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WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
We thought that kaiser rolls, with their crusty exteriors, would be the perfect choice for our heftiest hamburgers. Aiming to re-create the thin, crisp, golden exterior and moist, sturdy crumb of deli-style rolls, we started by using high-...
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
Whisk flour, yeast, and 1 tablespoon salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk 2 cups water, oil, 1 egg, and sugar in 4‑cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved.
Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 8 minutes.
Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to clean counter. Press and stretch dough into 12 by 6‑inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge. Using pizza cutter or chef’s knife, cut dough vertically into 12 (6 by 1‑inch) strips and cover loosely with greased plastic.
Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), stretch and roll into 14‑inch rope. Shape rope into U with 2‑inch-wide bottom curve and ends facing away from you. Tie ends into single overhand knot, with 1½‑inch open loop at bottom. Wrap 1 tail over loop and press through opening from top. Wrap other tail under loop and pinch ends together to seal.
Arrange rolls pinched side down on prepared sheets, spaced evenly apart. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until nearly doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly beat remaining egg, remaining 1 tablespoon water, and remaining pinch salt together in bowl. Gently brush rolls with egg mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if using. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 34 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer rolls to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour, before serving. (Cooled rolls can be stored in zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. Wrapped in aluminum foil before being placed in the bag, rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month. To reheat thawed, frozen rolls, wrap them in foil, place them on rimmed baking sheet, and bake them in 350‑degree oven for 10 minutes.)