#16. The Kaiser Buns that killed the Kitchen-Aid.



I have been looking forward to making Kaiser Buns for quite a while now, ever since my Kaiser Roll Cutter arrived in the mail from King Arthur Flour last month. There’s something so old-fashioned and exiting about getting a package in the mail, even if I did send it to myself.  Usually there is a time lag of about a week between when I order it and when it comes, so I have forgotten all about it and still get that “Ooh, a package for me!” thrill. 

The kaiser buns are a two day affair, making a starter dough on day 1 and the final dough on day 2.  In this case the starter dough is a “Pâte Fermenté”, which is simply a mix of bread flour, all-purpose flour, salt, yeast and water.  This dough is left to ferment in the fridge overnight.  This slow overnight process creates certain enzymes that contribute to better flavour texture and colour in the final kaiser bun.  The next morning I took my Pâte Fermenté out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  Then I added it, along with the remaining dough ingredients (bread flour, salt, barley malt powder, yeast, egg, vegetable oil and water) to my Kitchen-Aid mixer and got to work.

I’m firmly convinced my Kitchen-Aid mixer read my mind.  As I started mixing the dough for the kaiser buns, I thought, “I really need to begin mixing my doughs by hand, to learn the feel of them better”.  Within about a minute of thinking this, my Kitchen-Aid took off at warp speed, then slowed down to a trot and then quit all together.  When I tried turning it on again, at low speed, it gasped, spun one or two revolutions and then shut down again.  It was dead.

Well as they say, “Be careful what you wish for!”  The kaiser dough came out of the mixer and hand kneading commenced.  After about 8 minutes I had a supple dough that was still tacky but not sticky.


The dough went into an oiled container and was set aside for the first rise, approximately 2 hours or until it doubles.  I think it must have been quite warm in my kitchen because after 90 minutes, I had this:


We had the option of making 6 larger buns or 9 smaller ones.  In a never ending (Losing) battle to consume less bread I decied to make 9 smaller rolls, figuring I’d never just eat half of a large roll, but maybe I could stop after just one whole small roll.  The dough was rolled into little balls and then covered to rest for 10 minutes.


Next it was time to make the kaisers using my new cutter.  I pulled it out of the drawer and looked at it carefully.  Then I looked at my balls of dough.  I quickly realized that the cutter would not work for small rolls.  It was too big and would not make a proper cut on my small buns.  So, onto Plan B, forming my buns into little knots.  The instructions and photos in the book were very easy to follow.  First roll out the dough into an 8 inch strand.


Next tie it into a simple knot.


Then, take one tail and bring it and bring it up and over the loop and tuck it into the center hole.


Then take the other tail and bring it under the roll and poke the tail up through the center hole.


The knots are then placed on a cornmeal coated, parchment lined baking sheet.


The knots are sprayed lightly with oil, covered with plastic wrap and left to rise for 45 minutes.  Then we are instructed to turn the rolls over and let rise for a further 45 minutes.  When I picked up one of the rolls, I noticed there was cornmeal on the underside.  I did not want the top of my buns to have cornmeal on them, so I ignored this suggestion and let them continue rising, without turning them over, for a further 45 minutes.

After the second 45 minute rising period, they had doubled in size.  I decided to egg wash them instead of spraying water on them as suggested in the book, as I wanted them to have a shiny finish.


Then I sprinkled them with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and a touch of kosher salt.


Into a 425 degree oven they went and were done after 14 minutes.


For bottom crust freaks, here is a shot of the underside.


For crumb freaks, here is a shot of the inside.


They were tender, a little sweet and the perfect sandwich roll.  For dinner that night we hade grilled salmon and chipotle mayo sandwiches.  Sorry, no picture as they got gobbled up too quickly!

24 thoughts on “#16. The Kaiser Buns that killed the Kitchen-Aid.

    1. saltandserenity

      Wow, 24 years old!! That’s amazing. I have heard that older models of KA mixers were made by Hobart and they have steel direct drive motors. Apparently the newer ones are made by Whirlpool with plastic motors, not built to last! I’m not sure what I will buy next.

