Metropolitan Bakery | Since 1993

French Berry Rolls

Our famous French berry rolls sell out practically every day. Now, you can bake them at home. But be warned — to do it right, you'll need to create your own all-natural chef and white starter first. Not for novice bakers.

The Chef

Day One

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water (72°F)
  • I tablespoon organic apple juice

In a large glass bowl, combine the flour, water, and apple juice. Whisk vigorously to incorporate air into the mixture and to ensure that there are no lumps. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the mixture ferment at room temperature for 3 days. On the third day, the mixture (chef) should appear to be alive:  bubbly and spongy. This indicates a successful capturing of the wild yeasts. (If there is no activity, you will need to begin the process again.) Next, it is necessary to strengthen the yeast culture.

Day Three

  • I cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water (68°F)

Skim off the dry surface of the chef and discard. Discard half the remaining chef.

You should have approximately half of the chef left. Transfer the reserved chef to a clean bowl. Add the flour and water. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the chef ferment at room temperature 1 day.

Day Four

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water(68°F)

Check co see that the chef has doubled in size and appears spongy. Repeat process as directed for Day Three.

Day Five

  • 1  cup bread flour
  • 1/2  cup water (68°F)

Check to see that the chef has doubledin size and appears spongy. Repeat process as directed for Day Three.

Day Six

Check to see that the chef has doubled in size and appears spongy. By this point, you should have successfully captured and strengthened a culture of wild yeast.

This "ripe" chef can be used initialize the starter (next recipe). After measurmg the amount of the chef you'll need for a recipe, discard any of the remaining chef or use it to prepare another recipe.


White Starter

Part One (First Refreshment)

  • 3/4 cup ripe chef 
  • 1/2 cup water (68°F)
  • 1/3 cup bread flour

In a large glass bowl, whisk together the chef and water until the chef dissolves and the mixture becomes wet and sticky. Whisk on the flour until the mixture becomes smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the mixture ferment at room temperature 6 hours or until bubbly. Then refrigerate the starter overnight or up to 14 hours.

Day Two (Second Refreshment)

  • 1  cup water (68°F)
  • 3/4 cup bread flour

Check to see that the starter has doubled in size then collapsed slightly. Add the water and flour to the starter, whisk until smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the starter ferment at room temperature 6 hours, until bubbly

Then refrigerate the starter overnight.

Day Three (Third Refreshment)

  • 2 cups water (74°F)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour

Check to see that the starter has doubled in size then collapsed slightly. Add the water and flour to the starter, whisk until the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Then refrigerate the starter overnight. 

Day Four

The starter is now ready to properly leaven the bread recipe of your choice. It should appear bubbly and slightly spongy and have a bright, sour aroma.

This is referred to as an "active" starter. Before using the active starter, let it come to room temperature, about 2 hours. After measuring the amount of starter you'll need for a recipe, set aside 3/4 cup, discarding any of the remaining starter. Refrigerate the reserved starter up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 3 months.

Before you use the reserved starter in a recipe, return it to room temperature (thawing it in the refrigerator overnight, if frozen). Repeat the 3-step refreshment process, starting with Day One (the 3/4 cup reserved starter will now replace the chef).


French Berry Rolls

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of sun-dried strawberries
  • ½ cup dried blueberries
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries
  • ½ cup dried cranberries 
  • ¾ cup active White Starter
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water (70 degrees)
  • 4 ½ cups bread flour, plus extra flour for preparation
  • 3 tablespoons malt extract 
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • yellow cornmeal for preparation

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine berries and enough warm water to cover. Soak 10 minutes; drain well. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine the starter, water, flour, and malt extract. With a dough hook attachment at low speed, mix until the dough forms a shaggy mass, 4 minutes. Sprinkle the salt and wheat germ over the dough. Let the dough rest 15 minutes.
  3. At low speed, mix the salt and wheat germ into the dough for 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium. Knead the dough 8 minutes. Test for proper gluten development... the dough should be smooth and elastic and pull away from the sides of the bowl. The temperature should be 78° to 80°F when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Reduce the speed to low and stir the softened berries into the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or container at least twice its size, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled on size, 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface: divide into 12 equal places. Shape each piece into a round ball, then fold in half. Use the palm of your hand to seal the seam closed. Roll each piece back and forth into an oval with exaggerated pointed ends.
  5. Line a large baking tray with clean tea towels. Lightly coat the towels with sifted flour. Place each roll, seam-side up and about 1 inch apart, on the prepared towels. Gently pull up the towel between each roll to form a pleat 1 1/2 to 2 inches higher than the tops of the rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel or plastic wrap, refrigerate to rose slowly overnight or up to 12 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal.
  7. Carefully transfer the rolls, seam-sloe down, to the prepared sheet. With a lame or a sharp knife, cut 1 shallow diagonal slash lengthwise down the center of each roll. Working quickly, open the oven door and generously spray the entire oven cavity with water (taking care not to spray the oven light bulb) to create steam. Place the sheet of rolls on the center oven rack. Close the oven door. Bake 3 minutes. Repeat spraying the oven walls. Close the oven door. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake 15 minutes, until the rolls are deep golden brown. 
  8. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and cool completely.

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