
If sourdough bread seems a step too far, these simple rolls will whet your appetite for traditional ‘craft’ rolls.This type of roll is commonly referred to as ‘Milchbrötchen’, or ‘milk rolls’, and you can get them decorated with sesame, poppy seeds or, indeed, any other seed or oat you could imagine. I saw a recipe for these rolls on one of my favourite bread blogs, Stefanie’s Hefe und Mehr, who added some yoghurt to the basic recipe. This led me to adding a few spoonfuls of sour cream, to give the finished rolls a little added sourness.
They are perfect for beginners as they are incredibly easy to make – no specific skills or equipment needed. Simply prepare the dough in the evening, let it rest overnight. Form the rolls in the morning and they’ll be ready in the time it took you to set the table and make the coffee. Now that’s what I call Sunday breakfast.
German-Style Breakfast Rolls (makes 12)
- 500g white bread flour
- 280ml lukewarm milk
- 1/2 tsp dried active yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbs sour cream
- 1 tsp salt
- sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds or oats to decorate
In the evening, mix the yeast with the honey, the lukewarm milk and a tablespoon or two of the flour. Cover and leave to stand to 10- 20 minutes or until you can see the froth forming: those tiny bubbles indicate that your dried yeast has been successfully activated and is ready to go.
Add all the remaining ingredients bar the decorations and mix it to a soft and flexible dough. I use a mixer for this purpose, leaving the finished dough in the bowl overnight at room temperature. If you’re using your hands, simply place the dough back into your bowl, cover it with cling film, and leave it overnight.
Knock the dough back into a ball and cut it into 10-12 pieces. Form them into rolls – round, oval, even square, however you prefer them – and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle either a little flour or any of your chosen decorations over the rolls, score them lengthwise and leave them, covered with a tea towel, for another 20 minutes or so to prove.
Serve with jam, ham, sausages … whatever takes your fancy. I’ll be bringing this batch over to Angie’s -she’s moved the party to new premises! Do come and visit, Angie and her co-hosts, Tracy @Scratch It Cook and Nancy @Feasting With Friends, will be happy to help you. I missed the actual Fiesta Friday, so these rolls might come in handy for the Katerfrühstück – the kind of breakfast you fancy after a night out…
Happy Fiesta Friday!