The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

NY Hard Rolls - HELP

JerryMac's picture

NY Hard Rolls - HELP

Here is a real challenge,

Anyone know where I can find a recipe for a REAL NY hard roll ?

Anyone from the NY area knows what I mean about the texture and taste or real NY hard rolls.

I don't live in the NY area any more, NC , and you can't buy a real hard roll here to save your life. All they know here is "white" bread.

I've found many recipes for "hard rolls" on the net and in cook books but these are not "NY hard rolls"

HELP PLEASE - I'M desperate


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What do they look like, color, texture, density?  Is it a white roll?   --Mini Oven

rgruenhaus's picture

Why can't we add a picture to the reply?  I have a picture of them.

pmccool's picture


You can.  The menu line at the top of the Comment box (which I'm looking at as I type this) has an icon that shows a tree.  It's the next-to-rightmost item on the menu; the only thing to the right of it is HTML.

Click on the icon and a small new window pops up.  In the first line of that new window, you can paste in a link with the location of your photo (I use Photobucket; others will work just as well).  You can provide a title if you wish, and size the photo, too.  Here's a sample:

This pic is sized at 640x480.

Hope that helps.


moma's picture

I use Copy the link called: Direct Link for Layouts and paste it in the upper line (in the 'tree button')

juju88's picture

i cant seem to upload a photo

Cooky's picture

Do you mean hard dinner rolls? Or bigger version, that you could use for a sandwich? I'm thinking you're talking about white rolls with very crunchy crusts, but pretty airy curmb inside. With maybe seeds or cornmeal on top? 


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

JerryMac's picture


Trying to describe the taste of real NY hard roll to someone who has never had one is like

to describe the taste of Gumbo to someone who has never had it. If you've had it . you know what I mean.


They are a White dough light but chewy inside and a crurst that is crispy and at the same time 

almost flaky. The crust is the hard part. There must be an ingredient in the formula that I just can't 

figure out.  

They are big enough to make a decent size sandwich and are not usualy with any seeds.

I have not found one for sale anywhere in the country other than NY city and north Jersey.

I realy hope someone from that area can come back with a recipe.




sammees's picture

Do you remember the hard rolls with butter that you could get at the local coffee shop in NJ?Nobody that ever ate one would ever compare them to the mush they call kaiser rolls. Still looking for that perfect recipe.Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in Austria.  A real Kaiser roll, lovingly called a Semmel.  (a Kaiser is an Emperor, namely of an Austrian/ Hungarian Empire, hence the name.  The Empire declined, the roll stuck.)  It is a hard roll shaped with a special folding technique.   Asking to describe does not mean I've never had one.  Times and recipes change, milling techniques, even names can change, esp. in an ever changing society.  Sorry to come down so hard, but I get a little touchy when someone blatantly insults my favorite roll.

I once bought a package of "Kaiser rolls" in Pennsylvania that were more like soft hamberger buns.  Yuck! Not what I expected.

I recommend starting with the Kaiser roll recipe and work on technique to get the roll desired.  Seriously.  Or look up recipes for Semmel or Semmeln.  :)


John Ambrose's picture
John Ambrose

I know exactly what you mean. For many years the standard breakfast was a hard roll with butter and a coffee dark no sugar.

The closest I have come to a real hard roll is using Norm's onion roll formula with a bit less oil. Rather than punching the dough down before the last proof, as Norm recommends for the onion roll, leave in the boule shape and be sure to steam for the not too crunchy outside.


dablues's picture

I'm originally from NYS and definitely know NY Hard Rolls.  Can't find them down here in GA.  Not, like NY anyway!

LoneStarJerseyStyle's picture

Jerry, omg, this convo. is so painful to read when ya know what you are talking about. lol

I actually found this site through your post, as I am in search of the same hard roll...  Did you ever get it? Maybe write to one of these shows where they go and find out the secrets of the best of the best of things, like on the food network, etc.?

I'll let you know, if I can find you, if I find the recipe/technique... You do the same please! :)



Wayne's picture

This is probably not what you are looking for, but the recipe makes a great "hard" roll or bun.  They are nice and hard and do not seem to soften.


JerryMac's picture


Tried that one and it's the crust that's not rite.

That crust is crunch. NY rolls are between crunch and flake.

There has to be an ingredient that I through my limited knowledge have just not

figured out.

Thanks anyway ;)



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


Rosalie's picture

Are you talking about kaiser rolls?  I remember them as having a holey crumb much like today's artisan breads, and being a bit on the dry side so that they staled quickly.  They were not round, and they had poppy seeds on top.

