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"Hard Rolls"

I have a visitor coming next week who grew up in mid-state NY but has lived in Charlotte for 30 years. One of the things he misses from way up north are hard rolls, as he calls them. Apparently, they don't have hard rolls in NC. He asked if we had them here and I could swear I've seen the name somewhere, but am not sure where or even if it is the same thing.

Anyone know what someone from NY would be calling a hard roll and where it could be found in Montgomery County (the closer to Rockville the better!)?

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  1. In NY/NJ a hard roll was usually a kaiser roll. Unfortunately, the type your friend grew up wtih is hard to find even in NY/NJ anymore. The great, family owned European bakeries that once dotted every town have given way to crappy supermarket "in store" bakeries that buy frozen parbaked rolls and call them 'hard rolls' or 'kaiser rolls'. None have the thin, glassy hard crust and open, soft interiors of the real McCoy. There must be bakeries somewhere that still do it right...I hope you find one in your area!

    1. You might try The Kielbasa Factory in Rockville. http://kielbasafactory.com/ Since they're a Polish Grocery store, they might have hard rolls in their baked goods.

      The Professor is right - the American version is a Kaiser roll, but they're no longer like the rolls of old.

      1. I have yet to see a true hard roll in this region. It's as described above, a kaiser type roll that will leave alot of crumbs from the "hard" outside. They were great for a tasty roast beef sandwich. I'll have to check out that Kielbasa Factory, who knows?

        2 Replies
        1. re: KevinS

          I tried the Kielbasa Factory to no avail today, although I did come home with some extremely tasty kielbasa and pierogies.

          1. re: Terrie H.

            Sorry about the misdirection, then. I thought they might have them, but haven't gone shopping there for breads before.

            But they do have fabulous kielbasa and pierogies!

        2. Shoppers Food on Nicholson Lane, and Koshermart on Boiling Brook Parkway, in Rockville, 5 minutes apart, have in-store bakeries that sometimes fit the bill. I, too, long for the seeded "hard roll" of yore. Suffice it to say, it will be easier to find a decent kaiser roll than a decent rye bread.

          184 Rollins Ave, Rockville, MD

          5 Replies
          1. re: nickdanger

            The rye bread at Brooklyn's Deli, both the original on Darnestown Rd and the new location on Seven Locks in Potomac, is outstanding.

            1. re: nickdanger

              Heidelberg Bakery in Arlington has very good rye breads, even a corn rye.

              Still not as good as the incredible "sissel bread" we had in Providence when I was a kid (that bread had a crust that could break your teeth), but light years ahead of the spongy rye bread you generally get around here.

              PS Note to self -- next time in RI, pick up a sissel bread at Rainbow Bakery in Cranston.


              1. re: Bob W

                Good call. Corn rye, that brings me back. Not made with corn, but has a dense consistency, right?

                1. re: nickdanger

                  nick -- I hit Heidelberg this past Saturday. The corn rye does have corn meal in it, and is a very dense rye.

                  Heidelberg has a really impressive bread selection -- several different ryes, various multi-grain breads, etc. Great bakery!

                  1. re: Bob W

                    Thanks for the update. Are they still grilling brats on saturday?

            2. Sigh, I grew up in NYS and also miss decent hard rolls. Giant carries something that looks like it, but not exactly the same.

              1. A couple places come to mind. Patisserie Poupon has the best bread...hands down...if you can get in line and get some before they run out. Another option is to go find a local Vietnamese place that makes Bahn Mi and see if they'll sell you their rolls like Bahn Mi Dc in Falls Church.

                Patisserie Poupon
                1645 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC

                1 Reply
                1. re: wendelz

                  I like Patisserie Poupon, and bahn mi, but neither place has anything in the least bit resembling the kind of bread the OP is looking for.

                  Patisserie Poupon
                  1645 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC

                2. What a surprise to see the words"hard rolls". I moved out of the mid-Hudson Valley 34 years ago and unfortunately have not had a hard roll ever since I left. The Professor is right...those fabulous bakeries that existed in everyone's hometown are long gone (from what I've heard from folks still living there). Heidelberg does sell those old fashioned cookies that I remember from back in the day. The only supermarket bakery that I use is Wegman's--their rolls & breads come the closest to that old fashioned bakery quality I remember. Panera's baguettes (especially the sour dough) is pretty good--it has a good chewy crust. With any of these bakery items, I like to pull out a lot of the bread inside before making my sandwich--it's my rather odd way of pretending my sandwich is on a hard roll. Years ago I remember hearing stories of southerners trying hard rolls when visiting NYC and thinking the rolls were stale :)

                  1. Can't get a good "kaiser' or hard roll anywhere today. What most places call kaiser rolls remind me of Wonder bread masquerading as a roll.

                    1. Thank you all for your input. I'm dissappointed that I won't be able to find the NY hard rolls here for my guest, but it seems to be like so many other regional specialties ~~ that's why they are regional.

                      Hoping the Old Bay spiced shrimp and the Maryland fried chicken have made up for the missing rolls.