May 19, 2014

No. 3 // Mohnbrötchen aka milk bread rolls with poppy seeds

Growing up my favourite meals of the week by far were the Saturday and Sunday breakfasts. In Germany breakfast can quickly turn into a feast with cheese platters, ham and salami platters, all types of jam and chocolate spread, fresh orange juice, chocolate milk, coffee, tea, eggs and most important of them all fresh bread rolls. I love fresh bread rolls. The moment I woke up I would start thinking what bread roll I should order for my mum’s ride to the bakery.

My requests often varied, but the one roll that was always on my wish list was a sweet poppy seed bread roll (a sweet, yeasty brioche like bread covered in poppy seeds). It was a rare find, because usually the bakery offered poppy seeds on simple white bread. However, once every couple of weeks, they would change things up, turning my breakfast into a sweet and savoury taste sensation. Then I would slice the doughy bread roll open, cover both sides in butter (no margarine!) and top them with a thick slice of salami each.

When I gathered The Bread List, it was clear from the start that I would have to attempt making my very own sweet poppy seed bread rolls. There was only one major problem. Since they are so uncommon (especially these days with less individual bakeries) I couldn’t find a recipe.

Therefore I decided on a compromise. I opted for a sweet bread roll that I simply covered in poppy seeds. I found an easy recipe for milk bread rolls (via this post) that seemed perfect for my little experiment and altered it slightly to my needs (or should I say available ingredients).

Here is what went into my bread rolls: (and yes I actually weight everything)
250g semi-skimmed milk, lukewarm
30g fresh yeast
2tsp sugar
1tsp salt
50g butter, warm and soft
450g strong white bread flour
1 egg yolk
First I dissolved the yeast in parts of the lukewarm milk. Then I combined in a large metal bowl the flour, sugar, salt, the remaining milk and the yeast mixture and mixed it all together with my hands until the dough came off the bowl. I then sprinkled the butter over the dough and continued to mix it with my hands. I let the dough rest for around 5 minutes and then moved it to a lightly flour-dusted surface to knead it for 5minutes. When the dough was smooth and soft I moved it into another bowl covered it with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise for 30minutes. The recipe recommends placing it in the microwave during that time with the door open as the overhead light of the microwave creates just enough heat. The tip worked like a treat for me!

When I checked on the dough it had more than doubled in size. Next I started cutting off small pieces and weighed them (50-60g) to have roughly equally sized bread rolls. With hollow hands I formed small balls and placed them on the baking tray with the smooth side up to let them rest again for 15minutes. Then I cut a cross into the tops with a sharp knife, before I let them rest again, this time for a whole hour.
Just before the time was up I started to heat up the oven to 200degrees and mixed the egg yolk with some milk. After the resting time was over I brushed the rolls with the egg mixture and sprinkled them with poppy seeds. I tried not to sprinkle the seeds into the open cuts and brushed the excess off with a clean kitchen brush.

Then the bread rolls went into the oven for 15minutes. Just like the recipe recommends I opened the door after 2 minutes to sprits some water into the open oven. Once the rolls were golden brown I took them out and let them rest on a grid.

Obviously I had to have one sweet poppy seed bread roll first thing they came out of the oven. Guess what I put on it?
This was Number 3 of my 12 baking adventures on The Bread List, for more recipes and adventures from my kitchen, check in next Monday.


  1. where's the salami in the photo?? ;) you might have eaten the rolls too quickly.

  2. Oh yeah, that first bread roll never made it in front of the camera ;)