I recently had a craving for Sloppy Joes, or in my case Snobby Joes, the lentil version from the great folks at Veganomicon. Nothing beats a poppy seed crusted Kaiser Roll for sandwiching this classic comfort food. A good Kaiser roll should be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This recipe is adapted from The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz. It’s easy and makes a quick half dozen rolls. I haven’t perfected the hand shaping that gives them that classic Kaiser roll look, but the taste is just as good.
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon malt extract or honey
1/2 cup buttermilk, scalded and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups (6oz.) fresh ground whole wheat flour (I used Arapahoe from the 2012 share)
1/2 cup cool water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups (4-6oz) fresh ground whole wheat flour (Arapahoe again)
Poppy seeds for sprinkling on top
Make the Sponge
Proof the yeast in the warm water. Mix the malt, or honey, and sugar in the slightly cooled buttermilk. In a large bowl add the yeast, flour, buttermilk, and water and mix well with a wooden spoon. I mixed with some vigor for about 6 mins. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Make the Dough
Mix the salt with the flour and gradually add by 1/4 cups to the sponge. Continuously mix well with a wooden spoon. Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Continue to add flour as necessary while kneading the dough for 7 or 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size. It took 1 1/2 hours for mine to double in size.
Divide the dough into six equal parts. Press them into flat disks on a well floured work surface. Punch the center with your thumb while pulling a section from the edge and folding it into the center. Repeat this three or four times until you’ve folded it up into a ball. Press the center to seal it tightly.
Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush them lightly with oil, place another sheet of parchment on top, a baking sheet, and finally something heavy on top. I used a cast iron skillet. After 20 minutes remove the skillet and continue to let rise for a total of 35-40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450º. Sprinkle the rolls with poppy seeds. You want steam in the oven while baking so squirt the rolls with water or pour boiling water into a preheated cast iron skillet and place it int the oven. Bake for 20-25 mins. I rotated the pan half way through baking to brown evenly.