A kummelweck roll is a crusty bread of Germanic origin that’s traditionally topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds. Kümmel apparently is the German word for caraway, and weck roughly translates to” roll" in certain regional German dialects. Here is the ole U.S., primarily in Buffalo, New York and its close environs you can actually buy wecks by the dozen. In other parts of this great land it’s usually a no-go, or if you’re lucky a special order from a good bakery.
This recipe utilizes a sous vide yeast proofing technique that I find streamlines my yeast baking process and takes any “yeast angst” out of the equation. It breaks down my technique to the “bag-o-yeast” and the bowl of dry ingredients and when ready all I need to do is, mix away!
I also found that the water bath of my circulator set for proofing my yeast is also the perfect location to set my dough for rising. I simply place a bowl of sufficient size over the water bath and cover, it works beautifully.
These rolls right out of the oven are spectacular, with a crunchy crust and a nice airy yet dense interior crumb. Topped with the zing of freshly toasted caraway and big fat flakes of salt that when split and stuffed with a pat of good butter it’s yeasty comfort in its finest form. That all being said the following day I was dismayed that my lovely rolls were crunch-less and leaden. On a whim it tossed them into a 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes and found to my surprise they felt and tasted like they were just baked. Now a week later they still can be reheated in the same way with almost no loss of quality - amazing!
For the yeast mixture:
• 3/4 cup water, tap
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons honey, clover or similar
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast
For the dough:
• 2 2/3 cups bread flour, unbleached
• 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
• 1 large whole egg
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the topping:
• 1 large egg white, beaten with 2 teaspoons of water
• 2 tablespoons flake salt, very coarse
• 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
For the yeast mixture:
1. Preheat the SV1 to 38°C/100°F
3. Using a VacMaster chamber machine, vacuum seal the mixture
4. Place in the SV1 for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast begins to bubble and froth, reserve
For the dough:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, dry milk, whole egg and salt and begin mixing on slow speed.
2. Using scissors, clip off one end of the yeast bag and with the mixer running carefully pour in the yeast mixture.
3. Mix the dough on slow for 10 minutes.
4. Turn off the mixer, leaving the dough in the bowl and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Restart the mixer and knead for an additional 10 minutes, until it's smooth and silken.
6. Remove the dough from the mixer, from into a ball and place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, gently cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a warm area to rest for 1 hour or until double in bulk.
7. Divide the double risen dough into six equal pieces, and shape into smooth, slightly flattened rounds.
8. Place the rolls evenly spread on a prepared baking sheet, covered with a kitchen towel and let rise for one hour or until roughly doubled in size.
9. For the topping and baking:
10. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
11. In a small bowl mix the salt and the caraway seeds thoroughly, reserve.
12. Using a razor blade or very sharp tip of a knife, score a cross shape into the tops of each roll about 1/8-inch deep
13. Using a pastry brush glaze the tops and sides of the rolls liberally with the beaten egg white.
14. Generously sprinkle the tops of the rolls with the salt and caraway mix.
15. Place the tray in the center middle of the preheated oven and bake them for 8 minutes remove and rotate the tray and bake for another 8 minutes or until they're golden brown.
16. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack
17. Use as needed.