The first quirk I learned about my husband was 8 years ago, while we were munching on a quick breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches.
His bagel sandwich was unfortunately not put together properly. The bacon was piled in one corner while the ketchup was only spread on half of the bagel – it was a mess.
My husband called it poor “Sandwich Dynamics”. According to him, the qualification for stellar Sandwich Dynamics was one that was properly layered. Every ingredient should be in every bite because of the careful construction and layering of the Sandwich Builder.
Qualifications for Great Sandwich Dynamics
Since then, we’ve built upon these qualifications that are required in order to be rated highly on the Sandwich Scale. The ratio of substance (ie. meats) to refreshers (ie. lettuce, onions) to sauces (ie. mayo, hot sauce etc.) all play a part in the makings of a great sandwich. Since I’m a baker, my biggest qualifier has to do with the carrier of the sandwich – the bread.
The Soggy Roll
Did you ever have a sandwich where the bread or the roll seems to be gone before you’ve taken your first bite? A soggy, soppy mess that falls through your fingers and drips onto your lap? There ends up being more filling on your plate than there is between the bread! This seems to happen to me most often with a sloppy lobster roll, where you end up picking up the bits of coveted lobster with your fingers and trying to gingerly shove them back in the now nonexistent roll.
The Dry Roll
Or how about the opposite….there’s too much bread with not enough filling? Every bite seems to be like chewing a loaf of bread down rather than the perfect ratio of substance to refreshers to sauces. Because of this, the sandwich is dry and boring.
The Chewy Roll
Then, you also run the issue of the wrong TEXTURE of bread for the right type of sandwich. You wouldn’t use a bagel for a grilled cheese – it’s far too chewy without getting the nice crust that you would if you used a pain de mie. On the reverse, pain de mie just wouldn’t do for a hefty sandwich like pulled pork or sloppy joe. It needs something denser, to hold all the sauce inside and keep it from dripping down the front of your shirt.
Soft Sandwich Rolls
The following recipe is nice because of it’s versatility. It is very soft and compacts down when you bite into it, but surprisingly very sturdy. This one would hold up to a juicy burger and also to a cold cut sandwich. It’s nice served straight from the counter or warmed up a bit.
I recently pulled out this recipe for fried chicken sandwiches and they stood up quite nicely to the crunch of the chicken, keeping the sandwich together until the very last bite. Much to the amusement of my husband, our leftovers were made into buffalo chicken sandwiches and the soft sandwich rolls stood it’s ground yet again. The buffalo sauce combined with the blue cheese were the perfect match to this soft beauty.
They also last quite long. If they seem to have staled out, pop them in the oven and they will spring back to their original softness in just a few minutes.
To start, combine your wet ingredients, the water, olive oil and molasses in the bowl of the stand mixer. I love my KitchenAid professional series, especially for doughs. It has a great motor that doesn’t quit while trying to build gluten structure.
Then on top, you add the flour, sugar and yeast and mix on low for about 2 minutes until the dough looks like a shaggy mess. Then you want to let it sit and rest, to let the yeast start to activate before adding the salt.
Add the salt and turn the speed up to medium for about 10 minutes. This is a very loose 10 minutes because you’re really looking for the structure of your dough to progress rather than time pass. You want the dough to be smooth and supple and slapping against the sides of the bowl. Have an oiled bowl set to the side to put your dough in once it’s ready to rise. Cover the bowl with your dough with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out while it rises. You want the dough to double, it takes maybe an hour. Again, this is loose timing. When the dough has risen to double it’s size, it’s ready.KitchenAid KP26M1XER 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer – Empire Red
Dividing and Shaping
After your dough has risen, you want to decide if you’re doing soft sandwich rolls, submarine rolls or slider buns. For sandwich or submarine rolls, you want to divide your dough into 8 equal pieces or about 4 oz pieces. The only difference will be shaping. Don’t worry if you end up adding little bits to get to each weight, the bits will come together during shaping.
