My sister Lynn, besides being an incredible baker and writer, also makes lovely handmade cards and has the gift of encouragement. During the dark divorce days, she would send me a new card almost daily. I have them all stored, reminding me I am loved and also giving me good templates to make my own cards off of! My other sister Patti is equally gifted in the kitchen, the knitting and also in the caring departments. I am blessed to have such wonderful siblings, even if I do have the bite marks to …. well, that’s another story.
Two days ago, out of the blue, my darling husband asked why I didn’t try making Brötchen, or as we knew them in Germany (Bavaria), Semmeln. His casual question really horked me off because 1) it meant to say I had to do something about my 30 year bread lust and 2) I had another quest.
But wait! If you’re attempting to make something from an old memory, how better to do it than by having other people compare their efforts? And wait again! How about my sisters, who lived there when I did and who are both awesome bakers and kind, “come along side you” types of people?
I issued a Schwester Qwester challenge, Schwester being of course German for sister. I sent a starter recipe, as yet untried and they responded with, “Of course!”
I had never previously made a bread recipe which called for me to stiff beat an egg white, but you do something new each day. I also got an incredible boost when the amazing Karla H, former bakery owner and wonderful friend of mine, stopped by to return something and she taught me how to form the rolls in the traditional manner, achieving the curving pinwheel lines (bakeries use a “stamp”).
BrötchenAdapted from various Internet sources
- 1 pkg. yeast
- 1 1/4 c. lukewarm water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. softened butter
- 1 egg white, stiffly beaten
- 4 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.
In mixing bowl combine yeast, 1 cup water, salt and butter. Fold in stiffly beaten egg white. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Let dough rise until doubled, punch down and let rise again. Punch down and divide into 10-12 pieces.
Roll each piece into a “worm” 12-15 inches long. Drape one end over your index and middle finger, with the rest of the worm hanging down the backside of your hand. Grab the dangling end and bring it up and past the first end, forming a loop with about 1/3 of the dough still remaining. Weave the remainder through the loop once, twice, and then bring it to the bottom to join the first end.
Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel, place in an oven with a pan of hot water in the bottom and allow to rise once again. Remove, preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake 20 minutes. If you wish a hard crust, place pan with boiling water in bottom of oven during baking. In my mind, a Brötchen should have a firm, but chewy crust.
Serve with butter (put down the margarine and back away slowly) and jam if you wish. Semmeln also make good sandwich holders.