By Googling '"kaiser roll" recipe' I found recipes and pictures at


alconnell's picture

It's not really a kaiser roll - just go to any good deli in NY/NJ and ask for a hard roll and you'll see.  Or you can find them at many diners.  How about Taylor Ham and Egg on a hard roll??  Boy, do I miss them.  I've tried all those recipes and more and had little success.  I don't believe they have much fat in them as they go stale overnight.  I sure would love a good recipe for them. 

Cooky's picture

I know the kind of rolls you're talking about, (I lived in NJ for almost five years) and I have a feeling that the special crust texture you're talking about is a function of baking technique more than ingredients. If you had a professional steam-injection oven, you probably could get a similar result using something like Floyd's daily bread recipe. On the other hand, there might be some "improver" of some kind involved -- malt? ascorbic acid? 

If there are any pro bakers out there from the NY/NJ area, I too would love to hear your insights on these great rolls. 


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

Susan's picture

Here you go: All the Taylor's Ham you can afford. It's delicious!

Susan from San Diego

JerryMac's picture


We suffer the same PAIN :(

 Taylor Ham, Egg & Chesse  on a "Hard Roll" for breakfast, Heaven :(


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

For a denser roll, let rise and knock down twice in the bowl before shaping. Yeah, well, it's a basic kaiser roll recipe. I would cross check for temps and such.


Hard Rolls

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water (or beer/water or water + 1 teasp vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 - 3 3/4 cups sifted AP white wheat flour
  • one egg white + pinch of salt to brush over rolls

Soften yeast in warm water. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, beat well. Add salt. Stir in about 1 3/4 of remaining flour. Dough should be stiffer than for regular bread. Turn out onto highly floured surface. Cover let rest 10 minutes. Knead till elastic 15-20 min (wow) using remaining 1/4-1/2 c. flour. Place in a greased bowl and allow to double. Punch down and shape into 12 balls. Allow to rise in a warm place, covered. Brush with egg white and bake in moderately hot oven.

I think Cooky is right with the point on technigue. What's done with the dough makes all the difference. --Mini Oven


shelzahav's picture

What do you do with the sugar?

dmsnyder's picture
stevek's picture

you miss the pizza and the putata salad as well (lived in NC myself), among other things. The closest I've been able to come up with for the rolls:

HG Flour 100%

Water 60%

Instant Yeast 1%

Salt 1.875%

Sugar 1.875%

Vegetable Shortening 1.875%

Mix with dough hook at 1st speed for 3-4 minutes then mix at second speed until fully developed (approximately 7-8 minutes). Bulk proof until double, punch down, scale and shape into rolls (5 oz makes a pretty good roll). Proof again until fully doubled. Bake at 400 for about 18 minutes. Steam for the first 10 minutes.'s picture

We are big fans of New Jersey hard rolls and I too have been longing for a recipe. Last week when we were there, we stopped in Friedman's bakery to get some hard rolls for breakfast. I asked the guy that assisted us if he knew anywhere I could get a recipe. He replied that he didn't know of any published source and that they are very time consuming to make. When pressed for the ingredients, he mentioned yeast, flour, sugar, and malt. I'm sure there are probably other ingredients but wanted to share this information - perhaps the malt in the secret ingredient.

JerseySu's picture

When I first moved to Missouri, (where there are ABSOLUTELY NO "REAL" BAKERIES to speak of) I stopped at the bakery counter of a local grocery store. I asked them if they had any hard rolls? Perplexed, the baker behind the counter said, "Um...How hard do you want them?" She thought I was looking for old, stale bread. LOL I explained what I was looking for, and she wrinkled up her nose and said she never heard of anything like that. BTW, They aint hearda pork roll either! Bummer:(

Needless to say, I don't think it matters which recipe you use, it won't be the same. I believe it has to do with the water. Unless you bottle up some of Jerseys or New York finest tap, and haul it back home with you, it's NOT gonna come out right. It's just like Pizza and Bagels. My brother worked at a Pizzeria for years, and made the best pie ever. He came out west to visit me, and I pleaded with him to make me a pie, while he was here. While the sauce was close to usual, the crust was not. It didn't rise the same, it wasn't crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. My conclusion? It's the good old NJ Waughter.

 The first thing I do when I get off the plane, is hit the bakery for hard rolls, then the supermarket for Taylor pork roll:)

jakleg's picture

  Kaiser rolls here in Texas can sometimes be as good as "hard" rolls in nyc but are not nearly as predictable. I remember hard rolls having a chewy crust and being sectioned into 5 or 6 pieces if you pull them apart. I also remember buttered hard rolls wrapped in butcher paper waiting in baskets at the deli's I visited mornings on Long Island. Yum.

