There’s nothing like a classic German brotchen to warm your heart.
When I was a little girl, I used to periodically go spend time at my grandparents’ for weekends. I have such great memories from those little vacations in southern Wisconsin.
First, my grandfather would tell his stories about “Little Ollie.” Little Ollie was a character my grandfather made up and he would come up with all sorts of crazy adventures and tales about him. I can’t remember the stories any more, but I do remember being enthralled by them. I just loved listening to Grandpa tell stories – whether they were of little Ollie, or from his youth. Some times on those stays in Lake Geneva, I would accompany my grandpa to go searching for lost golf balls. Grandpa was an avid golfer – even had a practice green built in his front yard – and we would walk around the perimeter fence searching for all of those balls that golfers had sliced right off the fairway. Grandpa would take all of those treasured balls and sell them to the golf course, which they used as shag balls.
Something else that happened now and again, was a trip to the A&W where Grandpa would treat me to a root beer float. Those floats always tasted so much better than the ones made at home in the Tupperware glasses.
And another thing that I could always count on when I went to Grandma & Grandpa’s was there would always be a bag of “hard rolls” for me to devour. There in Lake Geneva there was a traditional German bakery and they of course sold the German staple – brotchen. I called them hard rolls as a kid because they had a nice chew to them. I remember many a morning grabbing one of those rolls, cutting a hole in it with a knife, and then cramming a ton of butter down inside. I would just sit there watching the Bozo show and munching away. Or I might run out the door with a roll in one hand and my make shift bow & arrow in the other. Grandma & Grandpa always let me be about as adventurous as I wanted to be. And Grandma Dahl? Well, she had the patience of a saint. One year I discovered my uncle’s trumpet, and buddy I ran around the house blowing that thing as hard as I could, for hours!
One of my greatest memories with Grandma though, was sitting beside her on the piano bench while she played – and she could play well. She had both an organ and a piano. She would let me plunk away on those things all day long too – and that I did. The great thing about the piano though, was that it was a player piano. You opened a little door on the bottom and pedals came out. On top, there were doors as well, and inside you placed different scrolls. The scroll would roll on the dowels and as you pedaled, the piano would begin to play which ever song’s scrolls you had placed in there. It was so much fun, and man did I burn a gazillion calories doing that! Grandma knew what she was doing there.
I miss Grandma & Grandpa dearly – they’re both gone – have been for years. This is one of my favorite photos of them. It was Christmas 1994 and they gave Jennifer a set of play dishes. She played with them throughout her childhood.
When we moved to Germany, I again was able to enjoy brotchen – and boy was I ever! You can even buy brotchen with little bratwurst or bacon and cheese baked right inside of them! I was in heaven. Any time I have brotchen, I am reminded of Grandma & Grandpa Dahl though. Since the Sunday Supper team is honoring Grandparents for Grandparents Day today I thought that brotchen would be the perfect recipe to share.
But first, I can’t go on to the recipe without sharing a photo of my other pair of grandparents – Grandma & Poppy Engels. “Grandma E” had the best kitchen, and some day when we buy our own house, I will have a black & white checkered tile floor just like the one she had in her kitchen.
On to the brotchen…
To begin, in a mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of fine salt. Stir them together and make a well in the center.
In a small dish, stir together 2 tablespoons of warm water, 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
Pour the mixture into the well in your flour, but to not mix it in. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
When you yeast has proofed, it will be bubbly.
Pour in 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water.
Add in a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir this all together to combine.
Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed to keep from sticking while you knead.
Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and turn the dough over to coat it. Cover the bowl with a clothe and let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 12 pieces. Form those portions into balls and place them on a greased & floured baking sheet, or one lined with a silpat.
Let the rolls rise, covered in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a small dish, whisk together one egg white and a teaspoon of water until frothy.
Brush the egg wash onto the rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
- 2½ - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 2½ tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 c warm water, divided
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp water
- To begin, in a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and salt. Stir them together and make a well in the center.
- In a small dish, stir together 2 tablespoons of warm water, the yeast and sugar.
- Pour the mixture into the well in your flour, but to not mix it in. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- When you yeast has proofed, it will be bubbly.
- Pour in ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water.
- Add in the extra virgin olive oil. Stir this all together to combine.
- Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed to keep from sticking while you knead.
- Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and turn the dough over to coat it. Cover the bowl with a clothe and let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down and divide it into 12 pieces. Form those portions into balls and place them on a greased & floured baking sheet, or one lined with a silpat.
- Let the rolls rise, covered in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a small dish, whisk together the egg white and a teaspoon of water until frothy.
- Brush the egg wash onto the rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Check out all of this week’s recipes as the Sunday Supper contributors honor their own grandparents:
Sweets that are the Sweetest
- Buttermilk Pie by Feeding Big and more
- Chocolate Chip Banana Cake by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Covered Cashews by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- German Applesauce by Magnolia Days
- Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie by The Freshman Cook
- Grandmas Raisin Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Homemade Brotchen by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Irish Brack (fruit loaf) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Laura’s Old-Fashioned Prune Cake by Palatable Pastime
- Nana’s Million Dollar Cake by The Crumby Cupcake
- Nanny’s Tea Cakes by Whole Food | Real Families
- Nanny’s Raisin Filled Cookies by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pop Pop’s Peanut Butter Fudge by Runner’s Tales
- Pumpkin-filled Cream Puffs by Brunch with Joy
- Summer Peach Cake by Pies and Plots
- White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake by The Redhead Baker
Savory Meals with Special Memories
- Busia’s Barbecue Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Gram’s Cajun Rice Dressing by Food Lust People Love
- Grandma’s Greek Salad by FamFriendsFood
- Grandma’s Polish Meatballs by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Grannies Clam Dip by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Individual Breakfast Fritattas with Vegetables by Delaware Girl Eats
- Nunney’s Super Mac N Cheese by Momma’s Meals
- Portuguese Stove Top Pork Roast by Family Foodie
- Potatoes Stroganoff by Cookin’ Mimi
- Shepherd’s Pie Quebec Style (Pate Chinois) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Taco Pie by Food Done Light
- The Best Boiled Peanuts by 30A Eats
5 Tips for Preserving Family Recipes and a Grandparents Day Tribute by Sunday Supper
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.