The second Milwaukee Hard Rolls has the precise inside we remember. Light and airy, yet with a “chew”, and that very, very slight, sour taste we remember. And this recipe uses hardly any yeast.
This is a terrific roll, yet the crust that isn’t quite right. Do not remember the split top, but it is hard and stays hard. But not as flaky. Perhaps it is the egg wash. Also, the recipe directions result in rolls that are smaller than traditional Milwaukee Hard Rolls. So, if one wants the traditional Milwaukee Hard Roll, just double the size of the roll to make 8-10 rolls instead of 12, and replace the egg white wash with the a starch wash, as in the previous recipe. Make it plain, as directed, or add sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Oh, and be sure to use high protein bread flour!
Anyway, the recipe is the Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls, with great instruction and pictures from PJ Hamel and King Arthur flour on the post “Flourish” at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/03/08/they-once-were-lost-but-now-theyre-found-crusty-hard-rolls/. Here it is, repeated, but please visit her page, as she take you step by step, with pictures!
Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls
Makes 12 small rolls.
½ c. cool water
1 c. King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp. instant yeast
all of the starter
3 ½ c. King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 c. lukewarm water
1½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 lg. egg white mixed with 1-2 tbsp. cool water
1) To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients together until smooth, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
2) Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them together, by hand, mixer or bread machine. Knead until you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. It may also stick to the bowl just the tiniest bit.
3) Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 3 hrs., gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hr., and again after 2 hrs.
4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into 12 pieces, shape the pieces into balls, and firm them up by rolling them under your lightly cupped fingers.
5) Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them, and let them rise for 1 to 2 hrs., until they’re puffy, though not doubled in size. They’ll flatten out a bit as they rise; that’s OK.
6) Cover the rolls, and refrigerate them for 2 to 3 hrs. Towards the end of the rolls’ chill, preheat the oven to 425°F.
7) Whisk together the egg white and water until frothy. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator, and brush them with the wash; you won’t use it all up. Again, don’t be discouraged if the rolls seem a bit flat; they’ll pick up when the hit the oven’s heat.
8) Slash a ¼” deep cut across the top of each roll. Immediately put the rolls into the oven.
9) Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 min., until they’re a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. Or, for best crunch, open the oven door, and allow the rolls to cool in the turned-off, open-door oven.