   I am so glad someone started a thread on this. I thought myself alone.

   These look good I may try it. Trouble is they only last a day. 

richawatt's picture

I'm from Fallsburg NY, and I miss the rolls, the bagels, the bread, the pizza, all things baked in NY is a step above

obrienforensics's picture

And here I thought my hubby and I were the only ones in NC who spent countless hours while "visions of hard rolls dance in our heads."

Jakleg - did you try the recipe at

It looks and reads like a hard roll. The word Kaiser and the poppy seeds don't scare me - the NY rolls we got came with and without seeds. It combines the malt ingredient and oven with water other folks have mentioned.


nbicomputers's picture

How did i miss this thread

if you are from ny then the word webers of fordham road might mean somthing.  well i hope it does cause i spent many happy years baking there

i still live in the bronx and to find an end to your quest just look here but remember the onions are optional

the same dough was used for kaiser and hard rolls.

sugar 3/4 oz

malt  1/4 

oil 3/4 oz

eggs 3\4 oz

salt 1/4 oz

water 8 0z

cake yeast 1 oz

hi gluten flour 1 lb

Small bakery mix

sugar 6 oz

malt syrup 2 oz

salt 2 oz

eggs 6 oz

oil 6 oz

yeast 6 oz

water 4 pounds (2 quarts)

Hi gluten flour 8 pounds

The large bakery mix uses 80 pounds of flour and thats the one i made 3 times a week sometimes 4

obrienforensics's picture

Norm, I went to the links you posted and everyone who tried your recipe is raving! However, red faced as I may be, I will ask, “Is this recipe available for “conversion challenged bakers" like me who can only think in amts like cups, tablespoons, etc. I can convert oz to cups, and oz to spoons, but eggs???

Obie (who is ready to make dreams of hard rolls dancing in our NC heads a reality)

dmsnyder's picture

Some ingredients are less predictable than others, eggs being a good example.

Here is a link to a web site with conversion tables, but take them with a grain (or 5 mgms or 1/5 tsp) of salt.


obrienforensics's picture

Sorry Dble entry -My computer quit and my 1st post didn't show up

nbicomputers's picture

hope this helps the rule of thumb is

eggs will convert like water 2 Tbls to the ounce

heavy syrup like malt and corn syrup honey will be abour 3 pounds to the quart or 12 oz to the cup

16 tbs to the cup /12 is about 3/4 ouncer to the table spoon

3 teaspoon = one table spoon so one teaspoon is 1/4 ounce of malt, honey corn  any heavy syrup

since eggs are very close to 2 tablespoons = 1 ounce  1 tablespoon is 1/2 ounce

the mix calls for 3/4 ounce eggs so that would be about 1 and 1/2 table spoons of egg.  just mix them up like scrambled eggs before you mesure them

obrienforensics's picture

Thank You!  I never ever would have figured out the eggs being measured as a liquid after being beaten up.

I cannot wait to try this - just have to get some malt somewhere.


cordel's picture

Can someone describe a hard roll, for me??


obrienforensics's picture

A hard roll is "Hard" to describe and I am not being sarcastic.  It is made from egg dough, but is not yellow inside and looks exactly like the rolls called "Kaiser" at Some come with poppy, sesame or no seeds. The ones with onion seeds we didn't call hard rolls and those were usually denser and chewier inside - more like those moist, chewy onion rolls commercially made and sold everywhere. THAT being said, Norm the former commercial baker has posted a recipe that reads like a “hard roll sounds” even though his recipe says onion.

(I JUST got my bottle of malt and plan to try his recipe out next week.)

A HR is less dense than an artisan baguette, and drier than a Parker House Roll (if you know what they taste like.) The crust is key - it should crumble in fairly large pieces when you cut or tear the roll apart, but not into little light flakes like a croissant, more like the crust of a warm artisan baguette.  The crust crumbles at  bubble spots on top that are not evident until you break into the roll. The inside should have some air pockets, too, but small. The top does have the pushed in shape at the center from 4 folds just before baking.

Never, ever microwave a hard roll (or any other bread for that matter.) They taste horrible and rubbery that way. 

(WHAT IS THAT WITH Southern RESTAURANTS THESE DAYS? All the bread is nuked! I might be able to choke down a NC version of a “yeast roll” hot from the oven or even room temp – but nuked?? It is like eating cold calamari. (I have noticed that a “Biscuit” is never nuked and they sure do know how to make Hush Puppies if you do not mind a visit to the cardiologist the next morning! LOL):>)

HRs taste wonderful warm or cold and often bought at room temp with butter smeared in between 1/2s cut across the wide end as they are with sandwich meats and lettuce, etc between.

