New York City Breads and Rolls, Bake Goods

When I was young I used to buy Hard Rolls and this was something that I could only find in New York City. I am in my 70’s and have called all over looking for a supplier without finding anyone that had any idea what I was talking about. I hope someone here may have an answer that will help me find the techniques on baking the Rolls or find a source.

I’ve had good results taking a regular sourdough dough and making 100g rolls instead of a boule. I proofed the rolls on parchment and then cooked them at 475 F on a preheated stone, cast iron pan underneath with boiling water thrown on it just before sliding the parchment onto the stone. 20 min cook time.

All that said, I’m not sure exactly what rolls you’re aiming for. Do you have a picture or a link?

I wish I had a photo. Some of markets have rolls but not like I remember. The last time I had one was back in the late 70’s. Some have poppy seeds and some have other seeds. Larger the a bagel without a hole. maybe like a kaiser roll but with a crusty outer. Hard roll: The traditional breakfast sandwich of the northeast’s tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is believed to be one of the earliest forms of the breakfast sandwich in the United States. It consists of a hard roll, eggs, cheese and sausage, bacon or ham.
In New york

This is as close as I can get. I would like to make them seeing how no one seems to sell them anymore.

the photo may not be correct but the link will tell you about them.

Okay, now I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.
“Egg and cheese on a roll saltpepperketchup.” I can’t remember if it was better to say “regular coffee no sugar” or "coffee, milk no sugar"
I lived and worked in NYC for several years. :slight_smile:

Kaiser Roll is the term you want to google to find recipes. There’s a stamp to make that shape on the top.
Looks like a 425’F bake for 15-20 minutes for about ~100g dough per roll.

I only wish it was that easy but I have did the Kaiser Roll trip. I think the good old bakers are all gone. Like I said I am 72 years old and I was about 30 years old the last time I had some. My home was upper new york state and the 4.5 hours drive to queens,ny where I found a bakery that had the hard rolls and the newer version Kaiser. I have been looking for a long time. I had a friend who sent me what was to be hard rolls but it turned out to not be. I was hoping someone like yourself would see the question and my life would be complete. However I will talk another look. Thank you and I will let you know.

After hours of looking I found 3 that may be close. I have them listed here just in case someone else would like to try. Thank you and I hope others will add to this list.

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons poppy or sesame seeds
Mix, then knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand, stand mixer, or in the bucket of a bread

machine programmed for the dough cycle — to make a smooth, supple dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the

dough to rise until noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Divide the dough into six equal

pieces. Shape the pieces into round balls, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Center your kaiser stamp over one ball of dough. Press down firmly, cutting nearly to the bottom but not all the

way through. (See “tips,” below.) Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Place the rolls cut-side down (this helps them retain their shape) onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined

baking sheet. Cover the rolls, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they’ve almost doubled

in volume. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Turn the rolls cut-side up. Dip their tops in milk, and coat with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
Bake the rolls for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and feel light to the touch. Remove them from

the oven, and cool on a rack.
Serve rolls warm, or at room temperature. Store leftover rolls, well wrapped, at room temperature for a couple

of days; freeze for longer storage.

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cold water
Poppy and/or sesame seeds
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the

remaining warm water and sugar. Beat in oil, salt and 4 cups flour until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour

to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 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. 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. 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

tops of rolls. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 16 rolls.

Pâte Fermentée:
5 ounces (1 1/8 Cups) all-purpose flour
5 ounces (1 1/8 Cups) bread flour
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 Cup room temperature water (you might need a few extra Tablespoons)
Kaiser Dough:
The above batch of Pâte Fermentée
20 ounces (4 1/2 Cups) bread flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon barley malt syrup (or 2 Teaspoons malt powder)
2 Teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 1/2 Cups lukewarm water
Poppy Seeds or sesame seeds for topping
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

King Arthur has a recipe for Ciabatta Rolls. They are not really Ciabatta but I’ve made the recipe modified to use my starter but many reviewers made the recipe as written with instant yeast. The recipe makes a very good crusty sandwich bun and might be close to what you are looking for. that is a link to the blog post. There is a separate recipe post as well.

I will try any

I will try all I can. Thank you

We used to call them bulkie rolls in Boston back in the day. They had better crusts than the current crop. I doubt they were stamped back then, and not sealed in plastic. I will watch to see which recipe you like and then try them myself. Nostalgia!

I think these are great. I thank you for posting all these recipes. The reason why these rolls were so great were they were never ever stale. for me a good egg sandwich is all about the roll!

Yes, you are so right. An egg over easy on a hard roll!!

Pâte Fermentée:
Equal amounts of flour and water but weight.
1/2 Teaspoon instant yeast
Water at room temperature
I let it stand some 9 hours but longer should be ok. When it stop bubbling it’s done.
Or try this
This information is good to have on hand.

Making the fermented dough:
Knead 10 min in slow speed with the mixer:

Flour of tradition 1 kg
550 g water
Salt 20 g
Yeast 2 g

Leave to ferment in the bakehouse for 15 hours.

the poolish recipe

This method of manufacture has its origin in Poland, and it is the Viennese bakers who introduced it in France for Marie Antoinette.

