authentic German Rolls

It really took me a while to find this recipe for original German rolls, which turned out perfectly every single time.I made a lot of attempts to bake rolls but failed for a long time to get the real German taste. I searched for the right recipe in my books, on websites, and Pinterest but finally found a video that showed how it’s done. And though I had expected it to be difficult, it turned out to be pretty easy if you know how and if you have the one crucial ingredient that adds that fantastic taste.

How to bake German Rolls

Malt

There are a lot of different rolls (= Brötchen) in Germany and as many recipes to bake them. The most common roll in the north of Germany though is the Berliner Schrippe. It has an oval shape and a long crevice on the top but most important, it has a very special taste that I couldn’t describe or name until now. The ingredient that gives that taste is MALT. There are different kinds of malt you can use and in the video I watched, the baker used “Caro Kaffee” which is a German coffee-like powder made from malted grains. I instead ordered Barley Malt Powder at Amazon which worked perfectly!

The malt has 3 functions:

  1. It adds a delicious taste.
  2. It adds some color (the more you use, the darker the rolls).
  3. It boosts the yeast.

So, if you don’t have malt I definitely recommend getting some before you try this recipe.

German Rolls

Timing

The thing that gave me the most headache about making rolls was when to start. Most of the recipes I read had long waiting times and since we mostly enjoy rolls for breakfast, it would have required to get up at 4 am to have the rolls in the morning. No way!

Now, here is the solution for this recipe. First of all: From start to having the cooled rolls ready to eat, one needs roughly 2 hours (including the proofing and baking time). That is not too bad and if you want to have the rolls for dinner this is absolutely reasonable. However, if you want them in the morning, you simply prepare them to the point where they should rise one last time before they go into the oven. Instead of letting them rise in the kitchen at room temperature, you cover them with a damp towel and put them into your fridge overnight. In the morning you take them out and let them get to room temperature (about 45 – 60 minutes while you preheat the oven, take a shower, sip a coffee) and then bake them.

Confused? Here is a cheat sheet that will help you: Timeline for baking German Rolls

authentic German Rolls

This yeast dough is different

In the past I thought it is a given that you use warm water with the yeast and the order of the ingredients is first the flour, then the water, then the yeast … forget all that for this recipe! It really starts with the water and the yeast. It is important that the flour comes next, so the salt won’t touch the yeast mix at that point. Salt is the natural enemy of yeast so never let them get in direct contact.

Kneading the dough

I am very fortunate to have a KitchenAid machine that does the kneading for me. But I am very well aware that not everybody has enough space or the budget for this. If you knead with a hand mixer, you should know that your mixing time might be significantly longer than with the machine (and you might have to switch to hand kneading after a while). Same if you knead completely by hand. I’ll show in the video how you will know when your dough is ready. For baking bread and rolls, a long kneading time is important to get the gluten to react.

Gluten forms when water is added to flour and is mixed. During mixing, a continuous network of protein forms, giving the dough its strength and elasticity. By holding gas produced during fermentation, the protein network allows bread to rise.

www.grainscanada.gc.ca

The Temperature, Oven and more

  1. You can use your regular oven for baking the rolls. Start with a high temperature of 475°F when preheating the oven. Please preheat the oven for a long period of time, so the walls of the oven are really hot. I recommend getting an old baking pan from the thrift store, filling it with clean rocks (about fist size) and putting this on the lowest oven rack.

When the German rolls are just in the oven, you spray or pour about 50 ml (1/4 cup) of water onto the stones and quickly close the oven. Now, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F. Don’t open the oven before the rolls are almost done. The humidity in the oven will keep your rolls moist for a longer time, meaning they will not dry out during the baking process. At about 2-3 minutes before the rolls are done, you open the oven door and let the steam escape. This gives the rolls a nice crisp outside – just as we like it in Germany.

Increasing the taste of the German rolls

In my video, you will learn how to make the rolls within like 1.5 hours and they will taste very good. However, if you want to increase that taste, it needs more time.
There are in general two ways of proofing a yeast dough: a) Letting it proof fast at warm temperature or b) letting it proof slowly at a low temperature. The long, cold proofing will always result in an increased taste since there is more time for the chemical reactions.

So if you want to have the rolls in the evening, you might want to start the dough in the morning or if you want to eat them in the morning, make the dough in the evening and bake it in the morning.

authentic German Rolls

Authentic German Rolls - Berliner Schrippen

Barbara
Please read the article to learn the important details for successfully bake these German rolls. From start to eating the rolls you should plan 2 hours unless you want to proof the rolls in the fridge overnight.
4.74 from 26 votes
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Snack
Cuisine German, Schleswig-Holstein / North
Servings 10 rolls

Ingredients
 
 

  • 300 ml (=g) water
  • 2 packages dry yeast (15g)
  • 500 g flour
  • 8 g salt
  • 4 g malt (I used a little more, like 1.5 teespoon)
  • 1 pinch sugar