Imagine that a fresh version HR is a stale version of those "sandwich rolls" sold in every store around the US, but "not stale." Crust is always dry, inside is dry but not chewy. Give them 48hrs on the counter and they will be stale or 48hrs in the refrige and they will be rubber.

Once you eat one, you "just know" for 36hrs when the recipe you are making is right.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Obie.

You just made me hungry! Fortunately, the baguettes are cooling and the chicken paprikash is almost ready.

I believe that hard rolls are synonymous with kaiser rolls and are also sometimes referred to as vienna rolls. I have heard from Norm and also read in Greenstein that the dough for kaiser rolls and onion rolls is the same. The difference is in the topping and the shaping.

Based on this understanding, I have even split a batch of the dough and used half for onion rolls and the other half for kaiser rolls. Both were yummy!


nbicomputers's picture

sorry to go off topic but did you farther like the onion rolls?

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Norm.

It was my father-in-law.

Well, here's what happened: He took a bite. He looked at me. He held the onion roll up by the side of his head, shaking it slowly back and forth. He said, "Good."

With my father-in-law, a word is worth a thousand pictures.

My mother-in-law just took a little taste of one ... 3 onion rolls later ...


Elagins's picture

i can see him clearly in my mind's eye; the silence is eloquent, and the "Good" delivered, no doubt, with a Mona Lisa smile.

cordel's picture

Thanks, Obie, that was a pretty good description for something that can't be described. I do have a sort of a picture, now.

Sparkie's picture

For a small fee, we put various bread like objects in a box and send them toooya

 Only Kidding,  it is very hard to get them now , but I will ask around for you at local bakeries. I know exactly what you want, and have never made them, nor tried to. The crust explodes when you slice them or pat them down after overstuffing them. They are a very over puffy roll, but do vary  in taste.  hence the eternal arguments over best, deli/pizzaria/bakery/pastry shop for who has the best bread cannoli or eyetalian chicken cutles with sauce on hero, AND the bread counts, and the center must be removed. People not from around here are clueless on this one, but it is one of those ludicrous things.

I went to a VERY EXPENSIVE Deli in Winston Salem NC a number of years ago, the salads were GREAT, then I saw the "buckets" , BLUE RIDGE FARMS , Atlantic Avenue where it intersect Conduit Avenue. HAH , they imported pertater salad from Brookalina!!!! The best salads are homemade, not from a bucket, Blue Ridge is the lowest a true NY will go.

 Years later I discovered that the machinery used is very very specialized and there were few place that made the stuff. Weird.

 And to make you drool more a GABILLA Kanish would round out any beyond fattening lunch "mit a smear a mustard". OOIIYY I once worked in their factory, my god, when I tasted one hot from the fryers.  I was in heaven.  And I didn't even have mustard.



Elagins's picture

obviously, you never had Mrs. Stern's (of blessed memory) or Yonah Schimmel's!

Ladyrose's picture

I can so ID with your dilema. this is how I found you!! I am here in Louisiana and they do not know what italian pastries are or hard rolls..... they don't have a clue what a buttered roll and coffee means down here. so sad... but I finally found people who do!!! YEY!! :D


Ok I am going to try the recipe you have above for the norm's onion roll. It actually looks like the roll we are used too.



fscott's picture

I used the Kaiser Roll recipe and sprayed the rolls with water prior to baking. Halfway through (about ten minutes) I sprayed them again. As the recipe instructs, use a pan of boiling water as well. Finally, when they come out of the oven brush with either milk or egg white. This was the closest thing I have had to a NY/NJ Hard Roll. My wife and I moved to NC about five years ago and there is sooooo much food we miss. BTW Harris Teeter near me sells Taylor Ham ;-)'s picture

Hi, I'm a newbie here but I've been reading all the posts for quite a long time now. It was recommended by our daughter, one of the test cooks on America's Test kitchen and also on Cooks' Country, soon to be on radio with Chris Kimball. JerryMac, our other daughter lives in Apex, NC. She at one time worked for Whole Foods in their bakery department. Isn't that an awful job?! Anyway, she sent us some bread from there because she knows of my love for good artisan bread. Having lived in Germany for several years, I grew accustomed to their delicious crusty bread with a soft but chewy center and really don't like what people here eat--"bagged air". She also said it's from LaFarm Bakery which is located in Cary, NC. Their LaFarm bread is a 5 lb boule but is sold in smaller increments and it tastes just like the German "black bread" that has a sour note, probably because he uses a 3-day sour dough recipe.JerryMac, they give baking lessons there and offer several different classes. It might be worth your while to look them up online, check out their classes, maybe go have breakfast or lunch there sometime or try some of their bread at Whole Foods. They are at 4248 Cary Parkway, Cary, NC; phone (919)6577-0657. They also sell their breads, rolls and bakery products online for anyone interested. I'm going to make a trip there after the winter thaw (we live in WV) and take some classes. Enjoy everyone! Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Auf Wiedersehn!

