Dough for Bohemian rolls - Updated...
Part of my heritage is Bohemian rolls and kolaches, which are small fruit topped torte type devices. Both of my grandmothers as well as my aunts made them. However, their recipe to make them, as well as the mystical technique to make them has been somewhat lost. In the fall of 2008, my wife and I, along with my brother, his wife and my mother attended a class to make kolaches as this type of bakery is very prevalent in the northeastern Wisconsin where I grew up. As part of the class, we were given a recipe for the dough. However, as with most recipes, I found the instructions difficult to reproduce reliability. After a few trial runs, I have recreated a version of the recipe that was presented. The dough can be used to make Kaiser rolls, dinner rolls or kolaches depending on what technique is used for shaping. So, here it goes...
Dough for Bohemian Rolls in the Style of Northeastern Wisconsin
Makes 1 dozen Kaiser rolls, 2 dozen dinner rolls or 3 dozen kolaches
17.6 oz unbleached white bread flour
0.65 oz wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1.75 oz granular sugar
0.80 oz instant yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tbs 2% milk (warmed to body temperature)
1/2 cup water (warmed to body temperature)
1/3 cup butter (softened)
4 large egg yokes
melted butter to coat rolls after baking
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, wheat gluten and salt. Mix thoroughly and then create a depression or "well" in the center. In a microwave safe measuring cup, warm the milk and water to about body temperature (95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit). When warmed, pour into the well and sprinkle the sugar and yeast into the well. Stir the sugar and yeast into the liquid (but don't bring in the flour yet) and let stand for about 5 minutes. While the sponge is doing its thing, soften the butter in the microwave (reuse the measuring cup if you like) and separate the eggs for the 4 yokes. You may discard the whites or use for something else.
Once the sponge is frothy and has a strong yeast smell, add in the butter by pinching it up into little chunks. Also add in the egg yokes at this time. Using a bread spoon, roughly bring the dough together in the bowl. Using a dough hook in the stand mixer, knead the dough for a good 5 to 8 minutes at low speed, stoping to scrape the dough from the hook every so often. The dough should be very sticky and ragged but will be ready when it separates from the sides of the bowl and has good elasticity. While the dough is kneading, prepare a large clean bowl for rising by coating with spray oil. Once the dough is mixed, turn out into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic cling wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it is more than double in size. After the rise, form depending on style of bakery as directed below.
For Kaiser or dinner rolls
Before starting, prepare two or three 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn out the dough on a heavily floured surface,and divide into 12 or 24 equal pieces using a dough scraper; depending on type and size of roll. Pre-shape each piece into a small ball by first stretching and then pinching the dough to form a tight skin. The technique is the same as forming a small boule. As you shape each ball, stage on the parchment covered sheet pans.
Once you have all of the pieces pre-shaped, go back and start forming them into ropes. Do this by rolling between your hands in a vertical orientation, letting the dough hang down. Try not to add flour to the dough but you may need to dust your hands to prevent sticking. Once the rope is about 1/2" to 5/8" thick, you can form into the roll shapes by any number of methods.
Below is a sketch done by my brother of the basic method to make a traditional "knot" roll in figure C. Figure D takes it one step further and makes a "bird" roll by making a beak and flattening the tail. Use a dough scraper to cut the "feathers".
The next is a sequence of pictures illustrating how to make a "double knot".
Kaiser rolls are a modification to the knot. You start by making a knot but leave more room in the center "eye". Then take the tail and continue threading it though the eye; working your way around. I will try and update the blog with a photo sequence at some point. The Kaiser roll is also demonstrated in Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Bakers Apprentice" as a "knotted roll" on page 82.
Once formed, place the rolls back on the sheet pans with enough separation to allow for proofing and a fair amount of "oven spring" when baking. Spray lightly with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof in a warm place for about 45 minutes until the rolls expand about 1 1/2 times.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once preheated, bake rolls for 7 minutes and then rotate 180 degrees and bake another 7 minutes. If you are making more than 2 pans, you may want to start by placing 1 pan in the bottom of the oven, bake it for 7 minutes, rotate and move it to the upper rack and add another tray to the bottom. Repeat in an assembly line fashion. After taking out of the oven, move to cooling rack. You may leave as is or brush with melted butter for added gloss and flavor. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes to let the crumb set before serving.
DISCLAIMER - I haven't verified this procedure so it is kinda from memory of the workshop. I will update this post after I have verified it.
Before starting, prepare three or four 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Also prepare any fillings or other toppings for the kolaches. Canned pie filling works pretty well. Turn out the dough on a heavily floured surface. Using a dinner spoon, portion out a piece of dough about the size of large walnut shell. Dust liberally with flour and then roll into a ball by taking your left hand and holding it very flat (even to the point of flexing it back so the surface is convex). Place the dough in the center of your left palm and then cup your right hand over your left and move in a circular motion, placing the lightest of pressure on the dough. It will take a little trial and error but you should find that after about six counter-clockwise circular motions, you will get a very uniform ball. If one is left handed, reverse positions and directions.
Stage each ball on the sheet pans with about 1 1/2" space to the sides and 3" between each ball. Once a pan is full, use fingers to flatten each ball to about 1/2" thickness. Let proof for about 30 minutes in a warm place until the dough rises approximately 1 1/2 times. After the 1st proof, using fingers degas the center of each ball so there is about 1/4" edge and the center is 1/8" thick. They should look like little thick crust pizzas. Let proof for another 15 to 20 minutes so the edges come back to shape.
While proofing the last time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. After proofing, degas the centers again and then fill with the prepared toppings. Place one pan in the bottom rack of the oven for 6 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and move to the upper rack and add another pan to the bottom rack; bake for another 6 minutes. Repeat in an assembly line fashion. After taking out of the oven, move to cooling rack. Brush edges with melted butter. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes to let the filling and the crumb set up before serving.
Update - Feb. 1, 2009
If the egg yokes are a little small, you might want to add a 5th. The last batch I did, the dough was a little to stiff so I added another yoke.
Updated - Aug. 24, 2009
Just a link to the pictures to form the kolaches.