The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Name Change - Gussied Up Franz Joseph's Emperor Rolls With Seeds

dabrownman's picture

Name Change - Gussied Up Franz Joseph's Emperor Rolls With Seeds

These rolls are SD / YW, caramelized onion, sun dried tomato, bacon, parmesan cheese Emperor Rolls with Seeds so they are pretty much not Kaiser rolls or semmels any more.  We forgot to put in the basil but left it in the formula.


We were reading a post on another unmentioned site on how to make your own sun dried tomatoes.  Tomatoe are 25 cents a pound for Roma ones this week so no time like the present  to dry them.  Sun dried tomatoes have become increasingly more expensive in the store and are very easy to make at home.  I prefer mine roasted slowly with a little salt and Herbs de Provence packed in olive oil so that you get flavored oil too.


After finishing the tomato drying project we were looking around for a new way to use them besides in our standard pizza dough.  We also needed some hamburger buns for our monthly hamburger dinner.


We usually make these no fancy do shaped buns, with parmesan cheese, basil and apple wood smoked bacon but thought that a few minced sun dried tomatoes wouldn’t hurt them any – unlike what FedEx might do to your next package.


This time the apprentice thought we might give Emperor Roll shaping a try for these rolls and stick some; white and black poppy, white and black sesame, basil and nigella seeds on them with egg.  The (2) multi-seeded ones also had kosher salt and chia seeds in the mix.  We recently found some oregano seeds but forgot to use them on purpose - just to be consistent in forgetting stuff we would have liked to put in our recipes .


We also wanted to enrich our last dough for rolls with an egg to go along with the butter, NF milk and olive oil.  They ended up being 75% hydration our recent norm for white breads.


Kaiser rolls are always plain instead of having seeds on them and oddly they have nothing to do with the Kaiser either.  Odd how things get named isn’t it?  Kaiser rolls originate from Vienna, Austria and were supposedly named after the Emperor Franz Joseph but they are never called Emperor rolls.  So we ended up naming these Franz Joeseph's Emperor Rolls with Seeds.  We can understand how Empress Ying would have every right to be miffed bout this.


We shaped the rolls like they do here:


And not the way Norm does here:


Had we known it was Norm at the time, we would have shaped them the authentic way.  Next time for sure.


These Emperor Rolls with Seeds came out nicely brown and went soft as summer rolls tend to do in AZ.   Kaiser Rolls should be crusty and hard for NY authentic ones.



We built the YW and SD levains separately over a 6 hour build with equal amounts of flour for each and 69% hydration.   The dough flours were autolysed with the milk for 4 hours.   When the levains and the dough flours came together we added the egg, oil softened butter, salt and malts and squeezed the dough through our fingers until incorporated.

After the dough had rested for 15 minutes, we did the first of (4) sets of S&F’s on 30 minute intervals.  The first one was (16) ¼ turns reducing by 4 turns each successive set.  The dough rested in a plastic covered oiled bowl in between sets.  After the last set the dough was retarded for 12 hours in the 38 F fridge in the oiled plastic covered bowl.

After the retard was complete we let the dough sit out for 1 hour on the counter to warm up.  We then weighed out (10) 112 g pieces and shaped them into balls.  After a 10 minute rest under plastic on the counter, we rolled out the balls into 14”ropes.

After another 10 minute rest they were shaped into Kaiser rolls and placed on parchment paper on cookie sheets to final proof covered in a plastic trash can liner for 2 hours.  The tops wee brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with the seeds.

Big Betsy was fired up to 450 F with (2) of Sylvia’s steaming bread pans with wet towels in them.  After 45minutes the rolls were ready to bake with additional steam provided by the ½ C of water we tossed into the bottom of the oven.

