With changes this is a 5 star recipe! My husband is a German citizen, and we go there often for extended vacations, we always miss the bread when we get back. We have tried dozens and dozens of times to bake brotchen rolls, one weekend we made over a half dozen recipes, this was the best one of all the recipes we tried but we made *Several* changes to get the flavor we wanted. We only bake this kind of bread on a stone if possible. We also added about a tsp of salt, and increased the sugar to about 2 tbsp. Don't use water, but use whole milk instead. Make the rolls bigger, only 8 not 12. The second time they rise, don't cover them with anything. Finally about the actual baking. 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.
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With changes this is a 5 star recipe! My husband is a German citizen, and we go there often...