highmtnpam's picture

You have gotten me going again.  In the very, very olden days, the bakery in Ottobueren delivered two fresh semell rolls every morning...and the wonderful brown bread...I could ask for a half loaf and the baker just grabbed a big loaf, held it to his chest, and cut it in half (with the biggest knife I had ever seen). 

I've been baking Karin's recipes for bread. but had given up on finding a semmell recipe.

I was already a bread freak, having lived in France.  But then, living in Germany was the final blow...thank goodness I only visited Austria.  I will try your recipe for semmels (sp?) mentioned a special folding technique??? 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Which forum were you on when I got you going again?   Got your malt handy?  I get better with folding them each time I whip up a batch.  The Recipe is Norm's Rolls, metric, using only the egg white.   I dip my roll tops in a bowl of 3% milk as I invert them and place them on parchment.  Norm explains folding kaiser rolls under Floyd's Kaiser roll forum and now I realize when the last fold is made, the "twist" that he's describing pulls the extra flap of dough over the thumb to the inside.  There is a trick to getting the right amount of flour on the folds.

I've played around with the recipe lately because I had no malt and was trying to coax more flavor from the dough.  I started out mixing up 400g flour and all the water into a shaggy dough to sit in a small oiled container overnight or even longer.  When ready to put the dough together, I put the oil in my mixing bowl, sprinkle oil with the rest of the flour, spread the dough over that, make indentations and sprinkle sugar on the dough.  Then the egg white and finally the yeast.  I let the yeast soften for a few minutes and then stir it with my fingers and knead everything together to form a nice smooth dough. 

Let it rest 10 minutes and then sprinkle with the salt working it into the dough evenly.  Now I have dry malt so I will add a teaspoon and reduce the brown sugar in half mixing them in with the flour.  The recipe is just shy of 800g and I make 8 semmeln.  Dipping in milk leaves a nice shine on the rolls.  Bake with lots of steam the first 5 minutes.  220°C  Release steam and rotate the pan.  Reduce heat to 205°C  until done.  Do not over brown.


latest tweek:

highmtnpam's picture

I was on the NY Hard Rolls thread looking for a hard roll recipe. It's an old thread. People were going on about tasteless Kaiser rolls...Then you answered that they had never tasted a real Kaiser roll or Semmel. I was swept away with memories...and also saved your recipe and instructions... a baking we will go, a baking we will go.. etc

Thanks again, Pam

Pearlcaster's picture

I don;t think your problem is with the recipes you've tried as much as it is with your baking technique.

Any basic white or whole wheat bread recipe will do for hard rolls, the trick to a crunchy crust is two simple steps.  Preheat a HOT oven (400 degrees) and add HUMIDITY to that oven when you put your dough in to cook.  This can be accomplished in many ways, but what I find easiest is to just throw a bowl of ice cubes (two tray's worth) on the floor of of the oven at the same time I put my rolls in to bake.

The lower the humidity and temperature in the oven is when you initially put your bread or rolls in, the softer your crusts will be.

The higher the temperature and humidity is when you initially put the dough in, the crunchier your crusts will be.

Good luck!

Elagins's picture

hi Pearlcaster,

in general, a good post, but there's more to getting a proper crust than just temp and steam.

- the leanness of the dough also matters a lot: in general, enriched dough don't support as much crunch as lean doughs.  in fact, one professional baker's trick is to take a lean bread dough -- say 100% flour, 60 water 2 yeast and 2 salt -- and let it ferment for 2-3 hours, instead of the usual 1 hour.  this allows the enzymes to break down a higher percentage of the starches, which the yeast immediately digest, leaving a much leaner protein lattice.

- second point is the degree of proof. a 3/4 proof roll or bread simply won't get the same kind of crunch as one allowed to go to nearly full proof, since the 3/4 proof product won't have the same degree of wall thinness as the more fully proofed one.

