Kurbiskorn Brotchen (Pumpkin Seed Rolls)

"If you’ve had the pleasure of being in Germany, you might have fallen in love with these popular rolls available in Bavarian bakeries. Now, when you’re itching for kurbiskern brotchen it can be as close as your very own kitchen. Even though the list of ingredients and the directions are long, these are not hard to make, and believe me your efforts will be greatly rewarded. If you are new to bread baking, cut the recipe in half – this is a moist and tacky dough that will be easier to manage in a smaller portion."
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Ready In:
3hrs 30mins
20 rolls




  • Place the sunflower seed kernels and ½ cup pumpkin seed in a coffee grinder or food processor fitted with a chopper blade and process until seeds are about half their original size.
  • Combine chopped seeds and whole flax seeds in a small bowl. Heat the ½ cup water in the microwave until steaming hot, but not boiling, and pour over the seeds. Let set for several hours or overnight, until the majority of the water has been absorbed.
  • In a large warm bowl, whisk the sugar in 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees) until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar and water mixture and let set until the yeast is bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  • Blend in ¾ cup of the rye flour, cover with a clean dry cloth, then set in a warm dry spot away from drafts, for 20 to 25 minutes, until mixture is light and spongy.
  • Heat the buttermilk in the microwave on high power for 1 minute, then by 30-second intervals, stirring often, until correct temperature is reached. Careful not to overheat, as it will curdle.
  • Stir down the sponge, mix in the warm buttermilk, salt, oatmeal, and soy granules.
  • Stir in the remaining ¾ cup rye flour, the whole wheat flour, and finally enough of the bread flour to make a manageable dough.
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead hard for 5 minutes. If you have a heavy-duty electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, knead at moderately low speed for 5 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well oiled warm bowl, turning once to oil the top surface of the ball.
  • Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm (75 to 80 degrees) dry spot, away from drafts, until double in bulk. This will take about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough. It should be moist and tacky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well oiled surface (a large hard plastic cutting board works well) and with well oiled hands knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Add more oil as needed both to your hands and to the board. Knead in small amounts of bread flour if the dough is too sticky to manage, but too much flour will make the rolls tough and dry.
  • At end of kneading, lift the dough and sprinkle the board with ¼ cup bread flour. Flatten the dough into a large oval. Drain any remaining water from the soaked seeds and spread them over the dough.
  • With well floured hands, gather up the edges of the dough into a sort of hobo bundle, and gently knead in the seeds, distributing them as evenly as possible. Use additional bread flour as needed, but keep the dough as moist as possible. This part is messy, but manageable.
  • Divide dough in half. Lightly sprinkle the bread board with soy flour, then using your hands, pat each half into a 6 x 10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the top side of the dough with soy flour, then use a sharp knife to divide each rectangle into 10 rolls.
  • Scatter remaining pumpkin seeds on a dinner plate. Moisten the tops of the rolls with water, then gently press each roll into the pumpkin seeds and return them to the bread board, pushing the seeds into the dough with your hand.
  • Cover the rolls with a clean towel and let rest 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly risen and puffy.
  • Place a cookie sheet on which to bake the rolls, on the rack in the center position in the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees. Place an aluminum pie pan on the floor of the oven, if electric, or on the bottom rack, if gas, and preheat it as well.
  • Use a spatula to transfer the rolls from the bread board to the preheated cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
  • After the first 5 minutes of baking, drop 4 or 5 ice cubes into the hot pie plate and close the oven door immediately. The resulting steam will give the rolls a nice crisp exterior. Resist the urge to open the oven door during baking, or the steam will escape.

Questions & Replies

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  1. II've made this recipe at least six times now, and I can never work all that flour into the dough. I think the recipe is missing some liquid ingredient or calls for more flour than is correct. The usual ratio of flour to liquid is 5:3, and this recipe has something more like 3:10. I usually use much less bread flour than the recipe calls for, but I would like to make more and larger rolls so this time I'm going to try increasing the amount of liquid: 2 cups of buttermilk instead of 1. Has anyone else had trouble with the proportions in this recipe? By the way, we do love this because the result is very close to our favorite German bakery rolls.



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