Kaiser Rolls

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My earliest memory of a bread roll is easily the beloved, five-piece kaiser roll.

(And yes, it is totally normal for a food blogger to be able to precisely recall their first encounter with the Chinese throwing star of the yeast world.  First communion, first date, first job – fuzzier.)

To be honest, I never knew they were called kaiser rolls until fairly recently.

I can remember being at restaurants with my family and anxiously anticipating the arrival of the bread basket, often scantily clad in a carelessly draped, creaseless burgundy cloth napkin.  I recall prepping my reflexes for its delivery so as to snatch that rare, bare, shiny-topped roll before my sisters did.

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The unwanted, remaining rolls were plagued with some sort of speckled disease that I wanted no part of.  Moms and dads reveled in the savory, adult sprinkles strewn upon the rest of them.

Dense, cool butter would be spread in almost a one to one ratio with the bread as I would tear its firm but tender exterior into the five perforated pieces one by one so as not to dry them out.  Yes, a sure sign of a veteran was to keep the mother hub together as she worked.

You know, I haven’t had a firm, chewy kaiser roll since I was young.  And lost with that pleasure is also my distaste for the tasty adult seasonings!  Although plain is still the way to test any yeasty delight, I now welcome the dried spices and herbs.

In an attempt to reconnect with my bread-loving, inner kaiser child, I’ve made these babies.

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Missing the signature five-pronged appearance (because apparently there is an acutal tool for this that explains why my lines disappeared in my first attempt), they reflect much of the old with the new.  Softer than I remember, this recipe still provided excellent flavor.

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Perfect for any dinner, I hope you’ll share both this recipe and the mother hub technique with any poor kiddos who were never equipped with this life-altering dinner survival method.

Homemade Kaiser Roll Recipe

Looking for more yeast recipes that include dried spices?  Don’t miss these crowd-pleasing Everything Crackers.

Kaiser Rolls

Adapted from Taste of Home

  •  4  1/2 tsp dry, active yeast
  • 2 C warm water, 115F
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 – 6 1/2 C flour
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp cold water

Dissolve the yeast in a half of a cup of the water along with 1 T sugar.  Allow to proof for 10 minutes.  Yeast should be foamy.

Add the oil, salt, water, remaining sugar and 4 C of the flour and mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.  Add the remaining flour a half cup at a time until a soft dough forms.  You may not need all 6  1/2 C flour.  Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes in a mixer using the dough hook.  Place the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  This takes roughly an hour.  Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8-10 pieces based on how large you’d like your rolls.  I then broke those pieces into halves to twist and then form a circle as shown above, but you may keep them whole and round if desired.

Brush the risen rolls lightly with oil, cover and allow to rise until doubled.  This takes about 30 minutes.  While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 400F. Brush each piece with an egg wash consisting of whisking the egg white and the water.  Sprinkle with toppings or score if desired.  Bake for about 15 min or until golden brown.  Cool and enjoy!

Kaiser Rolls Toppings:  

After adding the egg wash, I sprinkled on poppyseeds, garlic powder, dried and minced onion and caraway seeds.

High Altitude Yeast Kaiser Roll Recipe Adjustments at 5,280 ft:  

Use only 3  1/2 tsp total of dry, active yeast and use 2  1/2 tsp salt instead.  All other ingredients remain the same.  For procedure changes, only allow dough to rise until doubled, which may go quicker than at sea level.  Note that these bake fast so be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

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