The Fresh Loaf

A Community of 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

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.




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!

lavendermoon710's picture

Check internet, YouTube I found a number of recipes    I was from NY too

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


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

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

cordel's picture

Can someone describe a hard roll, for me??


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!

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

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.

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.

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."

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.

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!  

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....

NYS raised's picture
NYS raised

I too miss NY hard rolls and B&G Hot cherry peppers!  you can get them in NY but down south forget it. I found a recipe that taste like NY hard rolls I made em and pigged out hmmmmm! Here it is search no more!

aleyman's picture

I'm not sure how old this thread is but I assume it is several/many years old. I too have been on the search for the NJ hard roll. I lived in Jersey from the late 50's to mid 70's and a Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a hard roll will available at every deli or from a mom and pop corner store. I also remember having a "Buttered Roll" for breakfast with a black coffee. I managed to buy a kaiser roll stamp which will make the shape of the hard roll but still looking for a good recipe. I will try some of the suggestions listed above to see if it is close enough for my taste but I didn't see Jerry who is the original poster of this thread say he found what he considered to be a good NJ hard roll. Yes I called them NJ hard rolls because that is where I ate the majority of my hard rolls. And no, Pork Roll is not Taylor Ham, that is a south Jersey thing! FYI this was posted on 9/22/18. 

aleyman's picture

One more note I forgot on my other post, there is a pizza place in California who has NYC water shipped out to California because they believe that is what make the NY style the same on the west coast as the east coast. Now that can't be a cheap task of shipping water about 3,000 miles to make pizza. If it works for them that is all that matters!!

breadman1015's picture

I have always used this formula:



Hard Rolls

Bakers' %

100% High Gluten Flour

58% Water

2.25% Dry Yeast

1% Salt

1.5% Diastatic Malt

1.5% Sugar

3% Shortening

3% Egg White

_____ 174.25%   For about 36 ounces: 21   ounces         High Gluten Flour 12   ounces         Water 1     Tbs.              Dry Yeast 1     tsp.               Salt 1/2  ounce          Diastatic Malt 1/2  ounce          Sugar 1     ounce          Shortening 1     ounce          Egg White 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle, combine the Yeast and Water. Stir at low speed until the mixture becomes foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredi- ents and mix at low speed until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Install the dough hook and knead at medium speed to form a fairly stiff, smooth dough, about 8-10 minutes. Cover and allow to ferment for 2 hours, folding at 1 hour, 90 minutes, and at 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Punch down and refrigerate overnight.

Allow dough to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Scale 3-1/4 ounce and ball. Bench rest, covered, for 30 minutes. Stamp with Kaiser stamp or “clop”. Proof upside down on lightly-oiled parchment until at least tripled in size. Preheat oven to 450°F. Gently turn rolls right side up; wash with water, and sprinkle with Poppy seeds. Bake with heavy steam for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400°F and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Hope this helps,



bobbyaxe61's picture

Circa 1977 - these were from Fritzche's Bakery in Sayville LI.  Looking for that recipe too.  sooooooo good.

LWS's picture
LWS's picture

The hard roll above is from Mr. Kold Kuts in Orange, CT. I think they use Cassone Bakery. I moved to New Hampshire 22 years ago and can't find anything remotely like them up here. I was told the secret is the water, as someone suggested in another comment. If ANYONE can get me a recipe I would be forever grateful!

G Pizza's picture
G Pizza

I'm located about 15 minutes from Orange CT and I'm always thrilled to find or learn about a new gem of a food stop. There are many around. Thanks for that tip I'm going to check them out. 

I love NY hard rolls and have been thinking about trying to make them but I am still working on breads right now. I love this site! I stumbled upon this thread by searching for Caputo Blue. 

I usually buy a 50 lb bag of Caputo Blue for my pizza dough and I'm looking for some good bread recipes that would handle that flour well. I usually only use it for pizza but because I always have so much of it I don't want it to go to waste.

allisondbl's picture

All right guys.This is NOT a request for recipes, so if this isn't okay forgive me, but you guys are clearly bread mavens with knowledge and options and I need some HELP!

Anyone have a suggestion for a place in Central California near Brentwood-ish where one can BUY something REALLY close to a New York hard/Buttered roll? A friend of mine moved there a year ago and is just being made MISERABLE by missing his buttered roll on the way to work every morning and I would LOVE to surprise him with a suggestion. 

Come on guys dig in and show me the way to that place no one would think to look!  Thanks for any and all help.  Alley

akeimou's picture

i'm looking for something similar, most likely of european origin.

- oval not round, 3 to 4 inches on the longer side, easily fits in the hand
- crust is hard and thick, crispy not tough, easy to pull apart a piece.  color is closer to brown rather than the usual orange, but not burnt
- very plain outside, there's no egg, milk, or butter wash.  not seeded, not breaded, nor floured.  no bloom, not scored, not (kaiser) stamped, not blistered
- inside, the crumb is not hard, not fluffy, not soft, not dense, not chewy, just moderately open  
- not whole wheat, not whole grain, i'm guessing just plain white flour
- not sweet salty or tangy.  don't think it was sourdough, likely just straight FWSY
- likely baked in a wood fired oven.  meant to be eaten same day as it was baked.  next day it gets hard as a rock!
- crack open when still warm-ish, slather on some butter, dunk in hot chocolate.  yum!

really just a very plain bread roll but with dark hard crust.  had this bread when i was young so memory may not be perfect

might somebody here be able to whip up (or know of) a recipe that produces something close to the above description?





catstew55's picture

There's nothing like a NY hard roll especially on a breakfast sandwich.Crispy bacon, a fried egg and a slice of American cheese on a buttered hard roll tastes like nothing else you'll ever eat. You can get one at almost any corner bodega on a New York morning. If you're coming off a night of partying, you may want to grab two. You can't get these rolls outside of NY, NJ and CT. They are so good, even Anthony Bourdain put them in his last cookbook, Appetites. No recipe on how to make the hard rolls, just the sandwich.

Sourdough bread can't be exactly duplicated outside of San Francisco. As far as anyone can tell, it's something about the air. Maybe it's the same thing in the New York area with the hard rolls. Granted, I'm something of a bread fanatic but it's the first thing I go for when I find myself in either of these great cities. Yum....