Also called the Vienna roll or hard roll, the Kaiser roll is generally a crusty, circular bread from Austria with the top surface divided into a flower or star pattern.
It is a traditional Austrian food, often served with butter and jam, that can at first glance seem intimidating. However, through this article, you will learn just how to make this delicious confectionery yourself!
Types of Kaiser Rolls
A traditional kaiser roll has no toppings, but that does not make it law! Some delicious additions include poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin kernels, linseed, or even sunflower seeds.
There is also the variety known as Kimmelweck, which is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds and is the bun of choice for the popular “beef on weck” sandwich!
If you’re not familiar, that’s a popular upstate New York lunch food composed of roast beef and our very own kaiser rolls.
Altogether, you can get a taste of Austria and the East Coast in one!
Traditional Kaiser Roll Recipe
Now that you know what a kaiser roll is and what kinds exist, it is time to learn to make your own!
- 6 cups of bread flour.
- 1 tablespoon of coarse salt.
- 1 ¾ cups of lukewarm water.
- 1 tablespoon of honey.
- 1 quarter-ounce envelope of active dry yeast.
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra for the bowl.
- 3 large eggs, room temperature.
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds.
Once you have all these together, it is time to begin baking!
- In an electric mixer, whisk together the salt and flour until the two are fully incorporated into each other.
- Attach the bread hook attachment to the mixer. If you lack this, a simple mixing blade will do, but you may need to run the mixer at a higher speed. Be careful of how strong your motor is – burning it out is never a good idea!
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and honey before allowing it to sit for at least five minutes – or until foamy. This is a key part of the recipe, as not allowing the proper amount of time to pass will result in rolls that are flat or overly crunchy. Yeast, when it comes to bread, is never to be trifled with!
- Add two eggs to the wet ingredients and combine, before adding the wet to the dry.
- Mix and knead until the dough forms into a soft, stretchy consistency. You may need to add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches this desired texture. At this stage, it’s important to pay close attention to your mixer. If it’s designed to handle typical bread doughs, you should have no issues. However, if you’re trying your hand with a lesser stand mixer, taking multiple breaks is advised, so the motor has time to ease through the process.
- Begin to add butter, one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
- Once this is finished, transfer to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until it doubles in size (about one hour).
- Punch the dough down (not literally; just compact it as much as you can!) and take it out of the bowl.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle.
- Fold the dough into thirds, rotate, then repeat the process.
- Return the dough to a bowl and let rise until it has doubled again (about one more hour).
- Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces and cover with plastic wrap.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape one piece of dough at a time into 5 x 3-inch rectangles.
- Seal the seam on the pieces of dough. Then roll it into a 12-inch rope.
- Tie the rope into a simple knot, then pull one end into the other and tuck it into itself. At this stage, should you not wish to cook the dough immediately, you can store it in the freezer for up to three weeks. Otherwise…
- Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle them with poppy seeds.
- Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
- Let cool on a wire rack, and enjoy!
Here’s a video showing more details on how to make kaiser rolls.
What Pairs Well With Kaiser Rolls?
When eaten as standalone treats, these rolls are generally used as a breakfast food, served with butter and jam.
With that said, they also fit well with most sandwiches and can be used in the aforementioned “beef on weck” sandwiches or even incorporated into your typical BLTs.
The recipe above described poppy seeds, but that’s just one example. Feel free to get creative!
Do you have any tips on baking kaiser rolls?