I love sweet rolls on weekend mornings fresh from the baker, but what can you do when the German bakery is thousands of miles away? Make your own authentic-tasting sweet rolls from this recipe for "Mandelkruste," a popular sweet roll. This sweet roll recipe starts with sourdough starter and yields a complex, slightly tangy taste which is not too sweet.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen sweet rolls
Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Require overnight rise: 10 hours
Total Time: 13 hours, 55 minutes
- 1/2 c. recently fed sourdough starter
- 1 tsp. barley malt syrup or sugar
- 1 tsp. dry yeast
- 1 small can (5 oz. - 140 ml) evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 c. flour (250 grams)
- 1 1/4 c. lukewarm water (260 ml)
- 3 c. flour (300 grams)
- 4 T. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 c. softened butter (115 grams)
- ***Almond Crust***
- 2 egg whites
- 1 c. + 2 T. powdered sugar (125 grams)
- 3/4 c. almond meal (75 grams)
- 1/2 c. sliced almonds (optional)
- 1/4 c. "Hagelzucker", "Perlzuker" or coarse decorating sugar (optional)
Make the Sponge the Day Before Baking
Mix all the ingredients for the sponge together until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, let it sit on the counter for two and a half hours, then place it in the refrigerator overnight.
Make the Dough for the Sweet Rolls
The next day, remove the sponge from the refrigerator and mix in the remaining flour, flavoring, sugar and egg yolks until a soft dough is formed.
Knead in the softened butter until fully incorporated.
Since the dough is cold it will need a longer rise of about two hours. Place it in a warm place for slightly faster rise.
When the dough is doubled in bulk, turn it out onto a well-floured counter and fold and stretch it gently a few times. The dough is floppy and sticky, but that gives it a nice crumb when baked.
Cut 16 pieces (80 grams apiece) or 24 pieces (50 grams - 2 ounces) and form them into simple logs. Let rest 10 minutes.
While it is resting, prepare three cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
Place a baking stone, if you have one, in the oven and preheat to 400°F. (This should be at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour before you bake.)
Stretch the free-form baguettes again into their final shape. and place them on the cookie sheets. Let rise 1/2 to 1 hour.
Make the Almond Topping
Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the powdered sugar by sifting over the top of the egg whites incrementally, until a meringue is formed.
Stir in the ground almonds.
Scoop about one tablespoon of almond topping onto each roll and spread evenly over the top. It is fine if it drips down a bit.
Sprinkle with sliced almonds and decorating sugar before a hard crust forms.
Bake the Sweet Rolls
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 400°F. Remove to a rack to cool completely.
These taste best just slightly warm, because they firm up. If you eat them straight out of the oven, they are still moist inside, not like German rolls at all (I did the research).
To eat, cut in half and spread with butter and/or marmalade.
Notes and Options on Almond Crusted Sweet Rolls
For a different topping which works well if you plan on freezing these rolls and is less sweet: Boil 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water together until sugar is dissolved. Brush onto unbaked rolls and sprinkle with almond slices and sugar.
- Add 1 teaspoon lemon zest to dough.
- Instead of almond or vanilla, add Fiore di Sicilia or butter flavoring to dough.
- Add 1 cup slivered almonds to dough.
- Knead in raisins or other dried fruit.
- Add 1 tsp. finely ground cardamom to dough with the butter.
- Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract to almond topping.
- Omit almonds from the topping for a nut-free version.