Who Can Fix My Kaiser Rolls?


OK, I’m pretty happy with this photo, but… well, they aren’t really Kaiser Rolls.  I was on a “roll” from last week (sorry), when I thought my Brotchen were more than passable.  So I wanted to re-create another German roll style– the famous 5-petal Kaiser roll.  I have to say that even though the picture is pretty, the rolls didn’t retain the 5-petal shape that defines the Kaiser roll– it ended up as just a round, though beautiful and tasty roll.

And so fellow bakers, I turn to you for help!  What did I do wrong?  Please make suggestions that help me perfect this beast…

Just like last week, I mixed up a batch of our plain white-flour Master Recipe but made two variations:  First, put three egg whites into the bottom of the measuring cup before you measure out your three cups of water– so it’s three cups of liquid, including the three egg whites.  AND one other variation– I used the drier dough version that we specify in the book, in the recipe for Pain D’Epi.  Just use an additional half-cup of unbleached all-purpose flour.  If you don’t use the drier version of the dough, you won’t be able to make the folds that define the shape of the Kaiser roll.

Preheat the oven with a baking stone near the middle of the oven to 450 degrees F for at least 20 to 30 minutes (place a broiler tray in the oven on any other shelf that won’t interfere with rising bread).  Cut off 3 to 4 ounce balls of dough (like a peach) and briefly shape them (as in our videos), then roll out to about a quarter-inch thick.  You should end up with a circle of dough about 7 inches in diameter.  Then fold one side of the dough over as shown here, pressing firmly to seal.  You’re going to do this a total of five times to make the 5-petal shape.


The second fold includes about half the first fold…


… and so on, for the third fold…


… and the fourth fold…


Then you have to tuck the side of the fifth fold under the first fold, like so:


It looked like it would work, though I have to admit that I had my doubts when I took this picture.  I let the Kaisers rest on a silicone mat for about 60 minutes, though parchment would have been fine, or even cornmeal on a pizza peel.   I brushed with egg whites using a pastry brush and sprinkled with poppy seeds.  Then, onto the hot stone for about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on size.  Pour a cup of hot water into the broiler tray just before you close the oven door.

The result was the perfect texture I remember from New York City delis, with the crunchy poppy seed crust somehow working perfectly for dipping into chili (my kids absolutely loved the combination).  But there’s this cosmetic problem.  Anyone able to help me? Click here for the suggestions I received…

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111 thoughts to “Who Can Fix My Kaiser Rolls?”

  1. How about a version of the classic ‘kummelweck” roll so famous in Buffalo NY’s “beef on weck?”

  2. What you tried your hand at here is not the typical German Kaiser Roll (Kaisersemmel). It’s an Austrian thing, and calles a Handsemmel (Hand Roll, because it can’t be machine-made), with the dough folded inside in five petals.
    These rolls are not cheap, even in Austria, and here (I live in Munich, which isn’t THAT far…) you can’t even get them.
    Believe me, I know my way around break baking, but how to get these rolls to look perfekt eludes me. Next time I’m in Vienna I think I’ll get up real early, find some bakery and try a hefty bribe 😉

    I’ll let you know, should I succeed…

    1. George: Thanks for checking in, it would be very fun to perfect the method right from the source! Jeff

  3. Hi! I really want to make these kaiser rolls but I only want to do half a recipe to start with. How do you suggest I handle halving the three egg whites? Do I try to measure out half an egg white? Should I round up to two or down to one? What do you think?

    I hope someone sees this…

    1. Hi Katie,

      If your eggs are on the large side, then use just one. If they are smaller, then use two. Either way should get you a nice result.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I have your first book and like the simplicity. The bread always turns out wonderful. I haven’t visited the website since last fall. Upon visiting today, I can no longer find all the previous older recipes you shared with us. Have they been deleted or can you direct me to where they are located on your website? I do see you have a few current recipes I can clink on.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Wende,

      We never erase anything from the website, but we add new content nearly every week, so you will have to let us know what you are looking for and we can help you find it. There is also a search bar on the side of the site that can be helpful when looking through the site.


      1. Thanks Zoe, I did finally find what I was looking for. It was a video Jeff made on how to use lean dough and add dried fruit, etc. I needed a refresher on how to do it.
        Thanks agai to you and Jeff for all the great additional ideas and recipes you have provided to those of us you have your books.

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