Friday, July 27, 2007

Kaiser Buns

The kaiser roll or bun has a very nice soft crumb with a crisp, crusty and slightly chewy exterior. The secret to making a good kaiser according to Bernard Clayton is an egg, egg white plus a steamy moist oven. It is delicious as a filled roll or just eaten by itself.

The difficult part of making this bread is shaping it to resemble a five petal flower blossom . There is a kaiser roll stamp to get a flower-like imprint but judging from the supermarket rolls it is not very effective or visible. There are two ways of shaping the rolls, the spoke-wheel or the rope-knot method.

kaiser roll by knot shaping

330 ml water
1 egg white (40gm)
1 egg (55 gm)
600 gm high grade/bread flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2½ tsp surebake yeast
1 Tbsp butter

1. Breadmaker setting : Dough

2. Place all the ingredients into the bread pan in the order according to your breadmaker instructions and press start.

3. Cover the breadpan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or leave in a warm place to rise until dough double in bulk. (I prefer to let refrigerate overnight where it still rise slowly).

4. Next morning remove breadpan from fridge and punch down the dough. Cover and leave to double in volume again.

5. The shaping of the kaiser bun is the tricky bit. Use either the spoke-wheel or rope-knot method (see below). I find the rope-knot method retains its petal shape better.

6. Lightly mist the buns with a light spray of water from a height of 12".

7. Preheat oven to 230C. Create steam by placing an old pan with hot water in the oven. Just before putting the buns in, mist the oven walls with a water sprayer (do not spray the light bulb). Lower the oven to 200C. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Three minutes into the baking spray the oven wall again, avoiding the buns.

kaiser bun by spokewheel shaping

1. Total weight of egg white and egg = 95gm (weight without egg shell).
2. The buns freezes well. To defrost we nuke it in the microwave and pop it on top of the toaster to crispen up the exterior.
3. I have a fan oven which seems to bake the buns faster than the recommended time of 20 minutes.

Leaving the dough to overnight and prove in the fridge is a real time saver and ensures you will have plenty of time to get the bread ready by lunch time. The bread is suppose to taste better with the overnight proving in the fridge.


Shaping the Kaiser Rolls

Spoke-Wheel Method
This entire procedure resembles assembling the spokes of a wheel. I find the flower shape using this method was not as prominent after baking.

1. Divide dough to 18 pieces and shape into smooth rounds (fig 2). Cover to relax for 5 minutes.

2. Flatten each dough with the palm of your hand. Cover and relax them for another 5 minutes. Dust lightly with rye flour to prevent the sections from sticking together. The rye flour is suppose to help leave the 'petals' intact (fig 3).

kaiser bun : spokewheel shaping

3. Place your thumb in the center of a flat round (I used a wooden handle as I needed my hands to take the pic). Pick up a section equal to one-fifth of the dough and fold the portion towards the center. Pick up the second section and repeat the procedure, overlapping slightly. Repeat this action a total of 5 times (fig 4-9).

4. As each bun is shaped, place it face down on the sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal or poppy seeds (fig 14). Cover and proof the buns to rise slightly less than double.

kaiser bun by spoke-wheel method
5. Just before baking carefully turn the buns right side up (fig 15).

The Fresh Loaf has quite a good illustration of this method of shaping.


The Rope & Knot Method

I found the shape of the kaiser buns came out better using this tie-knot method.

kaiser bun : rope-knot method
1. Cut the dough into 18 long strips (60gm). I find cutting them in longish strips to start with makes it easier to roll into a long rope.

2. Roll each piece into a 10-12" rope (fig 10).

kaiser bun : rope-knot
3. To make a bow knot, tie loosely in a knot, leaving 2 long ends (fig 11).

4. Bring the left end over and tuck into the roll center (fig 12). Tuck the other right end under the roll center (fig 13).

5. Sprinkle top with cornmeal or poppy seeds.

kaiser bun:rope-knot
Recipe : Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (adapted)


Unknown said...

These rolls look excellent!!!! And the step-by-step photos on shaping would be so useful! :)

Sinner said...

Thank Angie. Hope you are keeping well.

chuany said...

hai Sinner,

Oh no, iam addict with all ur bread :P

i made this kaiser, but mine not crusty, i forgot to use steam method :(

i will bake it again anyway for nice crusty, hopefully it can be crusty

tx alot sinner ^^

Sinner said...

Hi chuany,

Thanks :) Don't you agree that homemade bread taste so much better ?

Looking at your photo, if this is your first attempt you have done amazingly well. The shape looks like a real kaiser. Well done !

Thanks for the feedback.

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