After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 425 F and then down to 375 F when the steam came out at the 10 minute mark. The rolls were rotated 180 degrees every 5 minutes after the steam was removed to ensure even browning.  They were removed from the oven when they reached 205 F internal temperature about 25 minutes including the steam.  We didn’t brush the tops with milk to keep them soft when they came out of the oven like we normally do since we thought they would go oft enough on their own


YW / SD Combo Starter

Build 1


SD Rye and Desem Starter



Yeast Water









Total Starter












Levain % of Total






Dough Flour









Dough Flour









Non Fat Milk



Dough Hydration






Total Flour



Milk and Water



T. Dough Hydration



Whole Grain %






Hydration w/ Adds



Total Weight






Add - Ins









Red Rye Malt



White Rye Malt



Olive Oil









3 Thick Apple Wood Smoked Bacon Strips

2 T Chopped basil



4 T Caramelized onion.



1/4 C Grated Parmesan



2 T Sun Dried Tomato




isand66's picture

Awesome looking rolls DA.  These look like they need to go on my bake list.  I could see how these will make great burger buns or just about any cheese or meat.  I love sundried tomatoes and have added them myself in the past to bread with great results.  I love the addition of the bacon and of course you can't add bacon without some carmelized onions to take you to flavor town.  I think by leaving the basil out you probably did the right thing as it may have clashed with the bacon and sundried tomatoes.  Better to really taste those ingredients with the onions and leave the basil for your next bake whatever that may be.  I think a garlic, potatoe and basil bread with fresh mozzarella may be in your future....

Nice bake.


dabrownman's picture

the best hamburger buns or sandwich buns we have ever made.  Typical soft moist YW airy crumb with a nice golden brown crust that went soft.   Everything came together for this one after a really bad day otherwise.  Had it for a turkey sandwich for lunch - deliscous and of course will have for hamburgers tonight.  Potato, garlic and basil bread does sound like a good combo.

You will like these rolls a lot when you make them.    Kaiser rolls are fun to make and tasty to eat.

gmabaking's picture

are those gussied up semmels. They look wonderful. Have to try the KA form of shaping. I have tried Norm's but you wouldn't have recognized them as being even slightly related to these.

dabrownman's picture

that if you put water in for milk, dropped the butter, olive oil, malts, bacon, basil, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, then you we pretty close to Norm Berg's Semmels - if you didn't put seeds on them either :-)   His method of shaping them is authentic - unlike KAF's method.  Since I wanted a soft hamburger bun, we enriched the dough to make it a soft roll instead of a hard Semmel. 

This version is as close to real a NY semmel as my German baking apprentice is to a........eeerr.....a real German baking apprentice :-)  They sure are fun to make and are just plain golden brown and delicious.  The YW SD combo levain really makes the crumb open, soft,  airy, light and moist.  We like then with the seeds too.

I got a new seed the other day at WINCO that I have never seen before and can't wait to put it in a bread for Hanseata - shelled watermelon seeds.  They smell just like watermelon too.

These rolls would be very good without the bacon - and remembering to put in the basil.

Glad you liked them. 


Justkneadit's picture

Sorry I had to wipe the drool from my face! Awesome rolls! I might actually be using this recipe very, very soon!


Nice Baking DA

dabrownman's picture

are lip smacking rolls that taste wonderful - might be better if we didn't forget the fresh basil :-)  Ian might be right though,  We think these rolls would be good without the bacon too and then for sure you want to t the basil in.  You could also replace the olive oil with Mojo de Ajo too for a garlicky taste.  So many variants so little time.  You will like them if you try them!

Thanks and glad you liked the semmels.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Call them something else!  Please!  

Yikes!  milk, whole grains, sourdough, and more!   Auch!   It's like calling a red light district a sanctuary for virgins.

I'm sure they're delicious but please, they are anything but semmeln.  


dabrownman's picture

white flour in them Mini .......and they are sort of shaped like a Kaiser Rolls too...... and 2 out of 12 ain't all bad!  I figured if they can name a roll after the German Kaiser Wilhelm when they were made for the Austrian Emperor Fraz Joseph then my German baking apprentice can call one of these a semmel :-)

OK.....OK....  I give up now that you broke my heart with the truth about red light districts.  So what do we call them "Not Your Hard Fraz Joseph Roll"  We await your choice!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm going to use that nickname for the next Frank or Franz I run into.  Lol!  is that with a long "a" or a short one?  :)  

gmabaking's picture

To give the nod to both of those worlds, you could maybe call them "Rosie O'Gradys", or even "The Colonel's Ladies" after all Kipling did point out that they were sisters under the skin....

dabrownman's picture

about naming these rolls Molly Brownladies after my daughter and your thoughtful post. 

