Austrian bread rolls topped with cheese or sesame seeds are perfect any time of day!
I have a secret: I like the thick, chewy, golden-brown Käsestangerl better than the thin, elegant, pale ones. This is only something I feel slightly ashamed of because the former are the sort you can usually find in the grocery store bakery section while the latter are the type sold by most cafes and bakeries. I don’t know why two very different types of Stangerl exist, but they do, and I’ve certainly got a preference. The thin ones have a bit of a novelty factor as they are often about a foot long, but for some reason I prefer the shorter ones. So I went ahead and found a recipe for my favorite type.
The funny thing is, I sort of think the short ones like these should have a different name. Stange means rod or pole or stick, and because these are short and a bit stubby, they aren’t very stick-like. Stangerl can be topped with a variety of things. Common toppings are caraway seeds, sea salt, sesame seeds, or cheese. If I’ve got an hour break between classes and need a snack I’ll pop out to the grocery store to pick up a Käsestangerl and a piece of fruit.
Like I said, these are thick and chewy and turn a nice golden brown in the oven. I topped most of mine with cheese (Käse) which turned nice and crispy in the oven, and others with sesame seeds (Sesam) which add a nuttiness to the rolls. The dough is not too different from this Hamburger Bun/Dinner Roll recipe, so if you’ve ever made dinner rolls I’m sure you can make these, too. But if you make these you can tell people they are Austrian are therefore very exotic. Despite what people might think, there is more to Austria than just the hills being alive with the sound of music. Though traipsing about the mountains is definitely the national pastime.
Speaking of all things Austrian, here is a photo from the Faschingsdienstag (Fat Tuesday) celebration I went to!
Käse- und Sesamstangerl
Adapted from here
Makes 8 large rolls
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 2 white)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 T granulated sugar
- 2 T butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup + 1 T milk
- 1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt (egg wash)
- toppings: grated hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss (about 1/2 cup), sesame seeds, caraway seeds, poppy seeds…
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast and warm water and allow to sit for about five minutes while the yeast activates.
In a small saucepan, gently warm the milk. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, sugar, and salt.
Mix the flour and the milk mixture into the yeast. Once the dough comes together, turn onto a clean floured surface and knead for about ten minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
After the rise is complete, punch down the dough and divide into eight equal pieces. Flatten each into a long oval, then roll up the oval from the short side–each roll should be about 6.5 inches long. It is best to keep the dough covered while you are working so it doesn’t dry out. Give the rolls another short rise of about 10-15 minutes before brushing with the egg wash and sprinkling with your desired toppings.
Just before putting your rolls into the oven, fill a baking dish (such as a 9×13 cake pan) with hot water and place it towards the bottom of the oven. Bake at 425ºF for about 20 minutes.