- also, i think 400 is a bit low. generally, if you're looking for crust, 450 is probably about the right temp, with a 500 to 550 preheat if you're steaming

-lastly, i don't understand why people use ice cubes to generate steam, since the colder the water is -- in this case 32F, the more BTUs will be required to melt it, which takes away from oven heat. from my own experience, i find that pre-steaming with a cup of boiling water with a second one after 3-5 minutes works very well (btw, i don't turn my oven down to bake temp until after the second steaming)

my thoughts, for what they're worth

Stan Ginsberg

hk1's picture

I see that this thread is over four years old already but it just doesn't die. I'm going to leave a few of my own comments on Hard Rolls.

When I visited Southern Germany and Northern Austria during the summer of 2009, we had lovely little crusty rolls every morning for breakfast. I've seen some descriptions here that accurately describe the crust as flaky. In my own experience, hard rolls are not rock hard but are rather crunchy, crusty and flakey. I might mention that I know these types of rolls to be called by their German names, Brotchen or Semmel (used pretty much interchangeably the way I understand).

I've seen quite a few mention Kaiser Rolls on previous posts in this thread. I do think that the term is correct for this type of roll but I do have to caution you that probably 99% of all Kaiser rolls sold in the US will not meet your expectations if you are expecting a hard, crusty, flaky crust.

Months after I got home from Germany I decided to try to find a recipe to make these crusty rolls. I did lots of searching and found numerous recipes. I compared the ingredients in all of them an finally settled on one of the simplest. What I did find out in my quest to find a recipe was that the steaming during baking is actually what makes these rolls hard and crusty. As the last poster pointed out, there's more to it than just that. The ingredients, proof time, and oven temperature do matter. However, all of those are simpler matters than the steam, in my opinion.

I've experimented at length with making these crusty rolls and a few times I've got results that were very near what we ate in Germany. The key for me has usually been to put the rolls back in a preheated 350 degree oven for about another 8 to 10 minutes, after they've had a chance to cool from the first baking. I've tried to find a way to get the crust perfect the first time around but for some reason I have never been successful. I think it's quite possible that I just need to change or perfect something on my technique, although I'll admit that I'm not sure what to change.

Here's my ingredients list. This makes 8 to 10 rolls depending on size (I usually go for 9). I'm sorry but I'm not going to be posting instructions for mixing, kneading, shaping, etc. because I feel that my instructions are still very much in the rough.

Ingredients List:
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 Degrees Fahrenheit - not over 120)      
1 tsp. oil (I suggest light-tasting olive oil)      
1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) of instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt       
1 teaspoon sugar      
2-1/2 to 3 cups of white flour (all purpose or bread flour, see below)

Flour: German Type 550 is recommended but does not appear to be available in the US. I recommend King Arthur All Purpose Flour since it is usually used for artisan breads. In the ingredients you will see that it says 2-1/2 to 3 cups of flour. This is because you have to keep adding flour until you get the right texture. It's impossible to say exactly how much you're going to need since flour varies too much.

When I get my instructions finalized I'll post back here.

fenchel2c's picture

I suggest you try one of several recipes for German broetchen that you'll find on this website.  Normally, they are 3 and 1/2 inch ovals with a hard crust and soft, chewy inside.  To get the hard crust a little steam is a "must" when baking them.

Craigss's picture

I know this is an old thread and is long.  But has anyone found the recipe for good NJ Hard Seeded Rolls?

Crusty on the outside and soft and airey on the inside.

I use to live net to the Lodi Modern Backery.  My wife and I would wake up in the middle of te night with the aroma of the baking rolls and breads.  I would walk up the block and buy a dozen and bring back home with freshly brewed coffee waiting for me.  I do not remember steamers in the ovens (I have seen them recently in modern bakeries) but I do not think they were around in 50's and 60's.

So if anyone has the hard roll recipe please send it.



HeidiH's picture

Here's a hard roll recipe that might fit what you are looking for:

I've made them a few times now and they work every time -- if I use the 00 flour.  With regular flour, they just don't have that same pillowy innard/crusty outside that this Connecticut native loves and remembers.


AndyC's picture

I've heard that the NYC tap water can make a huge difference in baking, pizza, rolls and bagels

Craigss's picture



Sounds right,

But now I must show my ignorance.

What is:   Pivetti 00 Rinzfornato flour

This is not what I can find in VA (I do not think).



N.C. Fred's picture
N.C. Fred

I have read some posts with people looking for a new York Style Deli hard roll. I used to live in Ct. 

and had a Deli in Monroe. I used to order my rolls from J.J. Cassone's in Poirt Chester NY and they were the best I have ever had in my life. I miss them and would love to find a recipe for them. If anyone know please PLEASE send it to me .

