I lived on Brötchen, the “little breads” that we’d just call “rolls” in English, during my year and a half as a student in Germany. Insanely fresh, they came in a good dozen varieties at most bakeries.

Thanks to my tiny budget and complicated school schedule, I’d often grab a couple of rolls between classes, and eat them as a breakfast and lunch all in one…

Somehow, in spite of a large number of perfectly respectable bakeries in Seattle, savory Brötchen scarcely make an appearance in Seattle. I still sometimes miss the ready availability of pumpkin seed rolls with whole wheat, hearty and chewy onion rolls, Gouda-cheese topped buns, and even the more humble sesame or poppy seed rolls known as Kaiserbrötchen. The one thing I have been able to find decent renditions of in Seattle is the Laugenbrötchen, or pretzel roll, thanks to the Columbia City Bakery (and my occasional home-baked efforts). Sad versions of the Kaiser roll are occasionally available at various supermarkets around town, but they never have the character I expect of them.

I recently made a bunch of arugula pesto and stored it in the freezer. Somehow I carelessly transfered this to the refrigerator on Saturday, so I needed to accelerate consumption. I made a big batch of a potato-based yeast dough on Sunday, originally meant for a pizza, but as usual, I had a bit too much for that purpose.

Usually that would lead me to make a big loaf of bread. But it turns out that I had a very high-moisture dough… I actually just ran out of flour in the morning when throwing the dough together. Coincidentally, that’s perfect for small rolls. I decided to wed the arugula pesto with the dough, adding a bit more parmesan for texture contrast, and these little crusty, moist, and flavorful rolls emerged.

Arugula pesto potato rolls