Viennese Kaiser Rolls

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability. 

Let’s hop on our virtual plane, it’s time for Eat the World and we’re heading to Austria.

I am not Austrian, but one branch of my family considers themselves “Germans from Austria” meaning they maintained their German heritage while living in Austria before coming to the US.  I do not know as much about that history as I do about my “German from Russia/Ukraine” history.

As I was researching, I found many recipes that sounded delicious, as recipes from this area of Europe often do.  Then I was lured by yet another bread recipe (I just love bread!)  I was intrigued when I found the recipe for Kaiser Rolls.  I had always thought of Kaiser Rolls as a German food and while they are popular in the bordering country of Germany (and many other bordering countries as well), these originated in Austria.  

Kaiser rolls originated in the mid-1700s. Legend states that they were named for the king (kaiser) at the the time for their resemblance to a crown.  Legend also states that the kaiser may have mandated the price and bakers that could produce these rolls, making them more exclusive.

Kaiser Rolls are instantly recognizable by the star pattern in the center.  Today, there are several ways to achieve this.  The easiest is to purchase a kaiser rolls stamp, which cuts a star pattern into the top of the roll (I believe most commercial kaiser rolls are made this way as it yields a fast, consistent shape).  There are also two hand folding methods I found in my research.  The first involved flattening the dough and creating loops over the baker’s thumb, but I found it hard to understand.  The third method creates the pattern by braiding the dough similar to a pretzel or challah.  Being no stranger to braiding bread, this was the easy winner in my book.

Spud originally thought that I’d made pretzels (a favorite of his at one time) but was equally pleased with the kaiser rolls.  These versatile rolls can be split to hold a burger or pulled pork, are great with soup, or, if you’re Dude and Spud, you just munch them plain! 

Check out all the wonderful Austrian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Find out how to join Eat the World here and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! 

Recipe Note:

Traditionally, these rolls call for barley malt as the sweetener.  I’ve never seen barley malt locally (I believe it’s more popular in Europe), but research showed that molasses, while not a perfect substitute,  is acceptable in this case.

Kaiser Rolls

Adapted from My Urban Treats


1 cup very warm water (110 degrees F)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 ½ teaspoon molasses

½ cup milk, room temperature

2 tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon salt

3 ¼ - 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour

To top (optional)


Sesame seeds

Poppy seeds

Place the water in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Whisk in the yeast and molasses and set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.  

Add the milk, butter, salt, and half the flour and mix until smooth.

Switch to the dough hook, add the remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes.  The dough should be soft and silky, it can be tacky but not sticky.  Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 2.5 ounce balls.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes.

Roll each dough ball into a 12-inch log and fold into a crown shape - see photo above or video.  Place on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.  Cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Once risen, brush each roll lightly with milk and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.  Bake in the preheated oven 15-18 minutes or until browned.

Cool on wire racks completely before slicing.

Amy Eats the World in...

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)
Ireland: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale
Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
Portugal: Bitoque (Steak & Eggs) 
Germany (Christmas Special): Lebkuchenherzen (German "Gingerbread" Cookies) 
Trinidad & Tobago: Trini Macaroni Pie 
Iraq: T'bit (Slow Cooked Chicken & Brown Rice) 
Fiji: Fijian Creamy Lentil Soup (Dhal) 
Senegal: Cafe Touba (Senegalese Spiced Coffee) 
Colombia: Cañón de Cerdo (Colombia-Style Pork Loin Roast) 
Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce 
Bangladesh: Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding) 
The Netherlands: Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep) 
Laos: Khao Piak Sen (Lao Chicken Noodle Soup) 
Jamaica: Chicken &  Pumpkin Soup 
Vietnam: Vietnamese Chicken Porridge (Chao Ga) 
Sudan: Red Lentil Soup (Sudanese Addas) 
Luxembourg: Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent)
Uruguay: Pasta Caruso

Lesotho: Borotho Bread
Scotland: Tattie Scones
Native American Tribes of North America: Wild Rice, Squash, & Corn Soup
Guyana: Butterflaps
Réunion Island: Rougail Z'Andouille
Australia: Fairy Bread
Turkey: Simit Bread

Philipines: Pork Siomai


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