Kaiser Roll

Kaiser roll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kaiser roll
Alternative namesVienna roll, hard roll, water roll
TypeBread roll
Place of originAustria
Region or stateVienna
Main ingredientsFlourbarmmalt, water, salt
VariationsMichetta, rosetta
Food energy
(per serving)
200 (100 g) kcal
Other informationglycaemic load 40 (100 g)[1]

The Kaiser roll (Emperor rollGermanKaisersemmel), also called a Vienna roll (Wiener Kaisersemmel; as made by hand also: HandsemmelSlovenekajzerica), kajzerka or a hard roll, is a typically crusty round bread roll, originally from Austria. It is made from white flouryeastmalt, water and salt, with the top side usually divided in a symmetric pattern of five segments, separated by curved superficial cuts radiating from the centre outward or folded in a series of overlapping lobes resembling a crown.[2] The crisp Kaisersemmel is a traditional Austrian food officially approved by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.[3]

Semmel (derived from Latinsimilawheat flour) is the common name for any kind of roll in Austria and the German state of Bavaria, similar to Brötchen in Northern Germany or Weck / Weckle in Baden-Württemberg.


Kaiser rolls at a court banquet of Maria Theresa about 1760, detail from a painting by Martin van Meytens

Kaiser rolls have existed in a recognizable form since at least 1760. They are thought to have been named to honor Emperor (KaiserFranz Joseph I of Austria (born 1830, reigned 1848–1916). In the 18th century a law fixed retail prices of Semmeln (bread rolls) in the Habsburg monarchy. Allegedly, the name Kaisersemmel came into general use after the bakers’ guild sent a delegation in 1789 to Emperor Joseph II (b. 1741, r. 1765–1790) and convinced him to deregulate the price of bread rolls.[citation needed]

With its monarchical connotation, Kaiser rolls stood out against common rolls known as Mundsemmeln (“mouth rolls”) or Schustersemmeln (“cobbler’s rolls”). They are traditionally found in Austria, but have also become popular in other countries of the former Austrian Habsburg Empire, such as the Galicia region in Poland and later the whole country (where it is known as kajzerka), CroatiaSlovenia, and Serbia (kajzerica), Hungary (császárzsemle), the Czech Republic (císařská žemle, císařská houska,[4] kaiserka) and Slovakia (kaiserka), as well as in Germany, the United States, and Canada. During Austrian rule in LombardyItalian bakers produced a hollow version known as michetta or rosetta.


A handmade Kaiser roll is known as a Wiener Kaisersemmel (Handsemmel) according to the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus standards collection.[5]

There are multiple variants of the common roll, differing in size, type of flour used, and toppings. While traditionally plain, Kaiser-style rolls are today found topped with poppy seedssesame seedspumpkin kernelslinseed, or sunflower seeds. The Kaiser roll is a main part of a typical Austrian breakfast, usually served with butter and jam. It is often used as a bun for such popular sandwiches as hamburgers in America, and with a slice of Leberkäse in Germany and Austria, though sliced Extrawurst and pickled gherkins (Wurstsemmel), or a type of Wiener Schnitzel (Schnitzelsemmel) are also used. A variation called a kümmelweck (alternatively spelled “kimmelweck” or “kummelweck”)[6] is topped with kosher salt and caraway, and in the United States is an essential component of a Buffalo-area specialty, the beef on weck sandwich.

In much of eastern New York state — New York CityLong Island, the Hudson Valley and the Adirondacks — and throughout New Jersey and Connecticut, Kaiser rolls are known as “hard rolls”, and are staples of delicatessen and convenience stores.

The Wisconsin variety of “hard roll”, which was formed over the decades by the bakeries of Sheboygan to be paired with the local specialty of bratwurst (either in a long single bun or circular “double brat” roll), features a fluffy consistency on the inside with a crust on the crown of the bun, though most of the steps and some ingredients in the creation of Sheboygan hard rolls are proprietary, and can vary by each bakery’s own recipe.[7][8]

Kaiser Rolls

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.


16 rolls

These rolls can be enjoyed plain with soup or used for sandwiches. I make them at least once a month. This kaiser roll recipe earned me a blue ribbon at the county fair. —Loraine Meyer, Bend, Oregon
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  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • Poppy and/or sesame seeds
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  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt, the remaining warm water and sugar, and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 16 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°. Beat egg white and cold water; brush over rolls. Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds. With scissors, cut a 1/4-in.-deep cross on top of each roll.
  5. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 225 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

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Reviews35 Comments

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  • What a lovely recipe. SUPER easy and very delicious. I used my stand mixer to knead the dough so there was little effort involved. The only change I would make would be shape them larger, maybe 12 instead of 16 so each one was a little bigger. But that’s a tiny quibble, and a personal preference.

  • This was my first time making this recipe and they turned out perfect! I used my stand mixer with dough hook for kneading and didn’t need a full 6 cups of flour, but otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and they are delicious! Very light, the bottoms didn’t burn as some other comments said. I t…See more

  • I made these for someone who misses New England bulkies – she thought these were excellent. I made thm a little larger (to simulate bulkies which are huge) and got 11 from the dough. The dough was easy to work and baked in 15 minutes.

  • OK Maybe it’s just me but they came out a bit dense and yeasty tasting. I expected a light more airy roll. Lastly if I didn’t give them 15 minutes to bake the tops were not brown at all. After the 15 minutes the bottoms were getting hard. More like biscuits then rolls. I think I’ll try bread flour …See more

  • Thanks for the excellent recipe! I have made these buns 5 times now. Even though I took short cuts the first 3 times, by cutting the rise time short or increasing the temp by 25 degrees, because I didn’t allow myself enough time between activities, the buns turned out well. When I actually fo…See more

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