Search This Blog and/or Web

BAKING CZECH ROLLS IN CANADA AND USA - Peceme Ceske Rohliky v Kanade a USA

A virtual friend pointed out an interesting web page about baking Czech rohliky (rolls). Mr. Brabec from Canada gave me a permission to translate entire page into English and even use his images. I would like to say Thank You and extend my gratitude to Mr. Brabec for his generosity to share his knowledge with English speaking readers. 
Also, Mr. Brabec has a web site hosting business (please see below at the end of the text if you are interested).
Click on the images if you want to see a bigger photo.

Baking Czech Rolls

Here is the recipe for Czech rolls, which after many try outs I consider the closest recipe to real Czech rolls from my old country. This recipe is especially for my countrymen (and women) living outside Czech Republic, in Canada and USA, and elsewhere in the world. Of course nothing is stopping any gourmand in Czech Republic from baking "rohliky". So go on to bake and enjoy!


7 cups all purpose flour
2 and 1/2 TBSP dry yeast (Fleishmann if possible)
2 and 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground caraway
2 TBSP vinegar
16.9 oz. (0.5 liter)  warm 2% milk (I would use 17 oz.)
1+ cup (8-9 oz.) warm water
1/3 cup canola oil

Prepare also:
1/2 cup milk to brush rolls with, poppy seeds, Windsor coarse salt, oil spray (not PAM) to spray baking sheets, flour to sprinkle baking sheets
medium sized bowl, wooden spoon, baking sheets, brush,  pizza cutter, knife and clean hands

Dough Kneading

Put all purpose flour into your bowl (make sure your flour, and other ingredients, have room temperature, otherwise the dough will not rise as well), add dry yeast, salt, ground caraway and sugar. Mix very well with wooden spoon (1-2 minutes). In another bowl mix milk and oil and then add into the flour mixture while stirring. Finally add mixture of warm water and vinegar - vinegar makes your dough to be more elastic and helps to grow the yeast culture. Mix and make sure this last liquid is soaked into the lumpy dough.

Shake your dough out of the bowl onto the surface where you will hand kneed it by folding, turning, and pushing it with your hands - that way you will put into the dough a very much needed air. Your dough should be elastic, smooth and should not be sticky.

About Dough Rising:

After you kneaded the dough very well, put it into the bowl sprinkled with flour and let rise in warm and non drafty place (you can put it into your oven - do not warm it up). The ideal would be to have gas stove, because it warms up the oven to the best temperature for dough rising. After 1 hour your dough should double its size. If dough is rising slowly, move it to a warmer area.

Roll sizes:

You need to divide the dough, but you will divide it according to what size of your rolls you want. After you are finished with dough, it will be about 2100 g (little over 4 lb.)

Large rolls: 130 g each  - 16 rolls
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, roll out your dough into a flat circle. Then divide the dough into 4 equal sizes.

Regular rolls: 85 g each - 24 rolls
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, roll out your dough into a flat circle. Then divide the dough into 6 equal sizes.

Small rolls: 55 g each - 36 rolls

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, roll out your dough into a flat circle. Then divide the dough into 6 equal sizes.

Delicatessen rolls: 40 g each - 48 rolls
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts, roll out your dough into a flat circle. Then divide the dough into 6 equal sizes.

Or you can divide the dough your way. I prefer Small rolls (50 - 55 g).

How to shape your rolls:

Shape each part into a ball and then roll it out into a flat circle about 10'' in diameter. Cut it (with pizza cutter) into equal sizes. "Stretch" each triangle with rolling pin so it has double height. Brush each triangle with milk and roll from triangle base toward the tip. Roll it few times with both of your hands so the dough "connects" and the tips of the roll are "closed". Bend the roll into moon shape and place it on your greased and flour sprinkled baking sheet.

You can place about 12 small rolls on the baking sheet, brush with milk and let stand again in warm place about 1/2 hour and let them rise. Right before you put it to your oven, brush again with milk and sprinkle wit coarse salt or poppy seeds. Do not use eggs for brushing your rolls - they would get "cake" taste.

Baking your rolls

Preheat your oven for about 20 minute to 380F. I recommend to put aluminum foil (or aluminum sheet) on the bottom of your oven. This will prevent your rolls from burning too much on the bottom. Place the baking sheet with the rolls into the middle of the oven. Bake your rolls for about 18-22 minutes. It depends on how light or how dark you want your rolls to be at the end. Each oven bakes differently. For this reason you should watch the first baking experience of your rolls very closely and from that you can determine your personal baking time. After baking, let cool off a bit and then take it off your baking sheet. Serve warm. If you will have left over rolls, you can freeze them. But I think they will disappear quickly.

What if they do not come right?

No problem. Bake them again. On the image to the left you see my rolls that didn't come right and "bloomed" in the oven while baking. Why? The dough was too "fat" and not enough brushed with milk before rolling it into a roll. So try to roll it out more with a rolling pin (2-3 mm) and brush well with milk. After rolling it into the roll bend it in such a way that when you place it on the baking sheet the tip in the middle will be under the roll.
If your rolls get "flat" while baking - you put too many liquids. You need to follow the recipe.
If your rolls bake too "gummy" and have hard shell, you put less oil and baked it in lower temperature than you should have.

The well baked roll

should look like the ones in the image on the left. If you will not bake them that way the first time, I am sure you will bake them the second time. But I assure you - you will eat them all and will love them.
Good luck,
Ed from Edmonton, Alberta, March 2006

Few important tips:
  • If you do not have fresh milk, you can use instant Skim milk (4 TBSP dissolved in 500 ml water)
  • When rolling out your dough do not use too much flour, so you can roll it out easier
  • Skilled bakers roll their rolls with just one palm and with fingers of other hand they pull the tip of the dough. That is how they get more turns
  • If you are rolling out your basic flat circle and it "shrinks" back all the time, than roll out small "fatter" flat circle, divide it to desired number of triangles and then roll out each triangle base: height = 1:3. It is easier that way
  • When you roll the roll - finish rolling it several times on lightly floured surface, shape the ends of the roll well and make sure the "turns" are flattened
  • You may also create rolls by braiding 3 braids. Each strand should be rolled out thinner at the ends so this way the braided roll will be "chubby" in the middle
  • Use good thick aluminum baking sheets or stainless steel sheets. If you use the thin ones the rolls will burn faster
  • Do not use PAM to spray the baking sheet. The best one is to use a regular oil in spray. But really the best is the pig skin to grease the baking sheet, which gives the rolls the "country" taste - that is how they did it in the old days
  • Spray the rolls with oil spray for crunchy shell before you place them into the oven
  • If you have left over rolls, you can freeze them. However do not defrost them in the microwave oven. Use toaster oven instead (or oven) - they will be crunchy and tasty