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Kimmelweck (German Kaiser Rolls, Brotchen or Weck)

2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons solid shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 cups flour
3 egg whites, beaten stiffly
1 egg white, for egg wash
cold milk, for egg wash
caraway seeds for topping
kosher salt for topping

Proof yeast. Add shortening, sugar, salt and 3 cups of the flour.
Beat with dough whisk or heavy spoon for 2 minutes. Fold egg whites
into yeast mixture. Gradually add flour 1/4 cup at a time, until
dough forms a mass and begins to pull away from bowl. Turn onto
a floured surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary, for 8-10
minutes, until smooth and elastic with bubbles. Place in oiled
bowl, turn to coat, and cover with damp towel. Let rise until
double, about 1 hour. Punch down, cover and let rise again until
double (about 45 minutes.) Punch down and turn out onto lightly
oiled surface.

For Kaiser or Weck: Divide dough into 18 pieces. Use rolling pin
to flatten each piece into a 7 inch circle. Fold left side to
center to form a flap. Halfway down flap fold again to center to
form another flap. Repeat all the way around to make overlapping
flaps. Lift the first flap to ease the last flap underneath.
Press center to seal the dough. Place rolls upside down on a
well-greased baking sheet, 3 inches apart. Let rise 30 minutes,
turn right side up, let rise 15 more minutes.

For Brotchen: Divide dough into 24 pieces. Shape each into an
oval about 3 1/2 inches long. Place on well greased baking sheet.
If your oven will not fit all at once, prepare half at a time,
keeping rest covered for 15 minutes. Flatten tops slightly. Cover
and let rise 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Put a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of
oven. Lightly brush the rolls with egg wash. Sprinkle with seeds
or coarse salt if desired. Place 1 cup of ice cubes in the heated
pan in oven. Immediately put the rolls in and bake 15 to 20 minutes
until golden brown (internal temp will read 190). Remove and cool
on racks.

NOTES : Kaiser and Brotchen are made from the same dough, but shaped
differently. Kaiser has the 5 sided pinwheel design, Brotchen are
smaller and oval shaped. In Buffalo, NY Kaiser rolls are glazed
and sprinkled with salt and caraway seeds, called Weck Rolls.


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