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Soft rolls with a "Medium Vienna Dough"

dmsnyder's picture

Soft rolls with a "Medium Vienna Dough"

Medium Vienna Dough for Soft Rolls

This formula is from

 “Inside the Jewish Bakery,” by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg

 As Interpreted by David M. Snyder

May, 2020

 For those who don’t know, Vienna Dough is an enriched dough that can be used for breads but is most often used for rolls - onion rolls, double knot rolls, pletzel, kaiser rolls and more. Besides differences in shaping, toppings and fillings, the various rolls differ in two respects: First, the dough can be more or less enriched with eggs, oil and sweeteners. Second, the shaped rolls can be more or less fully proofed. So, for example, rolls like onion pockets and knotted rolls are made with younger doughs (less proofed) and a sweeter dough. Kaiser rolls, where you want a less sweet dough, a crisper, thinner crust and less oven spring so the decorative shaping is maintained are proofed more fully.

 It should be noted that all of these products were made without dairy and are therefore kosher with either dairy or meat meals.

 This recipe is for a “medium vienna dough” that is ideal for knotted rolls and onion rolls. I use it for sandwich rolls. It makes a dozen 3 oz rolls. 




Bakers Percentage

Bread flour

4 1/2 cups




1 1/4 cups



Veg. oil

2 Tbs




1 large + 1 for brushing




3 Tbs



Dry or liquid malt

1 Tbs


Instant yeast

5 tsp




1 1/2 tsp



Seeds for topping the rolls




 Note: I generally use all purpose flout with 11.7% protein. If you use a high gluten flour or if you substitute whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour, you will have to increase the water slightly to achieve the expected dough consistency which should be slightly tacky but not sticky. 

 If you use dry malt, treat it as a dry ingredient. If you use malt syrup, dissolve it in the water and then add the other wet ingredients.


1. Place the dry ingredients except the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them or use the paddle attachment to mix them together.

2. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix with the paddle attachment at slow speed until all the flour is moistened. Add the salt and continue mixing for another minute.

4. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 (on a KitchenAid Stand Mixer) until a medium gluten window is achieved (about 10 minutes).

5. Transfer the dough to the board and form a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl that can allow doubling of the dough volume. Cover the bowl.

6. Bulk ferment the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in volume. (45-60 minutes). 

7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Divide it into 12 equal pieces of about 3 oz. each.

8. Form the pieces into balls, cover them with a towel and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.

9. Shape the pieces as desired - flat disks for hamburger buns, long rolls for sausages, ropes to make knotted rolls, etc.

10. Places the formed rolls onto baking sheets and cover them. (I use quarter sheet pans which hold 6 rolls each and put these in plastic bakery bags for proofing.)

11. Pre-heat your oven to 350ºF.

12. Mix an egg with a tsp of water to glaze the rolls. Get out any seeds you want to put on them.

13. Let the rolls proof 3/4 of the way. (If you poke a finger in one, the hole should fill in very slowly.)

14. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Sprinkle each roll with seeds (optional).

15. Bake until lightly browned and fully baked. (12-15 minutes or a bit longer, depending on your oven).

16. Cool on a rack completely before serving. 




 These rolls freeze well. I wrap each in cling wrap and place them in a plastic bakery bag with a tie. Thaw in a 375ºF oven for about 7 minutes.




pmccool's picture

I especially like what you've done with shaping the knotted rolls.


dmsnyder's picture

The knotted roll photo is actually from a previous bake. I included it in this post just to illustrate the diversity of shapes one could produce with this versatile dough. And, in that regard, see the photo I posted below from an even older bake.


bonnibakes's picture

David, your rolls look fabulous, just like everything you bake. I've also enjoyed working with that dough to make onion rolls & pletzls since the book came out, when I was living in Florida. I moved back to Brooklyn 5 years ago and despite searching, have never seen a hint of a decent Kaiser roll anywhere in NYC. Certainly not those fluffy soft tan things they try to pass off that are packaged 6-to-a-bag in supermarkets. No delis, coffee shops or greasy spoons offer the classic "Egg & Cheese on a Roll" either. And that was pre-Covid-19. I don't know why I never tried making them with Norm's Light Vienna Dough but now seems like a good time to try. Have you used that dough or made respectable Kaiser rolls? I certainly hope you have and can shed some light. Thanks David for all the knowledge, recipes and encouragement you've offered over the years.

dmsnyder's picture

I made kaiser rolls from a recipe Norm (May he rest in peace.) provided but not from the light vienna dough in ITJB. Funny you should ask though, because I was thinking about doing so just yesterday. The last time I made kaiser rolls, I used the same dough for onion rolls, as I recall. Here is a photo of that bake:

I really should try making them with a leaner dough, shouldn't I? If you do so, please share!

Happy baking!


Benito's picture

David, wonderful baking, thanks for sharing yet another recipe with us here.  Your rolls really do remind me of the excellent rolls in Vienna when I was there for a week for the IAS conference many years ago.  I have fond memories of Vienna and Austria, what a lovely city and great country.  I loved the coffee houses and bakeries.


dmsnyder's picture