Unfortunately, last month very unexpectedly the German bakery that my family (my grandparents, my parents, my sisters and myself) have all been going to for at least 44 years shut down. There was no prior notice, just one day it was gone. We were all sort of in shock, as this is where I would go at Christmas to get all of our kaiser buns and of course I would also get cake from there.
This is the same place we got all of our cakes and buns for my wedding when I got married. It was just a small place, but it had the best rye bread and buns. My grandfather used to for years go there before they would open up, he would go to the back door, talk to the bakers early in the morning and get all of our buns for Christmas and the holidays. They could come in these huge brown bags.
Now we were left with what do we do, no more proper kaiser buns. Not the ones you get in deli’s where they are big and fluffy and they make huge sandwiches out of. These were small, hard rolls. They were perfect. When I was little my Oma would warm some up in the oven to get them nice and toasty and I loved them with a little butter and Beet Syrup on them. Let’s be honest I still love them with Beet Syrup on them. And yes, I have a jar in the fridge. My husband and sons look at me like I’m crazy, but I love the stuff. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in my family who does.
So, because I refuse to now go without proper kaiser buns, I started to search. Well most of the recipes you get are for the big, fluffy sandwich type kaiser buns you get in deli’s. To me these are not kaiser buns.
Eventually I did a German search and came up with a few. I settled on one, but had to translate it to English and figure out the steps myself as it just said “make the dough”. Yeah, okay.
Here are the steps, which will give you perfect (my mom’s words!) Kaiser buns.
Weigh out all of your ingredients (sorry, but this whole recipe is in weights – and yes, even the liquids get weighed on a scale so there are no Tbsp. or ml or cups). Then let everything sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This allows the milk and butter to warm slightly.
Once the yeast has bloomed, warm your milk and honey together in the microwave for 10 seconds, this is simply to take any chill left off the milk and help the honey blend with the milk easier.
Make a well in the centre flour, place the bowl on your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Pour your milk and honey into the well and then the water/yeast mixture.
**This dough is very stiff, so hold onto the bowl to make sure it doesn’t pop off the stand mixer while the dough is being kneaded for the 5 minutes – yes this happened to me the first time I made this, which is why I say hold on to the bowl**
Once the 5 minuters is up (8 minutes total) remove the bowl from the stand mixer, quickly shape the dough into a ball and place back in the mixing bowl (no oil is needed here). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm spot for 25 minutes. Not much is going to happen in those 25 minutes, but that’s okay, it’s more to let the dough rest.
Shape each piece of dough into a ball.
Take each ball of dough and toss it gently in the bowl of flour to coat it lightly in flour, then rounded side up, press with your Kasier press. You want to go almost all the way down, but not completely through. Then flip the buns over, so they are now top side down and place back onto the piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining buns. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, gently flip the buns over and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray the buns on top with water, don’t be worried about getting too much water on them, this will create the nice crust on top.
Then quickly place the pan in the pre-heated oven and close the door for a few seconds, then quickly again, open the door and spray the inside of the oven about 20 times with water to create some steam in the oven.
Bake the buns for 16 minutes.
Once you remove the buns from the oven, quickly transfer the buns to a cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperate and the store in a pastic bag.
(Makes 12 buns)
500 gr. All purpose unbleached white flour
10 gr. salt
10 gr. Honey
5 gr. sugar
18 gr. butter (not quite room temperature – as this is a small amount it should warm up fast)
7 gr (2 1/4 tsp – 1 pkg) dry active yeast
60 gr. milk – weigh this out and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off
220 gr. water (room temperature)
1. Start by weighing everything out. Then I let everything sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. After the 30 minutes – Mix together your water, sugar and yeast and let the yeast bloom for 5 minutes.
3. Pour your flour and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix the flour and salt together so there are no pockets of salt. Make a well in the centre – this is where you will pour all your wet ingredients.
4. Once the yeast has started to bloom, combine your milk and honey and warm in the microwave for 10 seconds – stir to combine the one with the milk.
5. Pour the milk/honey mixture into the centre of the flour. Pour the water/yeast mixture over top of the milk.
6. Turn the mixer to speed 2 for 3 minutes. The dough will be very dry and will not have come together yet, do not stress it will, I promise.
7. Turn the speed up to speed 3 for 5 minutes, as soon as you turn the speed up to speed 3, start adding in your butter, bit by bit. This won’t take long as there isn’t much there.
8. Once the 8 minutes total is up, remove the bowl from the stand mixer, pull the dough off the dough hook and cover the bowl (with the dough in the bowl) with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 25 minutes (I put it in the oven with the light on as this is a nice warm place with no drafts).
9. Once the 25 minutes is up, the dough will not have risen much if at all, that’s okay. Divide the dough into equal portions (approx. 70 grams each). Shape into balls and place on a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Let these dough balls rest for 25 minutes. Start to pre-heat your oven once you have all the dough balls shaped – this gives your oven time to really pre-heat.
10. Once the 25 minutes is up, in a small bowl, scoop two soup spoonfuls of flour and get your Kasier press ready by dipping it in the four.
11. Take each ball of dough and toss it in the flour to coat, it should be a light coating, not caked on, then with the rounded side up, press evenly down on the buns with the Kaiser press. Do not press all the way to the counter, we’re not cutting the buns, but you want to go until the dough fills the press to the edges. The carefully, flip the buns over so the top is now down, and place back on your parchment paper (the buns will have their final proof upside down).
12. Repeat with the remaining 11 buns, then cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
13. When the 30 minutes are up, carefully turn the buns over and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (12 will fit on one pan) and spray with warm water.
14.Place in the oven and quickly spray the oven with 20 quick mists of water and bake for 16 minutes.
15. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to allow proper air circulation or the buns will get soggy underneath.