For slider buns, about 1.75 oz to 2 oz is a great size. In this case you would get 16-20 rolls from this recipe. I use my bench scraper to divide up the dough – it’s easy to work with and the perfect tool for the job.RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Bench Scraper
Here I chose to do large soft sandwich rolls.
After you’ve divided your dough, you need to shape. I’ve found a good little video to demonstrate the rolling technique to get a nice, evenly rounded roll. Love his accent too!
Click here for shaping video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx2Sf3XqkhQ
Once shaped, pop them onto your sheet pan with parchment that has been sprayed with Pam to prevent sticking. Spray the tops again with oil and cover completely with plastic wrap. This will prevent the plastic from sticking to your rolls and keep the tops nice and smooth.
Place them in a warm spot in your kitchen to proof before baking. I found that an hour in my kitchen made them nice and fluffy, but could be shorter or longer in your kitchen. A good way to test if they are ready is to poke the dough ball with your finger near the bottom of the pan. If the dough springs back then they need more time. If you can see you finger imprint stay, then they’re ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven
Whip up your egg wash by cracking an egg in a small bowl and whisking together with a few tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Grab a pastry brush and brush the rolls with the wash to give the crust a nice shine. You want to brush every bit of the roll that you can see to create a nice, consistent exterior.
If you’ve got convection in your oven, bake at 375 degrees and if not, 400 degrees. Place the pan in the center rack of your oven to ensure good airflow and even browning. The round rolls in my oven with convection baked for 22 full minutes, with a turn halfway through for even cooking.
When you’re baking, it’s not always about timing. If yours are not browned all the way around (including underneath) at 22 minutes, keep them in. If they’re browned at 20, take them out. When they’re done, they’re done!
Let them cool on the pan, slice horizontally and stuff with whatever your heart desires! Ours were layered with mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion and crispy fried chicken, served with a refreshing watermelon mojito.
What a lovely summertime lunch.
Give the recipe a go and comment below how they came out! Any tweaks you found work best in your kitchen? I’d love to hear about them!
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This recipe is perfect for round or long rolls. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe. They are much more accurate in any bread recipe and your rolls will thank you for it.
- 355 g warm water (about 100°F)
- 28 g olive oil
- 14 g molasses
- 560 g all purpose flour
- 14 g sugar
- 7 g yeast
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp water
- Combine water, olive oil and molasses in the bowl of KitchenAid or stand mixer and whisk together.
- Add flour, sugar and yeast on top and mix on low speed 2 minutes until the dough is a shaggy mess.
- Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a towel and let rest 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Add salt and mix on medium speed until the dough looks smooth and slaps the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
- Spray a clean bowl with PAM spray and place the dough in the bowl, turning once to coat the dough in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled. If your kitchen is warm, this could take an hour, give or take.
- After dough has doubled, lightly flour your counter surface and place the dough on the counter.
- Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 4 oz pieces for large rolls and 2 oz pieces for slider rolls. If you don’t have a scale, divide the dough evenly into 8 or 16 pieces respectively.
- Next, to shape the rolls. Round each roll by cupping your hand over the dough ball and drawing a small counter-clockwise circle on the table with the heel of your hand. The dough will be catching on the counter and pulling the dough taut on the top of the ball underneath your hand.
- Layer a sheet tray with parchment and spray with PAM to prevent sticking. You should be able to fit all the rolls on one tray.
- Spray the tops of the rolls with PAM and cover completely with plastic wrap to proof. Place in a warm spot in your kitchen away from the sun, until the rolls look very puffy, about an hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F with convection if you have it.
- When the rolls are puffy, whisk together the egg, water and a pinch of salt. Brush each dough ball completely with wash until totally covered.
- Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes, then turn the pan. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown all the way around. Lift up a roll to check underneath for browning.
- Cool, then serve.
These rolls are good for 5-7 days when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Just reheat to revive.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: rolls, sandwich rolls, sandwich, bread