Friday, December 28, 2012

The Secret to Making Crisp Hard Rolls (Recipe Included)

What is the one question I get asked all the time?

"Klecko, why is the bread so much better in Europe?"

Well.....first off, maybe because you are in Europe.

Funny how geographical framing can influence the palate.

But another factor that contributes to this (in America at least) is the demise of the neighborhood, or retail bakery.

All to often people will ask me to make their concept a real crunchy bread, a rustic baguette, a real gum bleeder.

But in wholesale concepts, this form of bread making is financial suicide.

French breads, lean doughs or crusty bread has to be made in a bakery and placed into the hands of the consumer (who in turn is required to place the purchased product on a plate, and then into their mouth within hours), otherwise the bread will break down and become leather like.

I had this cat from King Arthur Flour come out to the bakery several years back, and he did a workshop on making the perfect French baguette and/or crispy hard roll.

Bakers from across the midwest attended and the guy running the class started off by making us watch a slide show of different hard roll concepts applied in different Euro bake shops.

Usually, I HATE slide shows or power point presentations, but this guy was solid.

Afterwords the guy mixed some doughs and talked about equipment, scoring, heat source(s), direct VS indirect heat and then we got to baking.

To cut to the quick, the product this guy made was Christ like.

All of us fell to our knees and worshipped the complex flavor that this genius could pull out of so few ingredients.

Then everybody smiled, left, I cleaned up...and then I vultured some of the left overs and brought them home to Sue McGleno.

"Father-Son & Polish Christ" I declared.....

"Where is my Jewish bride?" I called out.

And when Sue McGleno entered the room, I handed her a baguette as if it were the scepter to Camelot.

But as I extended my arm...........

The baguette couldn't hold its own weight and began to droop slowly to the floor.

Sue McGleno tore a chunk off (i.e. rat holed it) and proceeded to critique it.

"Ewwwwww" she remarked "When did you make this?"

Her implication denoted that the bread was old and possibly on the verge of molding, when in was pulled out of the oven 4 or 5 hours prior.

You can tell me your take on this topic, and you can feel free to disagree, but the Last American Baker really thinks the Hard-Crispy Rolls is best made at home just prior to serving.

Heres your recipe.......................








Mix your dough to until it picks up and is developed. (80 degrees F)

Place it in a lightly greased container and let it sit tell it doubles - punch it

And when it doubles again...scale it into rolls.

I like 1 1/2 ounce rolls, but it's not my dream, its your dream.

After panning them up, place in a preheated oven between (400-425 F)

I know a lot of you guys do your little dipsy-do Jimmy-rigged steaming, what is it...pan full of water or mist bottles....I can't help you there (Klecko snickers since he doesn't have to jerk with that since he has steam injection) but in all seriousness.....if you do have a preferred method, please leave it in this Blog post (not the Facebook application) so everybody else can benefit from your expertise.

We are coming close to New Years Eve ya'll.........

Lets make sure to take time to evaluate our heart-soul and whats in the oven.

Gangsta Love



  1. Fortunately you can always re-crisp those softened bread by misting them with water and baking them at 375 F for 5 - 10 minutes, or until crisp enough. If you can't spray them, you can just hold them under the faucet to make them wet - works just fine.

    1. If hanseata says its so......its so. Thanks hanseata!!!!!

  2. Fresh bread is definitely something I miss after moving here. It's typical to buy fresh bread on a daily basis over there, while over here, you buy to stock your pantry, etc so you don't have to run to the store every day (who has the time, we're all so busy). Thanks for including this recipe. I'll have to give it a try (but make fewer rolls though). Mr Klecko and family, I wish you all a very happy New Year. May it be filled with good company, great food and the best of health!!! :o)

    1. Thank you so much for the well wishes Hanaa. By the way, I would put that dot over the second "a"...but I don't know how. On another note, I actually do go to the grocery store (Korte's - a small independant, located in my neighborhood)every single day. It's a pricey store, but I still save money because I buy what I am going to eat, and there isn't extra. Then once a month we go to a bigger grocery to stock up on Tide-Paper Towels...etc.

      Talk to you next year Hanaa!!!!!!

  3. Living in NE moving north from NY it is very rare to find good bread like hard rolls. Most have no idea what a egg on a roll or a buttered rolls taste like. Very few things I miss from NY but bread is 1. 2. is italian food. I will leave that one alone. Best I have found is Scali bread from Fantini. I buy 10 loaves and freeze them.