The Kaiser roll, also called a Vienna roll or a hard roll (original name: Semmel or Kaisersemmel; if made by hand also: Handsemmel), is a kind of bread roll, invented in Vienna, and thought to have been named to honor Emperor Franz Joseph. It is a typically crusty round roll made from wheat flour, barm, malt, water and salt, with the top side usually divided in a rotationally symmetric pattern of five segments, separated by curved superficial cuts radiating from the centre outwards or folded in a series of overlapping lobes . Kaiser rolls are often produced by machine, as well as by hand.
Kaiser rolls are traditionally found in Austria, but have also become popular in other countries, such as the United States, Poland (kajzerka), Canada, Slovenia (known as kajzerica), Croatia, Italy, and Germany. Italian bakers, during the Austrian domination in Lombardy, produced a hollow version known as michetta or rosetta.
Rolls similar to the Kaiser roll (which always is plain) but different in size, type of flour used and often not handmade are sometimes sprinkled on top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin kernels, linseed or sunflower-seed. It is often used as a bun for sandwiches, including hamburgers, or containing a slice of Leberkäse, but the most popular form is with slices of Extrawurst and pickled gherkins (Wurstsemmel) or with a type of Wiener Schnitzel (Schnitzelsemmel). It is also a main part of a typical Austrian breakfast, usually with butter and jam. A variation called a kummelweck (sometimes pronounced "kimmelweck" or "kümmelweck") is topped with kosher salt and caraway fruits, often as part of a beef on weck sandwich.
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