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Friday, May 8, 2009

Kaiser Rolls



I was ten years old and safely cocooned in the old neighborhood on the South side of Chicago. In the wider world, war raged in Korea and the existence of a hydrogen bomb was confirmed by President Truman. Credit cards had just been introduced and mass production of main frame computers was underway. Automania was sweeping the country and folks were living comfortably on an income that averaged $2992 a year. That income made extras possible and contributed to the development of yo-yo mania among the young. I was a yo-yo maniac. Wednesdays were a special day. The Duncan yo-yo man came to the neighborhood to demonstrate the very latest of his tricks and conduct a contest using members of the audience. I was awfully good. As a matter of fact, I was fierce and ended my career with 3 gold and 2 silver yo-yos to commemorate my prowess. We won't speak of bragging rights. My Walk the Dog, Loop the Loop and Around the World were legend, but because I was small I was not always chosen from the chorus of "pick me" that proceeded each contest. These were elbow-room only affairs and to get a decent spot you had to beat the crowd. That meant lunch at Mary's Deli. That was also a good thing. Mary and her husband lived in the back of the store, their home separated from the deli by a curtain. I suspect their noses became inured over time to the smell of dill and cheese and pastrami that assaulted the senses as you walked in the door. Mary's sandwiches were Lucullian. It was the rolls that did it - her Kaiser rolls were to die for. They were eggy, slightly sweet and lightly laced with cinnamon. Today's recipe is my first attempt to recreate the rolls. I'll be making these again, but with more egg and a tad more sugar next time out. I'll update you as my experiment progresses. My changes to the recipe will be highlighted in red. If you like to learn how to shape Kaiser rolls I highly recommend a quick trip to The Fresh Loaf for a tour du jour. The rolls are simple to make and once you're comfortable with the five-fold technique they're actually quite easy to shape. Here's the recipe.

Kaiser Rolls

Ingredients:
3 1/2-4 cups (1 lb.) bread or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon malt powder
1 1/4 cups (10 oz.) water
1 tablespoon shortening, butter, or oil
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 to 1/2 cup poppy seeds

Directions:

1) Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, salt, sugar, cinnamon and malt powder in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir in water, eggs and shortening. Mix for 5 to 7 minutes, adding flour only as necessary to form a tacky but not terribly wet dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down and let rise another hour before shaping. 2) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cover the surface of a cookie sheet with poppy seeds. Set aside. To shape rolls, divide dough into 8 smaller pieces. Working on a lightly floured surface roll pieces of dough into balls and cover them with a damp kitchen towel; let sit for 5 minutes. Flatten into disks. Let rest another 5 minutes. Fold sides to center. Seal. Place them face down on prepared cookie sheet. This will keep seals from splitting while they rise. Cover with towel and let rise for 1 hour. Flip rolls upright in pan. Place in oven. Spray sides of oven with water to create steam. Bake until a deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to rack to cool. Yield: 8 rolls.

Recipe adapted from The Fresh Loaf.


I'm sending this recipe to Susan at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeast Spotting event.

39 comments:

The Cooking Photographer said...

I'm taking a break after working on a post about the 1940s. I pop over here to see what you're up to, and here is a piece of your beautiful childhood just a few years after that time.

I bet you're still killer with a yoyo.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I can totally see you as a fierce yo-yo-ist (yo-yo-er?). Very pretty rolls; is cinnamon typical in Kaiser rolls?

Mary said...

Only in the rolls I remember from childhood, Susan. They definitely were some type of egg roll lightly laced with cinnamon.

recipes2share said...

I enjoyed your story. In my childhood days it was 'klackers' we played with. Those 2 heavy balls on a length of cord ....i seem to remember they played havoc with knuckles! Love the rolls - I make a lot of bread, usually rolls and freeze them so we always have a fresh 'something' for breakfast. Saying that, the freezer is bare of rolls right now & hubbie is due home from a business trip, so guess what I'm going to make today...!

the ungourmet said...

Your rolls are most beautiful and I loved your yo-yo story!

I often find myself dreaming of the good old days!

Katy ~ said...

Will you just take a look at those GORGEOUS kaiser rolls! I have wanted to learn how to make these and thought they may not be something easily done in the home. You have inspired me! Beautiful, beautiful!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love the stories that accompany your recipes. It makes the food even more special.

