A Kaiser roll stamp provides a shortcut to giving Kaiser rolls their classic swirled look at the top.
Certainly, Kaiser rolls will taste the same without a swirl on top of them, but if you hand someone a roll with a perfectly rounded top, without that classic five-spoked swirl, and tell them it’s a Kaiser roll, you’ll just get a funny look. And looks aside, it’s true that the swirl does expose more of the surface to get crispy during baking.
Classically, the look is made by folding up the dough. Some people, though, find this too time consuming, or can’t get it right — the folds come apart on them during rising and baking, and the roll ends up looking like a mutant starfish.
A kaiser roll stamp provides perfect, uniform-looking Kaiser rolls with the swirl on top, though any purist won’t be fooled for a second into thinking the dough was actually folded.
The stamps are made of plastic or metal, and will be anywhere from 6 to 10 cm (2 1/2 to 4 inches) wide. They are flat discs with a handle on one side, and on the other side dull, protruding “blades” in a 5-arm swirl pattern (though occasionally a stamp with a more general swirl pattern may be seen being sold as a Kaiser stamp.)
When you have shaped your rounds as a round piece of dough, before the final rise, you press the “bladed” side into the top of the roll to form the pattern. When risen and baked, it will have the classic Kaiser roll pattern.
Using a Kaiser roll stamp: