There’s nothing quite like the yeasty goodness of fresh, hot bread, right? This Sesame Roll recipe is pretty easy (the stand mixer does most the work!) and bakes up hot, firm rolls perfect for anything from your barbecue (bratwurst, I am looking at you).
Whenever people find out what I do for a living, I am asked a lot of questions. It’s natural since saying that “I’m a freelance writer and recipe developer,” isn’t as clear cut as saying “I’m a lawyer.” People know what the latter profession is, but aren’t quite sure what to make of mine — especially since I write about food, travel, parenting and whatever else I feel like. I get it. It’s different.
And among the questions I am frequently asked is whether I cook or bake. I always answer that I cook and am not much of a baker. But that’s not entirely true. I do bake, but it’s such a science that I don’t find the same enjoyment in it that I do when I create a delicious new dinner recipe. Still, sometimes, I just feel like baking.
Today is one of those times. I just wanted to bake, feeling the stickiness of dough that’s ready to rise and breathing in the aroma of freshly baked bread. There is something deeply satisfying about combining active dry yeast with warm water and sugar and watching it foam and bubble. And then taking that mixture and stirring it into flour, salt and oil to make a messy concoction that needs to be kneaded (by the mixer, naturally!) to create a sticky, doughy ball that will rise, get punched down, be shaped and then rise again before baking to golden, crusty goodness.
This Sesame Roll recipe is adapted from the focaccia recipe I have made again and again and again over the last eight years or so. That’s my go-to for creating everything from traditional focaccia to rolls. It’s even good for homemade pretzels — if you are so inclined. For this recipe, I’ve changed up the method and the ingredients. I have also changed the shape of the loaves it produces, changed the glaze and added toasted sesame seeds (natch). But since it comes from a tried and true recipe, I know that it will produce a strong bread perfect for holding sausages just off the grill. You can’t use wimpy breads for that — something strong is just necessary.
Besides the joy of turning a few ingredients into a crusty bread, I also love that when I make my own rolls they always are just the right size for what I am making. I mean, really, is there anything good about having a roll that is either way too long or way too short? Nah, I didn’t think so.
These rolls? I made them to hold some delicious bratwurst that I picked up at Whole Foods awhile back and froze. I grilled the brats and then piled them high with sauerkraut (and mustard, if you like — but I don’t do mustard). They were the perfect vessel for my favorite wurst (aka sausage). Everybody loved them, and the super fresh bread really made the meal.
No, baking isn’t an everyday thing for me. But when I feel like it, these rolls are totally worth whipping up.
What’s your favorite type of sausage?
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- ¼ tsp granulated sugar
- 2½ cups bread flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Toasted sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, add the water, yeast and sugar and let sit until foamy (3-5 minutes). Stir.
- In a larger bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add the oil and yeast mixture and stir until just barely combined. The dough should be crumbly. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Process on low for 7 minutes, allowing the stand mixer to knead the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour.
- Punch dough the dough and knead for 1 minute. Divide into four balls. Roll each ball into a long rod and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft- free place. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the towel and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Cool. Then slice open and use as desired.