Kaiser Rolls – The Best Hamburger Buns!!!

I haven’t posted anything in about a week and a half, mostly due to the fact that I wanted to do a food post next. I kept forgetting to take pictures or document each step that is usually in my head in this kaiser rolls recipe. Alas, I finally got around to it.

This recipe for Kaiser Rolls are famous in my inner-circle!

In case anyone that reads this doesn’t know me from South East Alaska, they probably don’t know the story of KC’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches! It was an overcast day on the water, a bit rough, apparently. Devin Stratton and Mitch Onkes were out on the water making funny videos while checking on the fishing guests.

They made a video about getting out of the storm. While going precariously fast through relatively high waves, they needed to get to KC’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches. It was a hilarious video that many of the staff quoted every single Wednesday. Not that my pulled pork is particularly good in general (which it is), it’s usually the kaiser rolls that makes it spectacular.

In this case, my Kaiser Rolls came from a pre-made dough that has been frozen. Making dozens of rolls was taxing enough, let alone making the dough.

This is the actual recipe of how to make these fluffy rolls.

Kaiser rolls are not necessarily hard but they do take some time. The result is always fantastic.

The ingredients you source can be important. Make sure you use yeast that hasn’t been sitting in a bag in your fridge door for too long. Also, make sure you use BREAD flour in this recipe. All purpose flour has a lot less protein in it. It also has a mixture of a hard wheat and soft wheat grain.

Compared to mostly hard wheat in bread flour, it makes the entire recipe yield different equivalent measuring of ingredients.

Protein is essential in developing gluten, which is the protein that helps yeast grow and stretch.

If you need a great example of this, make a small batch of biscuits. In half of them, use bread flour and the other half, AP flour. Keep all the other ingredients the same and post your results in the comments below. Now, onto the recipe.

  • 5 Cups WARM Water, 120 to 125 degrees
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup WARM Melted Butter
  • 4 Eggs, preferably room temperature but cold will do fine
  • 2 Tbsp. Table Salt
  • 13 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
  • 2 Cups Corn Meal, for dusting pans
  • 2 Eggs with 2 tbsp. Water, mixed for egg wash

Warm your water up in some way.

I just use hot tap water. The cold vessel you put it in usually cools it down to where it needs to be. Add your yeast into the water, then your sugar on top of it (Left Picture). Mix around and let the yeast activate thoroughly, between 5 to 10 minutes. If you feel like a mad scientist with bubbling, strange smells coming from the yeast, it’s probably ready (Right Picture).

Mixing time!

Mix together the salt and flour. Add the eggs and pour in the butter. Whisk together the eggs a bit so they’re not whole and annoying, whisking up unevenly (Left Picture). Now add the yeast mixture. Make sure you either reserve some water on the bottom of the pitcher to swish around the sugar stuck to the bottom or add a little more warm water the swish around (Right Picture).

Mix the dough together until the dry ingredients are hydrated (Left Picture).

Knead on a slightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough in either melted butter or olive oil (preferably melted butter) and cover your bowl in plastic wrap. Let it double in size for about an hour.

Literally punch the kaiser roll dough down after an hour (do you see the punch marks in the dough pictured on the left?).

Let it rise a second time. Punching the dough down once in the bowl lets out the excess carbon dioxide that can impair fermentation and flavor production. It also gives you a more consistent crumb in the final product. If you’ve ever had a nice baguette with lots of nice holes all over the inside, you’ll know they didn’t punch the dough down during the rise. This is ideal in baguettes, not so much in a burger bun or rolls like this recipe. Now let it rise a second time (Right Picture). 

Punch down again and weigh out your dough.

Weighing out your dough is important for consistent baking times and uniform shape. 5 oz. is ideal for burger or deli buns and 3 oz. is good sized rolls (Left Picture). Now, round each one into a ball and flatten into a 3-3 1/2” circle if you’re making buns (Right Picture). Grease a baking pan with non-stick spray and dust your pan with corn meal, making sure you save a cup for the top of the rolls. This will ensure your buns won’t stick to the pan and give it a rustic look.

The next step is the egg wash.

The picture above shows the 3 steps of this. The far left is no egg wash, the middle is brushed with egg wash, and the one on the right is dusted with the remaining corn meal and egg washed a second time. Egg washing it a second time ensures that the corn meal will stick to the bread and give it a better sheen after it’s baked.

Do all of this before you proof your bread on the tray.

Now, you can either cover the pan loosely in plastic wrap or sprits the dough every 5-10 minutes with warm water.

I like the water technique if you’re in a really dry climate such as Utah or the Arctic but it’s up to you. Let the kaiser rolls double in size and put the rolls into an oven at 375 on the bottom shelf. If you have a convection oven, decrease the temperature to 350. I bake it for 8 minutes, rotate the pan and cook it for 6-8 minutes longer.

It may take longer in your oven so just pull it out when it’s browned all the way to the bottom of your roll, near the pan. If you want to get more technical about it, bread is baked thoroughly when you stick a thermometer into it and it reads between 185- 200 F or above. Notice with the picture on the left that the holes in the opened bread are all consistent. This makes awesome hamburger rolls or, as my friends in South East call it, KC’s Famous Pulled Pork Sandwiches! bun.

  1. These are the best hamburger buns on the planet! Two very long months working in Deadhorse, Alaska were a lot more bearable because of your amazing cooking skills KC.

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