The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dabrownman's picture

These rolls are SD / YW, caramelized onion, sun dried tomato, bacon, parmesan cheese Emperor Rolls with Seeds so they are pretty much not Kaiser rolls or semmels any more.  We forgot to put in the basil but left it in the formula.


We were reading a post on another unmentioned site on how to make your own sun dried tomatoes.  Tomatoe are 25 cents a pound for Roma ones this week so no time like the present  to dry them.  Sun dried tomatoes have become increasingly more expensive in the store and are very easy to make at home.  I prefer mine roasted slowly with a little salt and Herbs de Provence packed in olive oil so that you get flavored oil too.


After finishing the tomato drying project we were looking around for a new way to use them besides in our standard pizza dough.  We also needed some hamburger buns for our monthly hamburger dinner.


We usually make these no fancy do shaped buns, with parmesan cheese, basil and apple wood smoked bacon but thought that a few minced sun dried tomatoes wouldn’t hurt them any – unlike what FedEx might do to your next package.


This time the apprentice thought we might give Emperor Roll shaping a try for these rolls and stick some; white and black poppy, white and black sesame, basil and nigella seeds on them with egg.  The (2) multi-seeded ones also had kosher salt and chia seeds in the mix.  We recently found some oregano seeds but forgot to use them on purpose - just to be consistent in forgetting stuff we would have liked to put in our recipes .


We also wanted to enrich our last dough for rolls with an egg to go along with the butter, NF milk and olive oil.  They ended up being 75% hydration our recent norm for white breads.


Kaiser rolls are always plain instead of having seeds on them and oddly they have nothing to do with the Kaiser either.  Odd how things get named isn’t it?  Kaiser rolls originate from Vienna, Austria and were supposedly named after the Emperor Franz Joseph but they are never called Emperor rolls.  So we ended up naming these Franz Joeseph's Emperor Rolls with Seeds.  We can understand how Empress Ying would have every right to be miffed bout this.


We shaped the rolls like they do here:


And not the way Norm does here:


Had we known it was Norm at the time, we would have shaped them the authentic way.  Next time for sure.


These Emperor Rolls with Seeds came out nicely brown and went soft as summer rolls tend to do in AZ.   Kaiser Rolls should be crusty and hard for NY authentic ones.



We built the YW and SD levains separately over a 6 hour build with equal amounts of flour for each and 69% hydration.   The dough flours were autolysed with the milk for 4 hours.   When the levains and the dough flours came together we added the egg, oil softened butter, salt and malts and squeezed the dough through our fingers until incorporated.

After the dough had rested for 15 minutes, we did the first of (4) sets of S&F’s on 30 minute intervals.  The first one was (16) ¼ turns reducing by 4 turns each successive set.  The dough rested in a plastic covered oiled bowl in between sets.  After the last set the dough was retarded for 12 hours in the 38 F fridge in the oiled plastic covered bowl.

After the retard was complete we let the dough sit out for 1 hour on the counter to warm up.  We then weighed out (10) 112 g pieces and shaped them into balls.  After a 10 minute rest under plastic on the counter, we rolled out the balls into 14”ropes.

After another 10 minute rest they were shaped into Kaiser rolls and placed on parchment paper on cookie sheets to final proof covered in a plastic trash can liner for 2 hours.  The tops wee brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with the seeds.

Big Betsy was fired up to 450 F with (2) of Sylvia’s steaming bread pans with wet towels in them.  After 45minutes the rolls were ready to bake with additional steam provided by the ½ C of water we tossed into the bottom of the oven.

After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 425 F and then down to 375 F when the steam came out at the 10 minute mark. The rolls were rotated 180 degrees every 5 minutes after the steam was removed to ensure even browning.  They were removed from the oven when they reached 205 F internal temperature about 25 minutes including the steam.  We didn’t brush the tops with milk to keep them soft when they came out of the oven like we normally do since we thought they would go oft enough on their own


YW / SD Combo Starter

Build 1


SD Rye and Desem Starter



Yeast Water









Total Starter












Levain % of Total






Dough Flour









Dough Flour









Non Fat Milk



Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Milk and Water



T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins









Red Rye Malt



White Rye Malt



Olive Oil









3 Thick Apple Wood Smoked Bacon Strips

2 T Chopped basil



4 T Caramelized onion.



1/4 C Grated Parmesan



2 T Sun Dried Tomato



dabrownman's picture

We have been baking with YW, Combo YW / SD and straight SD lately but have not had the chance to compare identical YW and SD recipes to see how they might compare.  We recently made a Joe Ortiz Desem Starter that we really liked so decided to use WW to build each of the starters to the same 90 grams of levain with the same 80% hydration.


We usually want somewhere around 40 % whole grains minimum in our breads with sprouts and seeds, but since these rolls were going to be used for our monthly hamburger dinner we skipped the sprouts and seeds but added fresh chopped basil, caramelized onions, bacon and parmesan cheese instead. 

Yeast Water version is first for pictures.


These additions reflected isand66’s (Ian’s) bacon, caramelized onion and cheese bread we rank in our top 5 and his roll bake this week along with breadsong’s roll bake this week that had basil and parmesan cheese in it.  We thought combining the 2 would make for a very nice bun for our grilled poblano chili, caramelized onion and mushroom, cheese burger we were planning for dinner.


Since it is summer, we planned on bailing the rolls in the mini oven using (2) of Sylvia’s steaming cups designed for it.   We are amazed the varieties of well baked bread that come out of that little oven.