I can be reached at       Like it is said if you never had one the taste can't be described. If you have had them you know what I am taking about.    Thank you in advance   Fred

HeidiH's picture

Fred, email addresses don't come through on TFL comments so hopefully, you will spot this anyway.

Put "hard rolls" in the search box here and you'll find a variety of recipes including one of mine that I like -- at least they satisfy this died-in-the-wool-Nutmegger and former NYC resident.   Whether they are exactly what you are hoping for I don't know.  Heidi

jhutch2011's picture

I do have a recipe for a Hard Italian Roll, in my area called "Mechets" or "Mekets"
I can post the recipe if you want.

nancymc55's picture

YES!!!  Please post the recipe for Mequets!!!

jhutch2011's picture



Here is the recipe I have for "Italian Hard Rolls"
I've never made them but it comes from an Italian Cookbook that I have.


1 pkg. dry or compressed yeast

1/4 c. water

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp salad oil plus 3/4c. lukewarm water

2 egg whites beaten

4 c. flour


Soften 1 package active dry yeast or 1 cake compressed teast in 1/4 c. water.
Add 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons salad oil to 3/4 c. luke warm water.
Stir in 1 cup flour, yeast mixture and two egg whites, beaten until frothy. Mix in 3 cups flour. Knead smooth. Place in greased bowl. Cover. Let rise until double in bulk. Punch down. Shape into twists or rolls. Let rise until double in size. Mix 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Brush over rolls. Bake in 375F oven for 35 minutes. Place pan of water in oven during baking.


HOOKER's picture

YES I TOO SUFFER FROM NEWYORK HARD ROLL AND PIZZA WITHDRAWL............OMG they have no clue. I live in glorious Carlisle PA and here they have not 1 bakery and the most godawfull pizza ever. I will riddle you all this......The reason the rolls and pizza dough cannot be done in other parts of the country is the geographical altitude and characteristics that the NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, CONNETICUT area have. I dont think it can be duplicatedas. I  have tried tried and tried again. So next time ur in the NY metro area stock up and bring it back its the only way! 

HeidiH's picture

Having grown up in Connecticut and lived in NYC, it's been hard on me, bread-wise, to live most of my adult life in such disparate areas as Indiana, Montana, and now South Carolina.  I think it is that there are not sufficient Italian grandmothers in other parts of the US for the tradition of really good bread to percolate into the local eating culture.  I had given up all hope of eating rolls like my father used to pick up on his way home from work until a friend left a bag of "Caputo 00 pizza flour" on my shelves as she deployed (for the third time!) to the Middle East.  I made a batch of rolls and was instantly transported back to the ecstacy of a good hard roll. 

Italian 00 flour can be gotten from a variety of sources.  You can pick it up in small bags at Whole foods, or do what I do and get it online.  I get it from Stan at  But I've also gotten it from Amazon.  I've used Caputo and Pivetti, pizza flour and rinforzato.  All make a significantly better roll, approaching what I grew up on, than anything else I've tried.  Put "00 flour" in the search box here on TFL and you'll find lots of discussions.

Finely, one anecdote for those of you still reading:  When I was living in southern Indiana, a  recent arrival from places with good bread was astonished when she asked for hard rolls at a local bakery to be told, "No, we send the stale rolls to the pig farm."

HOOKER's picture

OK Im trying that 1 ...Thanks HeidiH

HeidiH's picture

AKA "Heavenly hard rolls"  -  I was on the hunt for the same thing and this recipe works.  If you put "heavenly hard rolls" in the search box here, you'll see other folks comments  on it.

Gregjg's picture

I own a bakery in Wisconsin. The part of the state I live in has a German heritage background where hard rolls have been made the same way for many years. The type of hard roll you are referring to sounds similar to what we make. Someone commented that they couldn't figure out the ingredient that gave the roll it's outer crust. Actually it's more theprocess than any certain ingredient that makes the rolls so special. The dough itself is made up of simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast, shortening or oil, and malt powder. The best hard rolls are baked in a hearth oven with steam giving it achewy inside and crusty outside. And oncethey are baked do not put them in a plastic bag or you will end up having the same type of soft "hard roll" that you can buy in any grocery store. 


Americanheritic's picture

For well over 40 years, since I left NY, I have had fond memories of a buttered hard roll .

I am not a cook... I am not even a bit "cooky", but I am going to refer to this thread and this forum to try to make some NY hard roles.

I think my favorite memory of hard rolls was while working as a machinist trainee in Westbury, LI (1964) and having a western on hard roll for lunch.

I think if I could have one of those now, it would make my life complete  ;)

Father Raphael's picture
Father Raphael

Greek Isles restaurant in Chicago serves Greek Bread that is absolutely a large hard roll.  I know what a hard roll is because we sold them in our corner grocery store back in the 40's and 50's.

