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Rolls, Kimmelweck (P, TNT)
Source: "The Neighborhood Bake Shop," by Jill Van Cleave
Yield: 8 sandwich rolls

2-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 envelope)
1 cup lukewarm water (95°F to 110°F)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. barley malt syrup or honey
2 large egg whites
3 to 3-1/4 cups bread flour (preferably high-gluten)
1 tbsp. water
Coarse sea salt crystals and caraway seeds, for sprinkling

Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water in a small bowl. Set aside to proof until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

Combine the remaining 3/4 cup lukewarm water, the oil, sugar, salt, barley malt syrup or honey, and 1 egg white in a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add 1-1/2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth. Add the yeast solution and slowly stir in an additional 1-1/2 cups of the flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky to the touch, adding only as much additional flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down, cover the bowl again, and let the dough rise a second time, for about 30 minutes.

Return the dough to the work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth round, then flatten the rounds slightly. Place on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, well spaced to allow spreading. Cover loosely with a towel and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Combine the remaining egg white and the 1 tbsp. water in a small dish and blend.

Brush the rolls lightly with the egg white wash. Using the tip of a sharp knife or razor, cut 4 crescent-shaped slits into each roll, radiating out from the center. Sprinkle the rolls with the coarse salt and caraway seeds and spritz, with water.

Bake for 5 minutes. Quickly open the oven door, spritz the rolls again with water, and close the oven. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes more, until browned and crisp. Cool the rolls on wire racks.

For a Vienna Loaf:
Follow the recipe directions for Kimmelweck Rolls with the following exceptions: After the second rise, divide the dough in half and shape each half into an oval with tapered ends. After the final rise, apply the egg wash and cut a 1/2" deep slit down the top of each loaf; omit the salt and caraway sprinkle, if desired. Bake in 400°F oven, baking for about 30 minutes more after the second spritz with water (for a total of 35 minutes).

For Salt and Pepper Sticks:
Follow the recipe directions with the following exceptions: Omit the second rise. Divide the dough into 13 equal pieces, roll each piece out into a 12" rope of even thickness, and space the ropes 1-1/2" apart on the prepared baking sheet. After the final rise, apply the egg wash, but do not make any cuts into the do dough; sprinkle with coarse sea salt crystals and coarsely ground or cracked black pepper instead of with salt crystals and caraway seeds. I like to vary the topping by sprinkling some with salt, some with pepper, and some with a little of both. Do not spritz with water. Bake for about 18 minutes.

Poster's Notes:
I went to college in Rochester, N.Y. and remember beef on weck from my many visits to Buffalo, a short drive from Rochester. Many "weck" roll recipes call for milk and butter, but this one doesn't, so it's appropriate for kosher roast beef sandwiches.

The author writes:
What exactly is a Kimmelweck Roll? It's a hard roll, more specifically a crusty Kaiser roll, sprinkled with caraway and coarse salt instead of the more familiar poppy seed topping. Shape the dough into a loaf to bake Vienna bread or shape it into thin ropes for salt and pepper sticks, a great snack in lieu of pretzels.

Kaufman's is the biggest of the bakeries in Buffalo that still make kimmelweck rolls. The owner, Jay Freedman, can personally recall at least forty years of baking "wecks" for the hardy beef on weck lunch so favored by generations of the town's German and Polish communities. It's never faded as a lunchtime tradition.

Posted by Nancy Berry

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A