  1. Mags

    RIP Kitchen Aid. (Should we send flowers?)

    Does this mean you’ll be getting a brand new one???

    Your kaisers turned out perfect! You didn’t need that silly kaiser stamp after all, did you. You’re a natural born knotter!

    1. saltandserenity

      Thanks Mags,
      I have an older KA mixer that I brought home from the cottage, so I’m using that for now but would love something really sturdy, meant for mixing dough. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Jenn @ Pete Eatemall

    I am so glad I read this. Finally working on rolls tomorrow. I have missed my KA dearly. I have been on the road so I am looking forward to my time with my KA…but by hand it will be! I cannot risk losing him….along with the bread my KA is an important part of my love affair with bread…maybe he is kinda like the pimp…lol! Your rolls look amazing and I will probably check back tomorrow to review all your hints! Happy Baking!

  3. Victoria

    Your knots are lovely. I also used the knotting method since I don’t have a kaiser roll cutter. Some turned out good, and some not so good, but yours are all nice and consistent. Bravo!

  4. Middle Seat Gourmet

    I just started reading your blog and you crack me up. Even though I have a KA that still works, I have more and more been kneading doughs by hand.

    I also wanted to comment about your last post about infidelity to Peter Reinhart. I’m not sure why he is so vehemently against degassing dough… when I was in culinary school we degassed and manhandled the heck out of everything, with the exception of ciabatta bread. I’m disappointed that he doesn’t mention that for sandwich loaves, you want to get as much gas out as possible otherwise you will have holes through which your mayo and mustard will leak. His methods are much different than what I learned in school and I am attempting to go through his book using his methods as much as possible… I’m sure I will have to stray at some point, however.

    Nice job on all of your breads. They look great.

  5. Norene Gilletz

    Your blog is wonderful and a delight to read. Your rolls are beautiful and your passion is inspiring. The next thing we’ll hear is that you’re opening your own bakery!

    I’ve heard rumors that if you contact Kitchen Aid, they might replace your mixer. It’s worth a try.

    Norene Gilletz, Cookbook Author

    1. saltandserenity

      Thanks Norene,
      I appreciate the feedback. Your banana bread, pareve chocolate cake and koko moko icing have been my go-to recipes for ages!
      Thanks for the tip about Kitchen Aid. I may just contact them. However I am very close to giving up on Kitchen Aids. I am tempted to buy a mini Hobart!

  6. Janice

    Your rolls turned out beautifully browned! Unfortunately, I only thought of brushing mine with eggs whites after mine turned out so pale. But I’ll probably make these again, anyway, because we loved them. (My KA is also at least 20 years old and I’m always terrified it’s going to break. It’s a true workhorse. It even survived falling on the tile floor once – from the countertop – and never even needed to be repaired!)

  7. Daniel

    Wow! Your rolls look great! They make me almost want to re-do mine, but I was really underwhelmed by them.

    As you know, I actually have a DLX, and I find it great for bread. I know it is more expensive- Which is ironic because over here it was cheaper than a Kitchen-Aid. The thing is great for bread, but not as good as a KA for cakes and such. Or so I’ve heard. I haven’t tried making a cake in it… yet.

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  10. mary

    Good luck with Kitchenaid.

    My mixer died last winter on a Julia Child bread recipe. I should have known better when she put the flour in first. Too heavy for my poor machine.

    But the repurchasing experience was a fiasco. I bought a beautiful new artisan (to fit below my cupboards) and it made it through three recipes before it just shut down making cookies. So I took it back to the store and they replaced it (being only 2 weeks later). I brought it home and went to take it out of the box and it came out in 2 pieces! It was missing a hinge pin! So back to the store for a third machine.

    Several months and dozens of loaves later it is still OK, but it does get to sound a bit too whiny when I have a thicker dough. You would think that Kitchenaid would not compromise on the quality of the machine that literally symbolizes their company. But that is how it is.

    Good luck.

    1. saltandserenity

      Wow, you did have some bad luck with your! Sorry to hear it. My “new” kitchen aid is now 3 years old! (This post was originally written Sept 2009) It has behaved perfectly. The key is to never take it past spped #2 when making bread.

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