I called the bakery that supplies them for the Greek Isles but they would not give me the recipe.


I haven't read all these posts to know if anything has been said about King Arthur Flour's recipe but reading it was enough to discourage me.  Hours, and hours, mabye 6 or more, included 2-3 hours in the frig (not an overnight).   I am disappointed in KA.  The Greeks have been making it forever, even before refrigeration so scratch the hours in the refrig.  If I could find a Greek grandmother who makes it and is willing to share the basic recipe, I would pay her beside giving her my sincere admiration and gratitude.


+Father Raphael

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

No reason to think one method is better than another, it all comes down to how you get the ingredients to work for you on your personal level.  There are many basic variables that influence the taste and texture of bread and even those variables can vary from crop to crop, country to country, grandmother to grandmother.  

As far as grandmas go, figure it out for yourself before you adopt a grandmother.  Good luck with that.  I've been blessed with four and they've taught me they had better things to do.  Taste the flours you want to use and look for the recipe that brings out the best flavour of the flour.  Teach someone how you like it, or bake your own.  Flours have changed over the years and environment influences the grain, always changing, so why shouldn't the method evolve as well?  We can only compare bread flavours in our lifetime.  Who can tell me that in the past, the flavour has stayed the same, all year round, all the way to the present?  Forever? Ha!  

MichaelJinVA's picture

I really do not think the hard rolls or the bagels or the pizza crust can be duplicated. I grew up in the Hudson Valley region. My theory is it is the water. NY city tap water comes from the upper Hudson Valley area. I have not seen the type of rolls or crust described anywhere other then this area. Hudson Valley, North Jersey, NYC. Unless you've had one you just cant even imagine. By the way a Sub sandwich just is not the same outside this area either. I have had subs here in VA as well as FL from a franchise chain called Jersey Mike's. The Rolls are very very close to what I remember. I wonder if they import them or perhaps Use water from the area to back them.

dowhit's picture

I know that this is a supper old thread, but has there been any resolve to the NY Style Hard Roll Recipe? 

...and all the chatter about hard rolls only existing in the NY/NJ/CT area is totally true.  I lived in Boston for a while and when I first arrived I tried to order an egg sandwich on a hard roll from what seemed to be a Diner (it wasn't) the guy behind the counter said "Well we've got some day old rolls that are kind of hard."  Kid you not.

Elagins's picture

In Beantown, you gotta ask for a "bulkie"

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

One might start off with a water analysis of the Hudson Valley.  Total alkalinity, minerals, pH, hardness, the works.  Then compare to other known sources of good hard rolls that claim their water source and bad hard rolls to look for obvious similarities and differences.  

jhutch2011's picture

I posted a recipe for a type of hard roll, or Italian bread a few years ago. It is still in the comments. It should be a decent bread.

Hedrash's picture

My wife is allergic to eggs, so the rolls we got on Long Island  (same as all in the tri-state area) didn't have eggs in them. After I moved to Dallas I was dying for a hard roll. There's  Cindy's NY Delicatessen & they've got a great hard kaiser roll, but I'm not doing an hour & 20 minute round trip to get them. However I did come up with a good recipe. 

I start with a sponge made of 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten, 1cup of warm water @ 95°, 1-3/4 bread yeast, 1 tbsp malt extract or syrup (raw or light brown sugar in a pinch), 1 cup hi gluten bread flour & mix that till foamy. After 20 minutes I add 2 tbsp softened unsalted butter and 1 tbsp soy lecithen & enough flour, kneading to make a smooth but sticky dough. I found putting this into the fridge in an oiled container overnight developed better flavor. The next morning I take out of the fridge, let warm up to room temperature, divide into balls, dunk in water & poppy seeds. While the rolls rise, I warm the oven to 415°. When I'm ready to bake, I raise the temperature to 425° & throw a cup of hot water on the bottom of the stove to create steam. The steam really means the difference between soft & hard rolls. I also keep baking bricks in my oven. It helps keep the temperature very consistent with bread & other roasting. I also keep a shallow pan with 1" of water in there for steam during baking. I got to this recipe through experience making kimmilweck rolls with my father. They're similar, only they're dipped in pretzel salt, caraway & poppy seeds.

whymichigan's picture

Good luck Jerry.  You might be able to find a recipe but you will more than likely need a steam-injection oven to get the same crust and texture.  They also say the water has a lot to do with it as well.  

I currently live in upstate NY and hard rolls are one of the things I miss the most from downstate.


I feel your pain....