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These rolls have been around since at least 1760. It is possible that the actual recipe has been around since before that time. The current roll, as far as the way they look today, we know has been around since the afore mentioned date. Sometimes this roll has been called a Vienna Roll. Some may refer to this bread as simply a ‘hard roll.’

The basic ingredients include flour, salt, yeast, and malt. The traditional bread has a star pattern on top made by specific cuts in the dough prior to baking. Modern bakeries press the pattern into the dough. This is a traditional bread of Austria, believed to have been named in honor of the Kaiser Franz Joseph I, of Austria.

Modern Production

Today, the bread is mass produced all over the world. Rare is the bakery where you cannot find a freshly made Kaiser. They are made with a process that is called ‘sweet fermentation’ which relies on having the best ingredients. The flour and the yeast must be of high quality. The reason the rolls became popular in the first place was this fermentation that left them with a sweet taste in place of the acidic flavor other breads so common in the 1700s.

This bread is popular today for reasons in addition to its flavor. The rolls keep extremely well. They can be frozen and maintain freshness for up to three months. This allows for mass production at factory bakeries that can then ship them out to grocery store chains and fast food chains. In New York, it has become a popular bread for breakfast sandwiches. They contain roughly 220 calories each and come in many modern-day specialty flavors such as jalapeno.

Kaisers have gained in commercial popularity due to the fact that they hold together better than a regular hamburger bun. For this reason, restaurants have discovered the functionality of using this roll in place of hamburger buns. Not only are they more functional, but they add a distinctly sweeter flavor to recipes. Restaurants often seek ways to separate themselves from the herd and the Kaiser gives them this option. By adding a different flavor with a bun that also holds up well, the Kaiser has given a new diversity to eating out.

Are They Good for Me?

Kaiser rolls are a source of gluten, so those with gluten intolerance need to be careful. Salt is used in their production so sodium is also present, but not exceedingly high amounts. Those with specific food allergies or dietary needs should always read labels. If you have not yet tried one of these amazing rolls then you should definitely give them a whirl. You may be one of very few in the entire world who have not had them. If you have yet to make a sandwich on one then now is the time to try it. Grilled chicken with avocado and tomato are delicious on a Kaiser. You simply have no idea what you are missing out on. Go try a piece of history.

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Posted by Sean M. Madden