A few notes: The recipe makes 18 rolls that are about 3 ½ inches round. However you could easily divide the dough into 24 to make smaller slider rolls. Leave yourself enough time with these. A starter dough called biga is made the day before. It is totally worth the extra effort to start with this. Finally, this recipe calls for bread flour and is better with it – but in a pinch, all purpose flour can be used.
Melted butter and kosher salt for tops after baked
The day before, make the Biga by sifting flour into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add yeast and on low speed add water to form a sticky dough. Add more water or flour to get proper consistency. Err on the side of sticky. Knead for five minutes then transfer to a bowl that is coated with a little olive oil. Cover with plastic and a dish towel and let sit in a warm place until double in size, two hours or so. Punch down to degas and transfer bowl to the refrigerator covered and store overnight.
The next day and about six hours before serving, pull the biga from the refrigerator and cut into a bunch of small pieces. Lay on counter covered with plastic and a dish towel and let sit for one hour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift flour and add yeast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, zest and rosemary. Mix to combine. Add biga pieces and mix to coat.
Add mashed potatoes, olive oil and water with mixer on low until a sticky dough forms. Add more water or flour to get proper consistency. Err on the side of sticky. Knead for six minutes then transfer to a bowl that is coated with a little olive oil. Cover with plastic and a dish towel and let sit in a warm place for two hours or until double in size.
Pour the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a round log. If making 18, cut in half then each half in thirds. Then cut each third in third again to yield 18 pieces. If cutting into 24, cut log in half then each half in half. Then each quarter in half and finally each piece in thirds to yield 24 pieces.
Roll out each dough piece into a ball.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and divide the dough balls between the two pans leaving room for them to expand. With a two or three inch cookie cutter, press indentations around the outer edge towards the center five times as you go around the circle of the ball. This will give it a Kaiser roll look.
Spray the tops with pan spray, cover with plastic and a dish towel and let sit in a warm place for one to two hours or until double in size.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mist the tops of the rolls with water and then sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top. Keep the water mister for next step.
Bake one pan at a time by spraying the inside of the hot oven quickly with the water mister.
Bake for ten minutes, rotate pan, reduce to 400 degrees and bake for 10-15 more minutes (smaller rolls will take less time to bake than the larger ones). Remove when they sound hollow when tapped and are golden brown.
As soon as they come out of the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Cool on wire rack or serve warm.
When baking the second pan, don’t forget to put the oven back to 425 degrees.
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