What is a poolish?
Unlike leaven, the poolish is liquid and starts with yeast, the quantity of which varies according to the fermentation time and the temperature of the room, for example:
2 hours of fermentation: 20 g of yeast per kilogram of flour,
8 hours of fermentation: 5 g of yeast per kilogram of flour.
In the realization of a poolish one always bases itself on the quantity of water, which can go from half to 4/5 of the quantity necessary for the manufacture of the final dough. That is, if 30 liters of water are needed for the final dough, we will take 15 liters of water and the same amount of flour for a poolish of “half”, and so on ( more yeast needed). The poolish is indeed made of equal parts of flour and water, which is why it is liquid.
Then add the rest of the ingredients, including the salt, for kneading. The poolish is ready for use at the end of the time determined by the amount of yeast used, but also when it is found that it “digs”, it collapses in the center.

Poolish is used as well for technical reasons (for the baker). Indeed, for many reasons, the bread will generally be more beautiful than a traditional bread. It also allows to bring a good taste, not too acidic, and a better conservation of the bread.
Kaiser Dough:
Using the above Pâte Fermentée
Changes are in bold just under the list I started with.
20 ounces (4 1/2 Cups) bread flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon barley malt syrup (or 2 Teaspoons malt powder) see change below
½ half cup of Diastatic Malt Powder (kingarthurflour)
2 Teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 Cups lukewarm water. Add water so you can work the flour.
Poppy Seeds or sesame seeds for topping
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting.I used bread flour when working the dough.
Errors I made on this attempt.
I should have waited longer before shaping the dough or use less yeast.
When I shaped the dough I made 4 to 4 ¾ balls. I should have used a glass or something to make dough about 1 to 2 inches high and let them prof until 3 inches tall. I made a cross grove into the buns using the back side of a knife. Let them prof upside down and turn right side up before going into the oven set to 425. If you are going to use seeds, put the seeds on the surface you are using to prof. The seeds will attach them self to the dough.
Points to think about. I pulled them at 190 F internal temperature. The rolls had a good* looking browning at this point. The taste was not right on this try. I feel a longer proofing time after shaping is needed and the size will help this.
Still needs some more work but they came out of the oven all some 24 of them and within two hours they were gone. Only myself and two others eat all of them and yes eggs over easy made them taste even better. If anyone gives this a try you will not be unhappy but give me more time to get it right.

I strongly recommend “Inside the Jewish Bakery” - Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg. Great book and fantastic recipes. They have what you are looking for.

Thank you but I have the book. It’s close to what I remember but it falls short of the real thing. I started eat the rolls when I was 5 years old and would eat around five every day until I went into the service. The book is a good for old breads and a history of what was around at that time.

I made a stab at this but I don’t think it will make your or anyone’s life complete :wink: Moreover I used yeast water in addition to sourdough starter, so I realize it’s not repeatable for most. I will do it again at some point, probably with larger rolls.
18 100g rolls

500g bread flour
250g all purpose flour
250g whole grain red fife flour
360g water
225g yeast water
190g yogurt
100g cold starter
3 tsp salt

475F 20 min

Half I shaped into circles and half I did a Kaiser shape. Roll a tube, tie it in a knot, tuck the ends into the middle, one over and one under.

Type into YouTube “shape a Kaiser or rosette dinner roll”

We’re about the same age and background and I ate the same NYC rolls.

After baking, the Kaiser rolls changed within hours. Straight from the oven, they have a very thin crust. Described like egg shell. After a few hours the crust changes depending on how the rolls were stored. Left open on the table, the crust would get harder. But in a bag, the crust would get soft, almost soggy. And there’s everything in-between.

Bread recipes are very tolerant and forgiving. The rolls you ate in NYC would never have been made with butter, milk, or dairy. And, I’m not sure but I think it’s 1 teaspoon of diastatic malt powder for every 3 cups of flour. Half a cup sounds too much. That was also something that was not used in NYC bakeries. Maybe malt syrup but not diastatic flour. Some bakeries used egg in the dough. Mine bakery didn’t use egg. Dinner rolls and challah, yes. Rolls were topped with poppy or sesame seeds.

The big thing about the rolls is baking them with steam. Something that home ovens can’t duplicate even with pans of water and spray bottles. But it comes close.

The recipe I use is from the old Jersey Bakery in Hudson, NY and I scale the recipe down to 1/4. Reducing the recipe changes it, but it’s good enough for me. I’ve also given up kneading and use the modified stretch and fold x4 shown in the Breadtopia video for “almost no-knead bread.” I use all purpose flour and ADY that I add to dry ingredients without dissolving. Following a tip from Ginsberg’s book, “Inside The Jewish Bakery” I dust rye flour when folding the dough rounds into rolls.


2 ounces FRESH YEAST or 3 Env or 6 3/4 tsp
6 cups WATER
4 tbsp SALT
4 tbsp SUGAR


MIXING: Straight Dough Mixing Method

  1. In a Hobart bowl, place in the yeast and water, and stir with your
    hand to dissolve. Top with the flour, salt, sugar, and shortening.

  2. Using a dough hook, mix on 1st speed for 3 minutes, then 2nd speed for
    7 minutes.

  3. Place the dough in a oiled bowl, and allow to rise for 1 hour.

  4. Punch-down, and scale into 1.75 to 2 ounce pieces (this makes a nice
    sized dinner roll). Round each piece, let rest and fold in Kaiser shape. Place on a parchment lined
    sheet pan which has been dusted with cornmeal.

  5. Proof until doubled in size (30-45 minutes).

  6. Bake at 425 degrees. Steam oven during the first 10 minutes of baking.

I am out of town but will try this when I get back. If listed all the help others have sent me I would be typing for some time. I will give this a go soon.
Thank you

Thanks for sharing! If I don’t want to use vegetable shortening, which do you think is a better substitute? Butter or oil? Probably butter, right?