Donna-FFW said...

I would never have thought cinnamon and malt powdr in a kaiser roll. These look terrific and I bet the flavor is terrific. They look so professional.

Martha said...

Yo-yo's and Kaiser rolls -- what great memories. I don't remember tasting cinnamon in bakery Kaiser rolls.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Another wonderful story Mary. I'm a few short years after Korea, I grew up with Viet Nam. Loved yo-yos, jum rope and jacks. Too bad kids don't do more with their hands and their imaginations.

Your Kaisers rolls are beautiful.

Mary said...

Martha, they weren't standard bakery rolls. She made them herself.

Pam said...

I love your stories. The kaiser rolls look delicious and perfectly baked.

Netts Nook said...

The closest thing I have been to a yoyo is my weight. Cute story and the rolls looks great.

Karen said...

Those look like rolls made by a pro! I have never had a Kaiser roll. Isn't that weird.

Bridgett said...

How heavenly these must have smelled during baking! They look amazing!

Sara said...

That is a great story. I can't wait to see how the rolls come out. I will be waiting for you to perfect these, so I can make!

Allie said...

Yummy! Will you adopt me so I can have fresh bread all the time? Looks fantastic as always!

Cathy said...

I'm determined to learn to bake bread and this recipe looks sooo good. Yo-yo's were so popular back when, but I haven't seen one in years.

Mary said...

Cathy, welcome back! Ihope the trip was fabulous.

Natashya said...

They look beautiful, Mary! I haven't made Kaisers yet, but I have always wanted to.

Lynda said...

These are beautiful rolls! You are so inspirational!
I loved your yo yo memories; I grew up in the 50's and I loved Jacks and yoyo's and all those cool things we used to do!

Elle said...

Recently talked to a friend about making Kaiser rolls....thanks for the recipe and link on how to shape them...excellent photo, too!

Mary said...

Elle, just a quick hello and warm welcome to One Perfect Bite. I hope you'll visit often. We have a new recipe and picture every day.

noble pig said...

I love Kaiser rolls but am impressed by your yo-yo tricks. I couldn't do any of that!

Hootin' Anni said...

First off, the yogurt cheese cake below will be one I try to be sure. And these rolls, I love 'em store bought, I'm gonna have to try to make these too.

[PS...no, Bud isn't a U S Marine, our son is a former Marine. Bud is Navy]

Debbie said...

Beautfil, gorgeous rolls. I love kaiser rolls and poppyseeds...so good.

Lori said...

Mary- you are one COOL lady. I wish I could pop over for coffee and one of these rolls.

Can you replace malt syrup for powder? Is it an equal replacement?

Mary said...

Debbie, welcome to my blog. I hope you'll stop by often.

Mary said...

Lori, I hope you get back to read this. Malt powder is used to sweeten and help brown the rolls. This is not ovaltine. Malt powder is available in health food stores. I've never used malt syrup, so what follows is a guess...honey can be used to replace sugar, so shouldn't you be able to substitute malt syrup for sugar as well.

Charlotte said...

The story of being motivated to copy a memory from childhood is beautiful.

Mary said...

Charlotte, thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll become a regular visitor.

Penny said...

Lovely post and beautiful kaiser rolls. Happy Mother's Day Mary.

Elra said...

I've never made this Kaiser Rolls before, they look really delicious mary!

Mariana said...

Your story was too short. You express yourself so well that I can visualise the images. I wanted to read more. When is the book coming out Mary? Thanks for such a moving post.

Mary said...

Mariana, you can be my best friend today:). You are way to kind but your words are really appreciated. Hugs.

Chow and Chatter said...

what a lovely post Mary great to hear about the yo yo ing, in England we used to play with congars - nuts of trees on an old shoe string!!

Stefanie said...

The Kaiser Rolls are beautiful!I really admire your folding techinque - I tried it once and it was a total desaster, the rolls looked so ugley. But looking at your nice pictures I think i will try it again.

bakergirlcreations said...

Those rolls are absolutely stunning!

Jamie said...

I love discovering about people's secret or unknown sides! I now have a whole new respect for you, oh Mighty Yo Yo Queen!

I grew up on Kaiser Rolls and yours are simply amazing in their perfection. I must try and make these!

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