Hard Rolls, Milwaukee Style #1

photo 5The first Milwaukee Hard Rolls recipe is exactly as we remember! It has that great dry crusty top and the cornmeal bottoms we love, and comes from Gordon King a Milwaukee baker who ran Wilbert’s baker, which closed back in 1993. Note: It requires high protein bread flour and a little more yeast.  And, while the directions make the tops of these rolls plain, feel free to top rolls with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

An article, with his recipe for hard rolls appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is preserved here: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=20050511&id=VS4zAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dggGAAAAIBAJ&pg=6793,3364570

Wilbert’s Bakery/Gordon and Barbara King’s Authentic German Hard Rolls
Makes about 2 dozen rolls
Sponge: 3 tbsp. active dry yeast (4 packets)
2 3/4 c. lukewarm water
3 tbsp. sugar

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Bernice Zurawski’s Bread

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 1.27.54 PM Here is my Polish grandmother’s signature bread, and no one in the family, no one, had the recipe. She was an elegant lady who also was a fabulous cook, including dishes such as tender venison steak and walnut-stuffed turkey.  But she made this always round, hard crust bread almost daily, sometimes adding raisins and topping with sugar. This bread was treasured, especially at my mother’s swanky Christmas parties. And, one summer, a grandson entered her bread at the Wisconsin State Fair, where it promptly won a blue ribbon.

My grandmother never used a recipe for her bread, of course, and would gently laugh while raising her shoulders when we asked how to make it. But we could watch.

This “close-as-we-can-get” recipe comes through my uncle and aunt. He was the second youngest of her nine children, and saw her make bread countless times. I’m so grateful, for as I follow it, grandma comes to life, there in her small kitchen, brewing strong black coffee as she scalds the milk with butter and sugar, then softens yeast for her bread.  Then she stops, turns, and in her wonderful Polish accent, asks me to “wait a minute,” as she pulls ginger cookies down from the pantry for me before turning back to her bread.

Bernice Zurawski’s Bread
Ingredients
½ lb. butter, and more to generously grease the bread rising bowl and bread pan
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Old Milwaukee Rye Bread, 1965 blue-ribbon recipe

This lighter Milwaukee rye bread took the blue ribbon in 1965 at the 118th Ozaukee County, Wisconsin Fair. Ozaukee County stretches a length along Lake Michigan, from Mequon to Port Washington.  At that time it was very much rural farming area, that even boasted a few hexagon-shaped barns. Port Washington was a strong Great Lake fishing hub, and its southern reaches, towns like Mequon and Thiensville, were just transitioning into suburbs.

The rye bread recipe calls for a 2-3 day development of “the SOUR,” uses soft lard and the

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Dark Rye Bread (SCHWARZBROT)

In Milwaukee, Rye Bread is a luscious dark, almost black bread and is fabulous. No other bread can be served along a hearty borscht or top corn beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese! This recipe comes from Austria and was published by Citidel Press in 1965 in William I. Kaufman’s The Catholic Cook Book, Traditional Feast and Fast Days.  This Dark Rye was prepared for days of fast, in Lent.

Dark Rye Bread
1 loaf

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