Came across this recipe while goggling for a hard roll recipe to eat with my beef stew. (Yes, I cooked beef stew again today.) In fact there are so many recipe on hard rolls that I was at a lost having to decide which one to try. I have finally decided on this one because it was using the sponge and dough method which I think will be nice. So here it is, my hard rolls. My son just ate 2 rolls with jam and butter after toasting it up to make it more crispy.
GERMAN HARD ROLLS
2 cups (250g) bread flour
1 1/3 cup (300 ml) water
½ tsp (2.5 g) instant yeast
5 ½ cup (725 g) flour (I used bread flour also)
1 1/3 cup water (300 ml) plus extra, if needed
1 tsp (5 g) instant yeast
1 ½ tsp (12 g) salt
1. Mix all ingredients in Day 1 in a bowl until smooth and lump-free. Cover with plastic wrap (not air tight) and let this mix sit on the counter overnight.
2. The next day, mix the sponge (what you mixed on Day 1) with 5 cups of flour, water and yeast. Knead for 8 minutes, preferably with a stand mixer. Add up to another half cup of flour until dough clears the bowl (doesn’t stick to side much – just a little).
3. Sprinkle salt over the dough and mix for another 4 minutes (you may decrease salt to 1 tsp if you wish). The consistency of the dough should be smooth but tacky, adjust with water, a teaspoon at a time, or flour, a tablespoon at a time.
4. Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl turning once to coat. Place a damp towel or plastic wrap over the top and let the dough rest for 2 hours.
5. Turn dough out on lightly floured work surface and cut into between 50g to 80g pieces each. Let it rest for a few minutes then form into small balls or any other shapes you like. Coat in flour and place on parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
6. Cover with a damp cloth and let them rise for another 1 hour.
7. Preheat oven, preferably with an oven stone, to 450F (230C) for 1 hour (I just preheated the oven but definitely not 1 hour). Place an old pan on the bottom rack. Slash rolls with a serrated knife or blade. Place rolls in the oven on the next shelf up, or directly on top of a baking stone, if available or on a baking sheet. Pour 1 cup of water into the old baking pan and close the door quickly.
8. Spray sides of oven with water 2 or 3 times in the first 5 minutes of baking using a regular spray bottle. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet if necessary for even browning. Cool rolls on wire rack so that the bottom will not get soggy.
9. Rolls are supposed to be eaten warm and crispy. You may freeze and recrisp it in a hot oven if you are not eating them on the same day you baked them.