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Jul 27, 2009 02:52 PM

New York Hard Rolls

As a transplanted New Yorker there a few things I miss often. One of them is the hard rolls. I don't know the name of the style so that makes them hard to search out.

They have a fine white interior and a very crispy exterior. They are ... or at least were ... the standard hard roll on Long Island. The closest I've found is the Telera rolls at Ultra foods but that is not very close at all. These are misnamed anyway .since, I think, Telera are supposed to be soft all through.

Does anyone know a local source or at least the name of the style for those rolls?

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  1. i believe what you are describing are known in NY as kaiser rolls and sometimes as Arthur Avenue (Bronx) rolls. Up here in Westchester they are standard fare for deli sandwiches and for burgers. I think you will have to come east to get them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biga290

      I miss them too, being a LI transplant....Occasionaly, the bakery at Dominick's gets them about right, but you have to get there early .....they soften as the day wears on!!

      These are certainly Kaiser Rolls, and i always preferred them with poppy seeds...I miss them, and can't find a good corn rye bread here either!!

      1. re: paulispumonti

        Excellent Corn Rye here

        Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen
        4905 W Dempster Street
        Skokie, IL 60077

    2. Kaisers here are also the bread of choice for the delis breakfast sandwiches like sausage, egg, and cheese.

      1. You know, everyone who moves away from their childhood home misses things from that area. When I moved to NY, I complained all the time about how hard it was to find quality Mexican and Eastern European products compared to the Chicago area. Then I started exploring and found things that were different, but in many cases just as good. Now I'm back in the Chicago area, and I enjoy searching out new foods that I discovered in NY.

        I suggest you do the same.

        Go into one of the many Mexican and Eastern European bake shops in the Chicago area. You will find a world of bread products, different than your memories and what you would find in NY, but no less good. I'm sure you'll find something that comes close to meeting your expectations. Who knows, you might find something that exceeds them!

        Oh...corn rye? I'd need to try it, but as someone raised on great Polish rye, on the surface that sounds more than a little unusual. I'll bet more than few people around here have raised their eyebrows when you talked about it!

        1. Are they kaiser rolls like the others have suggested? Chewy? Kinda hard outside, but chewy inside? I grew up in jersey, partially, and used to get them w/ butter from a little store on the way to school. Are kaiser rolls what you are looking for? If so, I wouldn't get them from a DOminick's or Jewel bakery - get the ones made by Turano or Gonella that will usually be in front of the bigger grocery stores' deli counters. Those two brands will be nice and chewy. PRobably cost around 3.00 for 6, and will be in plastic bags.

          3 Replies
          1. re: gordeaux

            Kaiser rolls (good ones anyway) are anything but chewy. The NY/NJ Style of hard roll described (if we're indeed talking about the same thing) has a hard but _very thin_ outer crust covered with poppyseeds, and a fairly open and fairly soft interior.

            Decent 'hard rolls' are getting more and more difficult to get, even back here in th NY/NJ area with so many of the family run European style bakeries disappearing (in my neck of the woods, the best hard rolls came from the many Hungarian bakeries in the area. The "hard rolls" currently available are really not anything like the ones we grew up with, especially the ones currently sold in the ubiquitous in-house supermarket bakeries...more often than not the rolls are imposters which are made completely differently, arrive at the stores par-baked, and simply finished in the store ovens. The crust and texture are all wrong.
            My research indicates that the real "hard rolls" had some egg white in the dough mix, plus they are made from a fairly soft dough which helps to achieve that nice texture and fragile, thin but crispy crust. Unfortunately, this type of roll doesn't really keep well after a day (after one day, a light spray of water and 10 minutes in a 300F oven restores them somewhat..after he second day, forget it. Not the same).
            The freshness issue was not a big deal when the local corner bakery made them every day.

            I've made the rolls at home, getting the formula from an old (old!) professional baking text and they came out authentic, as I remember them. It was lots of trouble though, and because of the shorter keeping time, not worth making a large batch. I still live in hope that somewhere within 60 miles of where I live there is a bakery still making these great rolls (and yes...they are worth a 60 mile drive to get them). The search continues.

            1. re: The Professor

              Kaiser rolls here in the Chicago area are far from what I am remembering but that might be what they are called out east,. Here kaisers generally have a soft crust - including the Gonella and Turano's Gordeaux suggested although I'll give them another try.

              +1 to The Professor - the search does continue. I shop mostly the independent groceries including the ethnic ones. Don't have a good deli close by at all which is where I have the most hope of finding them.

              1. re: RobV

                If the interior of those is what you're looking for, you gotta toss them into a hot oven for a minute to get the ext crisp. They are sold in plastic bags which screws up the crust. I don't like the Jewel/Dominick's Kaisers because the interior is like fluffy wonder bread. The Gonnella/ Turano are dense/chewy. I might be way off of what you are looking for - just a suggestion. In Jersey, where I spent a few years, I remember getting kaiser rolls with butter on my way to school. They were chewy like the turano/gonella ones.