Instructions
 

  • Put about half of the water into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the yeast to the water.
  • Use a whisker to whisk the yeast with the water until it is completely dissolved.
  • Now first add the flour, next the salt, malt and sugar.
  • Add a little more of the water (but not all) and start mixing.
  • Check your dough: Is it too dry, add a little more water, is it just right, keep kneading. Make sure you add the water little by littel until the dough has the right consistency.
  • Knead the dough in the machine for another 12 minutes, knead by handmixeer or by hand for about 20 minutes.
  • I you used a machine: Give it one more knead by hand.
  • Dust the dough with a little flour on the top and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Let it rest rest for 10 minutes.
  • Weigh your dough, it will be about 830 g. Devide by 10 (like 83) and make 10 portions of dough with this weight.
  • Take one portion and with a hollow hand, circle it on the counter until a round shape is created. Tepeat with all dough portions.
  • Let rest under a flour dusted towel for 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Take each roll and press it down with a flat hand to create a flat, round shape. Flip one half over to the other half (creating half a circle). Roll to slightly close the seam (but not completely) and to make a football kind of shape.
  • With the seam down, put each roll on a flour dusted towel, dust slightly with flour and cover with another towel.
  • Fill an old baking pan with stones and put it on the lowest rack in your oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 475°F, let the stones get really to that temperature while you work on the dough and rolls.
  • Let the rolls rest
    a) If you want to bake them soon, let them rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes)
    b) If you want to bake them several hours later, let them rest in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Let them get to room temperature again before you continue.
  • Put each roll with the seam upside on a baking sheet.
  • Put in the oven on the middle rack. Pour or spray 1/4 cup of water onto the stones and immediately close the oven.
  • Reduce the heat to 425°F and keep the oven closed for about 18 minutes.
  • When the rolls are almost done (about 18 minutes), open the oven and release the steam. Then close the oven door and bake for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool before you eat them.

Notes

Brötchen
German Rolls Buns

What to do with leftover rolls

If you bake more German rolls than you can eat, there are some options to eat them later, despite the fact that they will dry out very fast.
Option 1: Put them into a plastic bag. The next day you give the rolls a very short rinse - just enough to make them a little wet - and then put them either on top of the toaster (turn, don't burn!) or into the pre-heated oven to quickly bake them until crisp again. They won't taste like fresh but still be good.
Option 2: Freeze them. When you want to eat them, put the frozen rolls into the oven, then heat the oven to 350°F and when the temperature is reached, let the rolls bake for another 2 or 3 minutes. They should be almost like fresh rolls.
Alternative: Make Dumplings from Rolls!
 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About The Author

84 thoughts on “Authentic German Rolls – Berliner Schrippen”

  1. 5 stars
    I have not tried this recipe yet. I will give a5 star here for video and clarity of instructions. I tried a different brotchen recipe and was not happy without come. This video explained all the things I needed to do differently for success. I have not been able to find fresh yeast cake in the US, except on amazon and you have to buy a very large amount. Do you have a suggestion for where to find fresh yeast cake? Thank you

    1. Hi Lori,
      fresh yeast is unfortunately almost impossible to get here in the US. I had a source here in Houston but they don’t sell it to me anymore. You could try to go to a traditional bakery and ask if they have it and would sell it in smaller amounts to you. I, too, am not happy with the dry yeast. It tastes different and the outcome is often less fluffy than with fresh yeast.

  2. Just made it today, taste very good but the bread In side was very heavy, and during the needeing process mine was on dry side. I did add a bit more water but wasn’t wanting to moist , but was still dry, thank you also made the german nurenberg brots very good

    1. Hi Christie,
      flours can be different and if you feel like the dough is to heavy and dry, add a little water, that’s ok.

  3. So, can you put the dough in the fridge over night and bake them fresh in the morning! If so does the dough need to be room temperature before baking?? Amazing recipe!!!

    1. I have tried that several times but was never happy with the result. It might be better to bake the rolls to about 2/3 and then freeze them. Later finish the baking right before serving. You might want to try that.

  4. 5 stars
    I lived in Germany, many years ago, as a preteen and teen. I remember delicious, “Brotchen”. This recipe makes the rolls exactly with the right texture and look that I remember. The smell is identical to what I remember. The video was a huge help, as I would never have understood the shaping process without it. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

  5. 4 stars
    I just complete my 3rd attempt to make what I find when visiting my daughter in Bavaria. The first two batches were OK, but denser than I remembered. I can do better. Travis made a comment (October 2020) about less gluten and more water. I thought he was a tad crazy at first, until I recalled some other breads I make that do rise amazingly and they are “wet” doughs. Travis was absolutely correct.

