Franzbrötchen, literally translated as “little French Breads”, is a German cousin of the famous French Croissant. When I first looked into the description, I had to think twice, if I was going to make something similar to the Croissant. I have made Croissants before and have to admit that they were one of the best breads I have made and the process is quite time consuming. I was not ready to make a bread that was going to be as time consuming as the Croissant.
Only when I read through the description, I saw that they were much easier to make and was totally up my alley. The Croissants and the Franzbrötchen are similar because they both are made with dough that is laminated with butter. They are then rolled, chilled and then rolled again. The Franzbrötchen though does not need the 3 days of work as the croissants. Also there is no pounding of chilled butter involved (which I thought was the hardest in croissant).
The Franzbrötchen has cold butter that is thinly sliced and placed inside the rolled dough and then folded over and rolled as much as it allows and the chilled for about 30 minutes and then rolled again. The Franzbrötchen is also mildly sweetened with cinnamon sugar.
The texture of this bread is very flaky, but not quite as much as its cousin, the Croissant. I really loved the mild sweetness and that made it even more addictive for me. This bread originated in the city of Hamburg in Germany and was originally only found there. Now the pastry can be found in the other German cities as well. It is commonly eaten for breakfast , but are served any time with coffee as well.
The best part about making the Franzbrötchen was to squeeze the center of the cut jelly roll dough using a wooden stick ( I used chopsticks ). It just gave this inner pleasure, squeezing each and every piece of dough and seeing it flare and open up from both the sides. I had made only 9 Franzbrötchen, this is one bread that I will go back and bake again very soon. My MIL is here with us now who really enjoyed the flaky bread and she has been talking about it for couple of days now.
This is my second recipe from Germany already in the A to Z Baking around the World. The first recipe that I baked from Germany was the Bretzel Roll. After the couple of German bakes, I have to admit that I have become a big fan of them and I am really looking forward to trying a few more from the country.
My other bakes in the A – Z Baking around the World Marathon –
A for Almond cookies from China
B for Bretzel Rolls from Germany
C for Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from USA
D for Danish Cookies from Denmark
E for Empanada from Argentina
Preparation time – 20 minutes plus about 2 hours of resting time
Baking time – 20 to 25 minutes
Difficulty level – Intermediate
Recipe adapted from – A Bread a Day
Ingredients to make Franzbrötchen – Makes 8
For the dough –
- All purpose flour – 2 cups
- Instant yeast – 1/2 tbsp
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tbsp
- Milk – 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (lukewarm)
- Unsalted butter – 2 tbsp (melted and slightly cooled)
For the Filling –
- Butter (chill) – 6 tbsp
- Sugar – 1/4 cup
- Cinnamon – 3/4 cup
Procedure to make the Franzbrötchen –
To make the dough –
- I made the dough in my food processor. Add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast to the jar of the food processor or in a large bowl if mixing by hand.
- To this add the melted and cooled butter and pulse it for a minute.
- Now add about 1/2 cup of the lukewarm milk and mix. If needed add a little more milk and knead the mixture into a soft dough. .
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft free place until double in volume. It took about an hour and a half for my dough to rise.
Shaping the Franzbrötchen –
- Gently punch down the dough and roll it into a 8 x 12 rectangle. Use a little flour to help roll the dough.
- Thinly slice the chilled butter into several pieces. Make sure that the slices are thin and not chunky. Also having the butter really cold helps in slicing them neatly.
- Place the sliced butter over 2/3rd of the rolled dough. Bring the remaining 1/3 rd of the dough over the butter and then fold the dough over itself one more time, making a tri-fold.
- Pinch the edges to seal well, so that the butter does not ooze out when we roll again.
- Dust the surface with more flour and roll the dough gently again to form a 8 x 12 rectangle. Try to keep the edges straight.
- Now tri-fold the dough again and wrap it plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill.
- When the dough is chilling, prepare the cinnamon sugar by mixing the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
- Also preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a tray with parchment and keep it ready.
- When the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and roll it into a 10 X 15 rectangle.
- Brush the surface of the dough with little water and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly.
- Start rolling the dough tightly, like a jelly roll and form a tight log. Pinch the edges to seal and with the sealed side facing down, slice the log into 1 inch pieces. I got about 9 pieces from my dough.
- Using a rounded wooden stick or the handle of a wooden ladle/spoon, press on the center of each piece strongly and all the way down. You will see the dough flare out and spread on each side like a wing of the bird. This is a step that I really enjoyed as it was very pleasurable to watch the dough spread out.
Baking the Franzbrötchen –
- Place the shaped pastry on the prepared baking tray and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Beware that the sugar would melt and puddle around the bread when baking, but would all be absorbed back by the end of the baking time.
- Remove them from the oven when it is golden brown and cool them on a rack. Serve warm.
If you like the recipe, you can pin it from here –