A hard roll is good to find

Hard rolls, aka Kaiser rolls, aren’t indigenous to south Louisiana, and a decent Kaiser roll is difficult to find in these parts.  Sure, every chain supermarket with a bakery department offers seed-topped, cellophane-wrapped sandwich rolls labeled as Kaisers.  Go ahead, buy  a sleeve of six:  I guarantee you’ll be disappointed.  The rolls are never crusty, are too soft, and are generally way too big to make a decent sandwich (as I’m a firm believer in the ideal ratio of bread:filling as the key component in a good sandwich).  I haven’t found a good bakery hard roll, despite years of looking.

So I bake my own, using the recipe in Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice (p 177, go look it up on Google Books).  For a few bucks, I bought a Kaiser roll stamp, which allows me to achieve the pleated top folds characteristic of a hard roll.  Yes, you can make the shape by hand, but it’s a bit tricky and takes some practice.  With the stamp, you simply roll the dough into balls and apply the stamp.  The pattern bakes right into the roll.

After baking a batch of half white whole wheat/half bread flour rolls,  I’m ready for thick-sliced, roasted turkey, thin pastrami, or homemade roast beef.  Or how about a righteous burger?  The burgers at Phil’s Grill (3020 Severn, Metairie, LA) set me a-thinkin’ about Kaiser rolls in the first place.  The burgers are decent, with a mix-and-match approach allowing each diner to customize to his or her heart’s content.  Excep for one major disappointment–the standard-issue, food-service buns (onion rolls, whole wheat, etc.) are far too soft & smushy to stand up to an onslaught of juice, grease, and condiments.  Phil’s whole concept would be elevated by better bread choices, I think.

Are you now inspired to bake?  Check out Wild Yeast’s Yeastspotting for additional yeast baking inspiration…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s