Danish Breakfast Rolls

Picture disclaimer- The buns are traditionally covered iwith poppy seeds Unfortunately I ran out of poopy seeds, so I used sesame seeds. Not the same flavors, but bread was delicious.

It’s hard to claim that these rolls originate from Denmark, and in the land of H.C. Andersen, we call them breakfast rolls. We have a large variety of breakfast rolls, just like New York has an even more extensive selection of bagels.

Many Danes consume these rolls during the weekend. Families like to have a nice calm breakfast with the family and happily do a quick run to the local bakery to pick up a selection of rolls and perhaps brunsviger. The latter is a delicacy that I have no English word for.

Old school baking – thanks to National Museet for this picture.

Danes have made bread for the past 6000 years. It is an art that is perfected and passed down through generations. Many recipes have evolved. Probably because they weren’t written down in the early days, so some have lost valuable insights and family secrets to baking the perfect bread.

Even though bread is made for thousands of years in Denmark, it was not a common food item for families for thousands of years. It only became part of the Danish kitchen and food selection in the 19th century. Before then, it was primarily used by the clergy and priests, who enjoyed this luxury.

Danish baking technigues and bread is NOT the same as the French baking styles.  The French use a lot more butter to create wonderful croissants and pasteries.

Danish bread has a much softer crust thatn the Southern European bread.  I guess it is all about how they use the heat when baking.

Today’s Morning Rolls

Today I’m focusing on the most common breakfast roll, which we call ‘rundstykke’ aka round piece for the exact translation from Danish to English. Not a super exotic name.

Perforated baking sheet

Again, please note, I’m not a baker by trade, so I can only offer you my approach. It does not resemble the excellent breakfast rolls that you buy in a traditional Danish bakery.

Most baking recipes require patience and careful measurements. Don’t just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and frantically mix the shit. Firstly, you’ll end up with flour all over your kitchen. Secondly, the dough will probably end up too dry. Finally, it has to be just perfectly sticky without leaving dough on your finger.

If you plan to surprise your family with freshly made bread, you need to wake up early. It takes time to bake good bread. There’s a reason why many bakers start baking at 3-4 am. They have to be ready with fresh morning rolls for the customers.

Magical ingredients (not really)

  • 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup of butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar or immitation sugar
  • 4-4 1/2 cups of regular flour
  • 1 egg for the egg wash
  • A good amount of poppy seeds
Please note - I'm not using salt when i Cook or bake.  You can add 1 teaspoon of salt if you prefer.

Let’s get rolling

The Danish magic wand

Please prepare a nice clean work surface in your kitchen, and bring out your kitchen stand mixer. We invested in a KitchenAid stand mixer when we moved to the US, and it has been great.

I recommended using a perforated baking sheet. It is not essential but gives the buns a nice bottom with tiny dots, and that’s how they look in Denmark.

You can, of course, use a Danish whisk, your hands, or any other method for making your dough. However, you are the boss in your kitchen, so do what you are comfortable with.

Honestly, I’m Danish to the core and was not familiar with the “Danish Whisk” until I read an article while living in the US. I have never used one. My mum is familiar with this gadget but has never owned this tool.

  1. Gently melt the butter in a pot or microwave
  2. Gently heat the milk until it reaches 95-100F – or just warm enough for you to insert your pinky without burning yourself
  3. Add the sugar and yeast in the stand mixer bowl
  4. Slowly pour in the warm milk into the bowl
  5. Let the mixture sit while the dry yeast activates
  6. Add 2 cups of flour, and slowly mix the ingredients together
  7. Add the melted butter while mixing
  8. Add the next 2 cups of flour gradually, until the dough has the desired consitency and stickiness
  9. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes
  10. Cover the bowl with plastic film and a towel, and let it rise for 45 minutes

Clean your kitchen utensils and work surface while the dough is rising. I also suggest having a cup of decaf coffee while relaxing to some awesome Chris Stapleton music. We all need music while working.

When the dough is ready, we can continue to the next phase of baking your batch of Danish rundstykker.

  1. Divide the dough into 10-12 pieces, depending on the size of buns your prefere
  2. Fill a small bowl with poppy seeds
  3. Roll them into round dough balls
  4. Brush each bun with the egg wash
  5. Gently dip the washed area into the poppy seeds, giving them a nice coating
  6. Place the buns on the perforated baking sheet
  7. Cover the buns again, with a towel, and let them rise for another 30 minutes
  8. Preheat your oven to 392-395F (200 degrees Celcius)
  9. When the buns have risen, place them in the oven and bake them for 10-12 minutes

Keep an eye on the buns. They should end up with a golden shine and not dark brown. Avoid opening the oven while baking as heat will escape.

You can test a bun by knocking on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, then the bun is ready.

Let it cool off a little before serving them to your hungry family. They are best when served warm and with a bit of butter that slowly melts into the bread. Enjoy a cup of awesome ass coffee from my brothers over at Black Rifle.

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