German Broetchen or German Hard Rolls


My Mom is German, as I’ve said before, and she brought a bag of German Hard Rolls home one day when I was little.  She was very happy she found them at our local grocery store.  I remember looking at them, thinking they didn’t look that special.  I poked one, sure enough hard as a brick,  I thought Mom was crazy.  Why in the world would anyone want to eat a roll with a crust like that.  Surely it would break your teeth out.  Was I ever wrong.  Crusty on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside.  A true breakfast treat.  I never thought I would bake them myself.  I’m trying to branch out my kitchen skills.  I am finding that I do love to bake bread.  Good for my family, bad for my figure.

 These were so much fun to bake, even more fun to eat.  You will need two days to make this recipe so make sure you plan your time accordingly.

This recipe was e-mailed to me, so I do not know whom to give credit for it.  Whomever you are, thank you, simply delicious!


Note: you will need a spray bottle with water for this recipe.  This is what makes the crust crunchy.

Day 1: 

2 cups Bread Flour

1 1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp instant yeast

Day 2: 

5 1/2 cup bread flour

1 1/3 cup water (extra if needed)

1 tsp instant yeast

1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt


Mix all the Day 1 ingredients in a bowl until smooth and lump free

Cover loosely with plastic wrap

Leave on counter overnight (this makes the “sponge”)

Day 2:

Mix the sponge 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 barely sticks to the bowl

Sprinkle salt over the dough and mix for 4 minutes

The dough should be smooth but still tacky, adjust with water,  a teaspoon at a time,  or flour, a tablespoon at a time

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

Turn dough out on lightly floured work surface and cut into pieces the size of a small orange

Let dough rest for a few minutes then form into small balls or any other shape you like

Coat in flour and place on parchment paper about 2 inches apart

Cover with a damp cloth and let them rise for another hour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Place an old pan on the bottom rack

Lightly score  rolls with a serrated knife or blade

Place rolls on cookie sheet and place  in the oven on the next shelf above the pan

Pour 1 cup water into the old baking pan and close the door quickly

Spray sides of the oven with water 2 or 3 times in the first 5 minutes of baking

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Cool rolls on wire rack so that the bottom will not get soggy

Rolls should be eaten warm and crispy

Place in the fridge then re-crisp in the oven or toaster if you are not eating them the same day

They can even be frozen

I didn’t have a spray bottle so I used a basting brush and a cup of water to splash on the sides of the oven, it worked nicely.


About Hey Paw

I am a novice cook. I don't have a lot of experience but I come from a family full of wonderful cooks. Guess I got the recessive, non-chef gene. I thought it would be fun to post my trials and errors in a blog. Hopefully this will help others learn from my mistakes and I can get constructive advice from other cooks out there.

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