The other day, I did something I haven’t done in a little while: I bought bread.
I bought two kaiser buns from the grocery store. I had burgers on the menu, and I thought I might have time to make my own buns, but I didn’t. So I bought some.
We ended up eating something else for dinner, so we noshed on the store bought buns as a snack the next day. “These are terrible,” said Cedric.
He was right. They were terrible – dry and flavourless on the inside, pale and forgettable on the outside. I’ve been making homemade bread for over a month now, and I fear I may have accidentally turned us into bread snobs. Or worse – bread monsters.
Now, I know that kaisers aren’t the most exciting of breads. Was it the fact that it was store-bought that made it blah – or was being blah a characteristic of a kaiser? You know where this is going.
Yes, I made my own kaisers. They are tender with a hint of saltiness and a little heartiness. They have a little weight in the mouth – a little bounce when chewed, if you will.
I haven’t had a lot of experience making dinner roll type of breads. These don’t seem as exciting as some of the more rustic or savoury recipes in the Bread Illustrated cookbook, and frankly, dinner rolls aren’t a staple in our meals. But I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity in these little guys. They don’t have much to hide behind – no crispy crust or punchy ingredients. What you see is what you get.
Baking kaisers is pretty straightforward, and – bonus – it takes less than five hours. I didn’t pull out the tape measure for this one, so my kaisers aren’t exactly uniform in size, but I had a good time tying and twisting the dough into knots.
I think it was a little warm in our house on the day I baked the kaisers. The dough was puffy and stretchy and extremely easy to work with. One step called for knotting the dough ropes, then letting them rise for 30 minutes to an hour. By the time I’d finished tying the 12th and final roll, the first one had already nearly doubled in size.
So there you have it – it’s not the most glamorous of breads, but it’s another one to add to the ole repertoire.