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Laugen rolls

These rolls are unique in that they have to be poached in boiling water before putting them in the oven! The recipe originates from southern Germany and Austria and authentically requires the poaching water to have caustic soda or lye (= lauge in German) in it. If you're a plumber or builder you might be familiar with lye but it's definitley not on the shelf of most bakers, nor indeed in the Shipton Mill shop. Lye requires care in handling so in this recipe I'll be using sodium bicarbonate or baking soda instead. The alkaline solution of baking soda promotes reactions which enhance flavour and so these rolls are all about a really tasty and tangy brown crust.


500g Canadian strong white bread flour

200ml skimmed milk

100ml boiling water

teaspoon sugar

5g dried yeast

8g fine salt

For the poaching solution

1 liter water

2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons baking soda

For coating

poppy seeds

flaked sea salt


Slotted spoon, baking paper


In a bowl combine the white flour and salt. In a jug add the boiling water to the skimmed milk and then add the dried yeast and sugar. Mix well with a small whisk and leave aside for 5 minutes to get the yeast active. Then add the liquid to the flour, mix and knead for 10 minutes into a good dough. Coat with a little bit of sunflower oil and leave aside for an hour to rise. Alternatively you can do this stage overnight in your fridge. Now take the dough and form into 10 balls. Form them firmly in the palm of your hand and then lay them out on baking paper on a heavy baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for about half an hour. Put your oven on at 220C and prepare your poaching solution. Dissolve the salt and baking soda in the liter of water and get it to the boil in a pan. Using a slotted spoon place the rolls in the boiling solution for one minute, remove and place back on the baking paper. Now slash the top of the rolls with a cross pattern to a depth of about 1cm and coat with flaked sea salt. You can also use poppy seeds. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 220C and then lower the temperature to 180C for a further 5 minutes. The rolls should be nicely browned! Remove from the oven and cool for a short while on a wire rack. They are delicious warm and especially with savoury snacks such as boiled eggs.