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German Broetchen

by Jessica

Brötchen or Semmel are a german roll almost the consistency of french bread with a crispy hard outside and a soft fluffy inside. As I grew up, we got them as a treat every once in a while, and they com in a variety of types. But below is just the most basic version of this recipe.

My favorite type are with the poppy seeds on them which is easily done, just sprinkle them with whatever toppings you want after the egg wash before you bake them.

Brötchen Rolls
1 package of active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/ 45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup bread flour (for if the dough looks too sticky)

Egg Wash right before baking:
1 egg white
1 tbsp. water

Making without a bread machine:
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk. Cover and let set in a warm place for 15 mins. or until the yeast is creamy.

Place 2 1/2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast/milk mixture. Pour in the oil and stir until the flour is combined and a loose dough has formed, then add the salt to it. Knead it all together for a minute or two inside the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour as in necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and form into oval rolls. Place the rolls on a baking stone which works best or a cookie sheet and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat together egg white with 1 tsp. water until foamy. Brush the risen rolls with the egg wash and bake in preheated over fro 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

With a Bread Machine:

Always start with the liquid ingredients first: add the Milk and Oil. If you are using a bread machine, then you don’t need to heat the milk because the bread machine does that for you. Then add the Yeast, it is important that the yeast and the salt don’t touch because that will kill the yeast and your stuff won’t rise. Then add the sugar which feeds the yeast and then the flour and then the salt last, I then select the dough cycle on my bread machine. If it is kneading and seems to be too sticky you can always add more flour.  After an hour and a half, take out the dough and follow these instructions.

I tend to make mine with a bread machine because it gives me a lot more flexibility.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and form into oval rolls. Place the rolls on a baking stone which works best or a cookie sheet and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes, but don’t cover with anything. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat together egg white with 1 tsp. water until foamy. Brush the risen rolls with the egg wash and bake in preheated over fro 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Place a tray of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven to create a nice steam in the oven, and only cook these on the bottom rack. Follow this method and it will be the closest you will get to real brotchen without going to Germany.

You can technically make any shape you want. Grant and I like to eat these for breakfast with butter, nutella, or Jams or for lunch with Sandwiches stuff.

You can also freeze the dough. I would make the dough in the bread maker, then shape them how I want them and then put them in freezer bags and straight into the freezer. Then if Grant and I want to eat them for lunch for instance, I leave them to thaw/rise when I wake up until lunch time. Then bake them for around 15 to 20 minutes and they are perfect.

I hope you enjoy!!!!

If you want to try a store bought version go HERE, and you can see a Broetchen you can buy at the store.

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Amanda March 2, 2011 - 1:00 am


Lee May 16, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Fresh baked bread is one of the most beautiful sights and fragrances in life!

German Broetchen Part 2 - warfieldfamily January 8, 2013 - 6:06 am

[…] posted about making Broetchen with the bread maker here previously.  If you aren’t the baking type or don’t have the time, these dinner rolls that are […]

yenne June 12, 2014 - 8:31 pm

Thanks for the recipe! Will try it tonight. How many tsp/gram is approximately a packet of yeast in your recipe? Mine comes in a plastic bottle of around 100ml.

jrwarfield June 13, 2014 - 9:38 am

My packet is around 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, I now buy it in bulk so that is how I measure it out.

Robert October 8, 2014 - 1:16 pm

If not using a bread machine when do you add the warm milk?

jrwarfield October 9, 2014 - 9:09 am

I’m sorry for the typo in my post! Without a bread machine, you dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk, and then add it to the flour at the very beginning of the recipe. Sorry for the confusion.

Cristal March 13, 2015 - 12:12 pm

Can I add things like sunflower seeds, or flax seeds?
Can I substitute whole wheat bread flour for white bread flour?
I’m looking forward to this… I used to live in Germany and miss the Brotchen!

jrwarfield March 13, 2015 - 1:05 pm

I don’t see why not with the whole wheat bread flour. The flax seeds and sunflower seeds can be added, but I might consider adding those on top right before you bake them. Also the egg wash will help them to stick on top a little bit better. I hope this answers your questions! I hope they turn out wonderfully!

Brita November 2, 2015 - 12:27 pm

Have one question, upper part part of your recipe (w/o Bread Machine) you say shape into 12 rolls,
however using the Bread Machine you say shape into 8 rolls. Why the difference? Planning to use my bread maker.
Thanks for reply

jrwarfield November 2, 2015 - 8:33 pm

I’m sorry for the confusion. I didn’t realize that I wrote it like that. You can have anywhere from 8-12 rolls depending on how large or small you cut them. I tend to always make 8 because that is the size i prefer,but you can always make them smaller if you prefer more rolls. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Hunter December 27, 2015 - 5:58 pm

What kind of flour should I use? I used some all purpose enriched flour that you can buy in the states and it came out a bit more chewy and dense than how they are in Germany.

jrwarfield December 27, 2015 - 6:39 pm

You can use all purpose like you mentioned,but you can always try white bread flour. It tends to make a little bit lighter and fluffier breads.

bob searcy March 7, 2016 - 8:50 pm

ive been making brotchen rolls for many years and i much prefer them with 25 % whole wheat flour .
the same dough makes a killer bread stick too . you can add cooked sausage crumbles to the breadstick dough , even sauteed onion , then roll the breadstick , flatten into a rectangle and add american or mexican cheese before rolling them up again .
black olives are a great addition to brotchen rolls also .
im into homemade brats now and wished id done it 30 yrs ago .

Hubert December 9, 2016 - 6:15 pm

I have question. I to lived in Germany and family lives there so I want to try to make them. But I want to use my Brevilli machine. It costom so I can make it do what I want. I’m confused about adding the ingredients my machine tells me to do it a different way and that the yeast goes in last top of the flour. My machine lets me customize time for need. Punch down. And more. There is a dough setting for this. But the way you added The ingredients confuse me

jrwarfield December 10, 2016 - 8:28 pm

The only reason I did them in the order that I did was because those were the instructions that came with my bread maker. I would say follow the order that your machine says for sure. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Hubert December 23, 2016 - 6:51 am

I will try this again they didn’t raise after the second time. Germans never hear of gas white, I know they use steam and bake the first 10 in at 500F to get crisp and the flout is not the same as here in USA

Diane September 29, 2022 - 4:09 pm

I read and reread the recipe. When do you add the salt in the hand-made recipe?

Jessica September 30, 2022 - 6:13 am

Diane, I’m so sorry that this was missing. I have added it to the directions. I add the yeast at the very end after most of the dough is in a ball. Then I add the yeast, knead it a bit, and then turn it out onto a floured surface. Let me know if you have any other questions.


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