    For this third batch I modified your dough preparation. #1, dump the KitchenAid, it is not needed (no pun intended). Two of my other breads do not use it and have little, if any, kneading. Instead mix the dough by hand using 440 instead of 500 grams flour (use AP). Mixup all the ingredients (I use 2 teaspoons malt powder) until all are combined and it starts to stick to the edge of the bowl. Cover and let it sit for 40 minutes. Turn onto a floured surface and with hands lightly floured, spread the dough to an 9″ square. Take one edge and fold it just to the middle. Rotate 90° and repeat. Repeats 2 more times and with the last fold, bring the new edge on top of the opposite side. Return to the bowl and allow to sit 15 minutes. Repeat the folding 2 more times. Five minutes after the last fold, partition out the dough, 76 gram pieces work well. The dough is VERY sticky on the fingers but that is correct. Set each piece onto a lightly floured surface until all are cut. I rolled each piece into a ball and set onto a parchment covered cooking sheet and let rise. I did not cover. When risen, score and set into the HOT (450+) oven, add the water ( I prefer 1/3 cup) and turn down to desired temp. I think 400°f may be the best cooking temp for my oven, but I am working on this. Be sure to bake until golden brown, then open the door to let steam escape and close door for 2 minutes. They rose wonderfully. Puffed up would be a good description.

    I had 2 pieces of dough that would not fit on the cookie sheet so they were baked after the first were done. While the first ones baked, I used your method of flattening the ball, folding, and rolling them up. I did not like how they were spreading a little so I folded them again, seam side down on the parchment, and just before baking I sliced the top for expansion. These last 2 Berliner Schrippen came out better than either of the first two attempts. My wife and I are used to round brӧchen (Semmel) so this was my shape of choice.
    For dinner tonight we had the traditional meal we eat at my daughter’s house in Bavaria. Cheese and cold cuts on a brӧchen. I did not have any pretzels :-( nor meat spreads. The brӧchen was very good.

  6. 4 stars
    I have made these rolls several times, and the flavor is very good. However, I have a vented gas oven which does not hold the steam, so I don’t get the right texture. Any ideas?

    1. Maybe add enough water in a bowl in the oven to make sure it is enough throughout the baking process? I hope it helps.

    2. 4 stars
      Hey Jane
      Yes, far more effective for keeping steam in the oven with lava rocks is to use some sort of a cloche arrangement.
      A big flat tray to put your dough (shaped as rolls onto. and then place an upturned roasting tin over the top works well. The better the seal the better it will work. so try to avoid gaps.
      Commercial versions can be bought too. For regular bread baking the Challenger Pan is hard to beat, but its pricey.
      A large flat bottomed casserole with a lid works well. make sure it’s heat proof lid. Cheap enamelled metal ones are great.
      Good luck.

  7. I find when I let the rolls rise slowly in the refrigerator they tend to dry out on top. Should I be covering them with plastic wrap before putting them in the refrigerator? Thank you for this great recipe, BTW! My husband and I have travelled a good bit in Germany and always miss the wonderful German bread when we come home to the U.S. Not any more!

  8. Dying to bake this! How many grams of instant dry yeast is required? Recipe states one package, not sure what this comes up to. I’m based in Germany, by the way! :)

      1. How much malt do I use. I have the barley malt ?
        I grew up in Germany Air Force dad. I have been wanting to make these for many years now but could never find a recipe. I would love to make them for my family. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

      2. Just tried to this recipe – not enough yeast! Recipe in print calls for one packet (7g) of yeast, but the video calls for 15 grams. So if you are using packets, use 2 !! Rolls turned out ok, but did not rise properly due to only using one packet

        1. Sorry about that, though I baked with this printed recipe several times lately and had no problems and didn’t notice. But I will adjust the recipe so there is no discrepancy between the video and recipe. Thanks for pointing it out.

  9. 5 stars
    Ciao from Sicily Italy! We are Americans, and having traveled many times before COVID to Germany as well Netherlands to see family I wanted to learn how to make bröchen to make us less homesick. I found your website, watched your video several times to make sure I understood the process. I’ve made them 4 times, and each time it takes us back to Germany. I do you bread flour. I follow your advice on the water and each time I’ve had a bit left over. Grazie Mille on sharing your recipes!

    1. Wonderful! If you cut the leftover into little squares and let them dry entirely, you can turn them into bread crumbs in a food processor. I use that for our Schnitzel :-)

  10. 5 stars
    Hi Barbara,
    Just wanted to leave a message to say that I am so happy I found your blog! We live in London. I am Chinese and my husband is German. My husband often misses German bread (and of course German food too!) I’ve already tried the 100% Rye bread, Rye bread German bakery version and this Broetschen recipes. Both rye breads were very successful and my husband absolutely loved them. The Broetschen was not so good but that’s my fault because I left it too long before I put the dough into the oven as I had to deal with something else in the middle of baking! I will for sure try it again soon.
    Please keep posting nice recipes and I look forward to them!
    Warm regards from England,
    Vivienne

    1. Hi Vivienne,
      well, I guess my next recipe will make your husband very happy since it is another German bread recipe :-) publishing is on Saturday. I hope you like the bread, too!
      Greetings to London,
      Barbara

  11. JiaRose Neuenkirchen

    Ich habe das Rezept noch nicht probiert, aber würde gerne wissen welches Mehl du benutzt. 405? 550? 1050? Ist es ein Amerikanisches mehl? Danke!
    Die Brötchen sehen sehr lecker aus! Genau wie beim Bäcker aber natürlich ein bisschen kleiner.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top