My apprentice is also my daughter's adopted sister.  Well, you know how sisters can be when they are young and growing up better than most so I don't have to tell you how my apprentice would have felt without having a roll to name after her too. 

German baking apprentice's can be pretty determined, especially if they want to get even (if you know what I mean) and my apprentice is a real ankle biter as it is.

Plus. the long dead, unsinkable, Titanic surviving, silver rich, Broadway play famous socialite and mega mad hatter, Molly Brown,  might have been confused with this name and we know how confusing the Kaiser Franz Joseph thing turned out.

No sense tempting fate I say :-)  Franz Joseph's Emperor Rolls with Seeds will keep my ankles unscathed if Empress Ying doesn't turn her Nitron Lamp on me for overlooking her.

gmabaking's picture

Molly Brown would not be a lady to confuse. Could turn into an ugly fight. Call them what you wish, just keep posting these good recipes!

I received the Fordish book yesterday and enjoyed the time I was able to spend with it. When I baked the Tartine bread last nighty I even tried his recommendation that you gently dump the dough from the baskets to the counter and then even more gently lift it with the sides of your hands to place it into the dutch oven. I tried the hot DO, hot oven this time. Seems to be a little better oven spring but then I let the dough ferment longer and waited a little over two hours for proofing.

dabrownman's picture

your latest boule!  I used to dump my boules from the basket into the hot DO but switched to inverting the basket onto a wideish parchment sling , using a peel for support when overturning.  Then the boule goes in without never burning yourself - unless you a klutz like me then you just get burned less :-)  They say a hot DO and oven is better for spring but we have good luck either way.  I think that a long slow fermenting bulk rise and proper proofing are more important. 

I have even taken our Multi-grain Challah and let it final proof in a loaf tin and then used my MIL's oval Magnalite roaster with the insert.  The insert lifts the tin off the bottom so you can put 1/4 C of water  on the inside bottom for extra steam and just let it bake the Tartine  DO way.  Easy to get in and out with no burning and gives you a deep dark crust. 

Mebake's picture

Very sunny, very yummy, and very funny too, DA!

Why do you always say we? do you mean your pet apprentice? :)

lovely rolls, food.. and excellent sense of humor, DA!

dabrownman's picture

uses we because our apprentice types these posts as her 4 paws are faster and more accurate than my two fingers.   She is always by my side, doesn't want to get left out or behind and does contribute a certain Germanic Dark Brown Fresh Loafiness to the kitchen and each bake.  A fine nose and taste tester too I might add.  We changed the name to Emperor Rolls with Seeds after receiving proper criticisim about them not being Real Semmel Like or even Kaiser Rollesque for that matter from those who would know.

Glad you liked the rolls and post Khalid.

FlourChild's picture

These look delicious and like great fun to make!  Thanks for  the link to Norm's shaping video, I have done it the other way and will look forward to the authentic method on my next try.

dabrownman's picture

these Emperor Rolls the Norm Berg way and not tell anyone they are shaped just like Kaiser Rolls which are really Emperor rolls :-)  It was interesting watching him work and brought a smile to my face.  These are tasty hamburger buns no matter how they are shaped and would be just as good  w/o the bacon and adding in the basil.

Thanks FlourChild.

AnnaInMD's picture

Semmeln, no no no.......

But they do look delicious !    On a quicky google, this appeared, can be translated



dabrownman's picture

Ingredients for portions

1 kg of flour 1 cube of yeast 600 ml water, lukewarm 20 g sea salt, coarse 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup


All ingredients Knead dough to go and knead again. For party rolls elongated rods form (need not be uniform) dust with flour, place on a plate and let it rise. Otherwise, form small balls of bread and place on a baking sheet and let it rise.
These rolls can be (not a must) with a mixture of egg yolk and 1-2 Tbsp. Water (+ 1 tsp olive oil, if you like it) and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or other grains).
At 200 ° C hot air about 20 minutes baking (depending on size). Working time: 20 minutes Difficulty: Normal

Delicious yes,yes ,yes!  Thanks for posting AnnaInMD