Brötchen (German Bread Rolls)

Here’s A Simple Brötchen Recipe For Tasty German Bread Rolls!

Looking for a simple to make breakfast roll recipe? German bread rolls are the answer!

Made from just a few ingredients common in the pantry, this Brötchen recipe delivers German rolls that are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

These simple buns go really well with a breakfast or brunch – but can be enjoyed at lunch or heated up as a warm dinner roll, too!

straw basket of german brotchen with blue cloth under
Our Brötchen turned out delicious.

Meaning of Brötchen

For those wondering, the literal meaning of Brötchen in English is essentially “small bread”.

“Brot” means bread in German and the ending “-chen” is sometimes added when you want to emphasize that you’re talking about something smaller.

Brötchen – in English sometimes written as Brotchen since the German letter “ö” is not being used – is basically just the German word for bun or bread roll.

Brötchen in Germany

Brötchen are popular all over Germany and there are many, many different types of German Brötchen out there. Ours is just a very basic, classic version.

If you’ve visited Germany before, you’ve most likely noticed that Germans love their bread in all shapes and sizes.

So it’s no surprise that there are many different bread roll options out there. Have a look inside a few different German bakeries and you’ll understand what we mean!

Lisa grew up eating them, obviously. They were always a popular addition to weekend breakfasts with the family. One family member would usually go to the bakery early in the morning to grab some freshly made buns for the family.

Eric really never appreciated how good a warm Brötchen in the morning can be until he met Lisa. It’s great to have a whole spread of meats, cheeses, and sweet or savory spreads to put on them!

Looking for more recipes? Try our Strammer Max, Farmer’s Omelette, easy Schinkennudeln, or a classic German salad!

basket of german bread rolls with blue towel underneath
German bread rolls are easy to make and are pretty versatile!

How to Make Authentic German Brötchen – Step by Step

If you plan to take on this simple German bread rolls recipe, you can find the recipe card with exact measurements at the bottom of this post!

For those bakers who want to see what the recipe steps look like, you can follow the Brötchen process photos right now!

flour and salt ingredients for brotchen in silver mixing bowl
The dry ingredients start off the Brötchen recipe

Start by adding flour to a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt and give everything a stir.

Yeast and salt don’t like each other so make sure that the salt is mixed in with the flour before adding any yeast.

yeast on flour in silver mixing bowl
Here comes the yeast!

Now sprinkle the sugar on top and finally add your instant yeast.

Make sure that the yeast doesn’t have to be dissolved in water first – if it does, check the notes in the recipe card below for recommendations on how to proceed!

Finally, slowly add the water while using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer to knead the dough. Of course you can also use your hands – it just takes a bit longer.

ball of brotchen dough in silver mixing bowl
Form a ball of dough in the bowl….

Keep kneading until the dough forms a ball that doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl anymore.

If the dough is to crumbly after a few minutes of kneading, you can add a little bit more water.

On the other hand, if it is too wet and sticky, you can add a little bit more flour.

Cover the bowl with the dough and place it in a warm spot in your home without a draft for 60 minutes.

german bread roll dough risen in silver mixing bowl
Here’s what our dough looked like risen – nice and fluffy!

After the hour is up and the dough has increased in size, sprinkle some flour onto your countertop.

bread roll dough ripped up into small chunks on counter top
Rip up the dough into equal parts for the rolls.

Knead the dough briefly with your hands, then cut or rip it into eight parts of equal size and form it into bread rolls.

The rolls will look nicer if you try to keep the “seams” on the bottom.

bread rolls with slits cut on top on parchment paper pan
Slightly cut the dough.

Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut the bread rolls lengthwise with a sharp knife about 1/3 deep.

If you don’t cut them enough they might turn out more like “bread balls” – but they will still be delicious.

Let the rolls sit on the parchment paper for another 15 minutes. While you wait, preheat your oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

green bowl of water in oven under baking german breads rolls
Baking bread rolls with their water bowl in the oven…

Place a heat-resistant bowl with water in the bottom rack of your oven. This will help the buns to rise better and can make the crust more crispy.

Bake the German buns on the middle rack of your oven for around 20 minutes until they are golden brown.

baked german bread rolls on parchment paper
Bake the Brötchen until they are golden brown.

Remove them from the oven and let them sit for a few minutes. You can enjoy the Brötchen warm or cold.

basket of german bread rolls Brötchen with blue towel
All done – German bread rolls ready to be enjoyed!

Storage Tips

Brötchen taste best fresh in our opinion. However, you can store any leftover buns in a plastic bag or container.

When you want to eat them, cut them open and place them for a few minutes in the oven or in your toaster. This will make them slightly crispy again.

If you have old buns that you don’t want to eat anymore, leave them out on the counter so they can really harden.

Then you can use them to make German bread dumplings – also known as Semmelknoedel. Or cut them up and make croutons to add to a hearty potato soup!

basket of german bread rolls Brötchen with blue towel

Brötchen (German Bread Rolls)

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This German Brötchen recipe is actually really easy to make with just a few ingredients usually on hand. Crusty on the outside and warm and soft on the inside, these German bread rolls make a wonderful addition to any breakfast or brunch!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, lukewarm

Instructions

  1. Add flour to a large mixing bowl, then add the salt and give everything a good stir. Sprinkle the sugar on top and finally add the instant yeast.
  2. Slowly add the water while using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer or your hands to knead the dough. Keep kneading until the dough forms a ball that doesn't stick to the side of the bowl anymore. If it's too crumbly after a few minutes, add a tiny bit more water. If it is too wet, add a little bit more flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel or lid and place it in a warm spot without a draft for at least 60 minutes to allow the dough to rise.
  4. After the dough has increased in size, sprinkle some flour onto your countertop. Place the dough on it and briefly knead it with your hands.
  5. Cut or rip the dough into eight equal parts and form it into bread rolls. Make sure that the "seams" are at the bottom. Place these rolls on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Cut the bread rolls lengthwise with a sharp knife about halfway deep. Then let them sit for another 15 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a heat resistant bowl or small pot with water into the bottom of your oven. Bake the Brötchen on the middle rack for approx. 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove the bread rolls from the oven and let them cool slightly. They can be eaten warm or cold.

Notes

  • We use instant dry yeast for this recipe - aka the type of yeast that doesn't have to be dissolved in water or milk first. Make sure to check the directions on the package of your yeast first. If it needs to be dissolved first, add it to 1/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon sugar and let it sit for around 10 minutes. Then add this to the flour in the mixing bowl - and make sure to subtract the amount of water and sugar already used from the ingredient list above!
  • Also, make sure that your yeast hasn't expired yet and that the salt and yeast don't get into direct contact with each other. Otherwise, your dough might not rise at all.
  • This is a recipe for a very simple German bun. There are many different kinds of German buns you can make or buy in Germany... and we'll add more recipes over time!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 267mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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