I grew up south of Buffalo, N.Y., but never had the occasion to eat these lovely rolls until my wedding night. Two great treats in one night...I don't know how it could have gotten any better... At any rate, I learned to enjoy "Beef on Weck" (pronounced "Veck", with a "V" sound). Basically, it's a hot roast beef au jus served on Kummelweck rolls, usually with prepared horseradish and/or crispy, sliced Dill pickles as a condiment.
The whole thing is a bit of a misnomer. "Kummelweck" means 'Kummel' (caraway seeds) and "Weck" means 'away'. So the word roughly translates to: Caraway seeds gone. Or, without Caraway seeds... Well, that's not how the rolls are usually done. They're pretty well a Kaiser roll with extra salt and caraway seeds sprinkled on top. Click here for some more of the local history behind this tasty treat.
I've made the recipe below, and topped with roast beef for weck, they are absolutely great! But, I've become a sourdough baker, and this recipe will be re-written as such shortly. Sourdough, is the ONLY way to make breads!
Yield: 1-1/2 dozen (yeast recipe) rolls
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 tbsp butter, softened
1-1/2 c hot tap water
1 egg white, room temperature
coarse salt (kosher type salt)
Mix thoroughly 1-1/3 CUP FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT and un-dissolved YEAST in a large bowl. Add butter and gradually add HOT WATER. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Scrape sides of bowl when necessary. Add EGG WHITE and 1 CUP more FLOUR. Beat on high speed 2 minutes longer. Stir in additional FLOUR, enough to make a soft dough.
On a lightly floured board, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover bowl and let dough rise in a warm place free of drafts until double in bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down dough; turn onto a floured board and knead gently for a minute or two. Break dough into 2" pieces; roll into balls.
Leave balls of dough resting on floured board for 15 minutes. With a pastry brush, paint a small amount of melted butter on each roll. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make an "x" on the top of each roll. Press each roll between your hands to flatten somewhat and place face down on a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise again until double, about 35 minutes.
Combine coarse salt with caraway seed in small bowl, proportion according to taste (in Buffalo the salt taste seems predominant--to me at least!). Rub with fingers to combine flavors. Turn rolls face up, brush with water (or the glaze below) and sprinkle with caraway seed/salt mixture. Bake on cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, allow to cool. Split and top with
roast beef and
drench with 'au jus'
(pronounced: awe zhew or more properly, "o zh¡s´, zhü´" ).
Still working this part -
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together water and cornstarch. Heat mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low, and stir until mixture thickens and is translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.