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Grain Rolls

how to bake grain rolls

“Bring me some Grain Rolls!” said my husband, when I left for the bakery. That was last year while we visited Germany. Our vacation apartment was in the center of Hamburg and a grocery nearby, so I felt confident that I would get any kind of rolls that he wished for. Little did I know!

It turned out that the grocery was under construction and only part of the store was open. That part did not include the bakery! So I checked google maps for other bakeries – can’t be that difficult in Hamburg – and headed to the next place. That bakery turned out to sell croissants, only. OK, keep searching! I finally found a little place that was selling some rolls but it wasn’t what I knew as a traditional German bakery. So, what happened?

grain rolls with egg

Big Grocery Chains Killed the German Bakeries

I had read about it before but didn’t know it was already that bad: Groceries stared to sell freshly baked rolls about 25 years ago, I do remember that. And it was often more convenient to just grab some rolls while already shopping instead of heading to the bakery afterward. The rolls didn’t taste nearly as good as those from the bakery but sometimes I decided they are good enough. However, everybody complained about the bland taste of those grocery rolls. But apparently, over time, people got used to it and more and more traditional bakeries had to close because they couldn’t make a living anymore. So, the number of bakeries has massively declined over time.
I eventually got the grain rolls at a different place the other day but it wasn’t as easy as I had expected. My husband enjoyed them even more since I had to hunt them down. It made them even more precious!

grain rolls inside

Baking our own Grain Rolls

Knowing that my husband is craving these rolls, I decided to bake them at home, once back in Texas. So, back home I researched the recipe, twisted it a little to our taste, and found the perfect grain roll recipe for us. These are so easy to make and much faster than my other rolls. We all love them and they are very filling.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

grain rolls

My Favorite Grain Roll Toppings

As mentioned in the video, I especially love to eat them with scrambled eggs on top. Sprinkled with some chives – mmmh!

But they also taste great with cold cuts like salami or with a slice of good cheese. If you prefer a sweet taste, honey and jam are delicious with the grain rolls, too!

grain roll with scrambled eggs

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Grain Rolls recipe
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grain rolls recipe

Grain Rolls

4.82 from 11 votes


  • 50 g Flax Seeds
  • 85 g Pumpkin Seeds + some extra for the top
  • 65 g Sunflower Seeds + some extra for the top
  • 500 g Bread Flour (or All Purpose / Regular Wheat Flour)
  • 200 g Rye Flour
  • 300 ml Water (divided into 100 ml + 200 ml)
  • 7 g Dry Yeast (any type or 20g fresh yeast)
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 50 g butter soft
  • 1 ct egg


  • Put the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and the flax seeds into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the sugar to the 100 ml (⅓ cup )water and sprinkle the yeast on top – stir and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients except for the egg in a large mixing bowl. Start mixing the ingredients and slowly add the 200 ml ( a little less than 1 cup water). The dough should be soft and stick well but needs to be shapable. Don't use too much water.
  • Mix for 5 minutes, then put give it a quick knead by hand.
  • Now, roll the dough to a rectangle. It should be about 2 cm or a little less than 1 inch high.
  • Cut 9 square rolls from that shape, put them onto a baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise for about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F at the end of the rising time.
  • After one hour: Scramble the egg and brush the top of the rolls with it.
  • Sprinkle additional sunflower and pumpkin seeds on the top.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Let cool end enjoy the same day. Keep leftover rolls in a paper bag, they will still be soft the next day.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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19 thoughts on “Grain Rolls”

  1. 5 stars
    So my husband was born and raised in Germany and we met our junior year of college when he came here for school. We travel a lot to see his family and this is the one thing we find ourselves missing the most about being back home in Germany. This recipe is fool proof and amazing. It turned out so authentic and delicious I almost cried when I took the first bite with a slice of Gouda and cucumber. I will be making double batches of this weekly for us now. It’s too quick and simple not to. No more store bought American bread in our house ever again. Thank you for sharing this. I have been scouring the internet for a few years trying to find exactly this! ???

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment! I am happy I could bring some joy to your family with my recipe :-)

  2. Hello, Thank you for answering my last question. I’m an American living in Belgium and love traveling to Germany for all of the wonderful breads and rolls. Your recipes are the next best thing to getting them straight from Germany! Could you tell me what would be the appropriate German number/type of the flours you use for this recipe? Also, could you tell me what setting on a typical European convection oven you’d cook these rolls at? Would you use the fan setting? Thank you!

    1. Since I am living and baking in Texas, I am using all-purpose flour or bread flour here but in Germany, I would use 405 for fine baking like cake and 550 wheat flour for bread.
      1700 is a whole wheat flour for bread baking.
      Rye flour: 815 is a light rye flour, 1150 is the most popular flour for sourdough and sourdough bread.
      Spelt flour: 815 would be my choice for rolls.

      Now for this recipe, I would use 550 for the wheat flour and 1150 for the rye flour.

      I hope I could shed some light on our German flour.
      Happy baking and best wishes to Belgium,

      1. Thank you, Barbara. This is very helpful. Could you tell me what setting you would use to bake these rolls on when using a European convection oven?

        1. Hi Joy,

          I would not use the convection function when baking bread or rolls, it dries the out. I did not turn on the convection function when baking these and the temperature and time were working as in the recipe. But keep in mind that ovens are not always true to temperature and behave differently, so watch closely at your first batch and make corrections if needen.

  3. Hello! I’ve recently found your website and YouTube channel and am loving all of the recipes you’re sharing. Some of the best foods I’ve ever had (especially the bread!) have been in Germany.

    Could you tell me if you use unsalted butter in this (and all) your recipes?

    1. Great question! I always use unsalted butter. German butter is always unsalted, so my german recipes are made with unsalted butter.

  4. 5 stars
    Made these and my family loved them. They came out just like the ones we ate in Germany. Do you have any suggestions on adding sourdough discard to this dough or would you recommend using sourdough as partial replacement for the dry yeast?

    1. Hi Diana,
      I am sure you can switch out yeast for sourdough but I don’t have the quantities for that so I would recommend looking for a recipe that has similar ingredients and measures and try to adapt that amount of sourdough to this recipe … or just use good old trial and error. I hope it will work out fine!

  5. 4 stars
    I see you use a “regular” dish towel to get these grain rolls to rise. In your Brötchen recipe I watched (and made), you use the linen cloth.
    Is that something I can use for these amazing looking and mouth watering grain rolls?


  6. Hi Barbara,
    I know exactly how you feel, very few traditional bakers remain in Germany, so even more important to keep the tradition alive, thanks for all you do here!
    I was looking for a Brötchen Rezept like this one everywhere, so your recepie is much appreciated indeed. I tried it this weekend and they turned out great. One thing that was not clear, what do you do with the hot water used to cover the seeds with? Drain it away or use it alongside the seeds in the dough?
    Greetings from Somerset, UK

    1. I discard the hot water from the seeds. I probably should have made that clearer in the instructions.

      Greetings from Texas!

  7. Thank you for this recipe. I buy these brötchen all the time beim Bäcker in Deutschland. Vielen Dank.
    In line 3 you mention an egg but it is not listed in the ingredients. Is there an egg in the ingredients?

    1. Yes, that is the egg that you brush onto the rolls before baking. I added it to the list. Thank you for letting me know!

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