This was no exception.  Both rolls were soft and moist inside with the YW being more so but the SD was more open.  The crusts came out nice and crusty but were immediately toned down to nice and soft by brushing milk on them immediately – no one wants a hard hamburger bun. The crust on the SD was darker and more blistered and the spring was greater.  The SD rolls were baked last when the oven temperature and steam were working better.

Now for the Desem SD pictures


The YW rolls were slightly under baked and the SD ones were slightly over baked even though both were baked the same way and for the same time and temperature exactly.  Since only the levain was retarded, the SD tang was muted for the SD rolls and there was no SD tang in the YW as expected.

We liked both of these rolls equally well and have now found our new go to hamburger bun and possible bruschetta  bread.  We will add 10g each of potato flakes and ground oats with a little garlic and 12g of water to the recipe next time to make it even better.  We just forgot them this time by mistake.



The levains were built over (2) 3 hr and (1) 2 hr build before being refrigerated overnight.  Home ground whole wheat was used for the levains in keeping with the normal Desem starter feed.  We also ground the soft white whole wheat berries.


Each  dough was made by hand mixing the levain and non fat milk together first to break up and liquefy the levain, then the flours, butter and oil were added.  We added the fat to give the rolls an even more tender and moist crumb.  The dough was then hand kneaded for 4 minutes and allowed to rest for 15 minutes in an oiled, plastic covered bowl.

YW is on the right in side shot and on the left in the crumb shot.  The spirng better for the SD - quite unexpected.


(4) sets of S & F’s were done on 15 minute intervals with the herb, onion, bacon and parmesan added in on the third set.  The dough was then allowed to ferment and develop for 90 minutes.

Each batch made (6) 111 g rolls.  After dividing, the rolls were S&F’ed to shape and then rolled under the palms of the hand until the skin was tight and the fold seamed shut.  The rolls were then proofed for 2 hours on parchment in a plastic bag.

YW on the left, SD on the right.


The oven was preheated to 500 F and Sylvia’s (2) Pyrex cups, half full of water with a wash cloth in them were heated until boiling in the microwave.   The rolls with parchment were placed on the top part only of the mini’s broiler pan with the steaming cups and loaded in the lower rack for 10 minutes of steaming.  After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 425 F.

Who wants a plain cheeseburger?


When the steam came out at the 10 minute mark, the baking rack was moved to the upper level and the temperature turned down to 375 F convection this time.  In 5 minutes the rack was rotated 180 degrees and moved to the lower level for 5 more minutes of baking. 

When you can have one of these.  Both have grilled poblano peppers, Alpine Lace, Emmenthaler Swiss and brie cheese, caramelized onion and mushrooms.  One has lettuce and tomato and one does not.  Either makes any architect a proud builder :-) Even Lindy's on 4th in Tucson would have a hard time beating these burgers and no way they can beat the buns!


At 20 minutes the rolls were deemed done and removed to wire cooling racks where they were immediately brushed with milk to soften the crust for hamburger buns.

Brownman's Banana Bread made as a sheet cake For desert.

Formula follows the pictures.

YW StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Yeast Water25200452.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%

Or the Desem starter below

Desem SD, Caramelized Onion, Basil, Bacon,  Parmesan Rolls     
Desem StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
SD Desem Starter1000102.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%
Levain % of Total14.49%    
Dough Flour %   
Bread Flour7525.00%   
Soft White Whole Wheat5016.67%   
Durum Atta5016.67%   
Dough Flour300100.00%   
Non Fat Milk19565.00%   
Dough Hydration65.00%    
Total Flour350    
Milk and Water235    
T. Dough Hydration67.14%    
Whole Grain %42.86%    
Hydration w/ Adds68.29%    
Total Weight621    
Add - Ins %   
Olive Oil 103.33%   


 Add ins are split between  12 rolls     
3 Bacon strips     
4 T Chopped basil     
6 T Caramelized onion.     
1/4 C Grated Parmesan    


loydb's picture

Here goes another pasta experiment. This time, I went with 100% durum wheat (other than a little KA that I used to flour the board and the pasta as it went through the machine). To make the dough, I combined 3 egg yolks (yolks only, trying for a very yellow noodle), the zest of 6 lemons, 1T each dill and basil, and 1.5t kosher salt in a blender, then mixed it into two cups of fresh-ground durum wheat (no sifting, 100% WW).

The dough sat for around four hours, then half was cut into fettucini. The other half is sitting in my fridge, and will be used tomorrow probably...

For the final dish, roast 2/3 cup of pine nuts and reserve. The chicken breasts had been coated in olive oil and kosher salt that morning, then stuck in the fridge in a plastic bag that I flipped every couple of hours during the day.  Rough chop 2 small onions, 8 oz mushrooms, and 5 cloves of garlic. I browned the chicken in a mix of butter and olive oil, then dumped the onion mixture on top and hit with some kosher salt. After most of the water cooked out of the veg mix, I added chicken stock to a 1/4" depth in the pan, put in a bunch of lemon slices, covered and simmered for 15-20 minutes. The pasta cooked for 4 minutes. I added a few tablespoons of half and half to the pan, combined for a minute, then added the noodles and cooked for another 90 seconds or so. Yum. The noodles weren't quite the bright yellow I was hoping for, maybe I'll add a few drops of food coloring next time :)



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