Bread Day: Hoagie Rolls and Sandwich Buns

After trying this a few times, I'm positive I've finally gotten the hang of it. Sandwich buns have eluded me - too fluffy, too heavy. A bit of playing around and a memory of my torturous night in the Kroger bakery finally put it all together in my own kitchen.

Steam. No, I don't have one of those fancy-schmancy steamers in my oven. But, a spray bottle filled with cool water gives these hoagie rolls and sandwich buns just the right chewiness in the crust. As soon as I put the rolls and buns in the oven, I sprayed them liberally and quickly closed the door. This built up enough steam to get the right texture.

Only six ingredients and, for the two of us, more than enough bread for a week. A larger family might not have the same issues but I had to freeze some of it.

Make sure you use your digital thermometer to make sure the water is the right temperature. Too hot, the yeast will die an agonizing death. Too cold, it will never make it out of the starting gate.

When you see the phrase "proof the yeast" in a recipe, this is what it looks like when the yeast is ready.
 Yes, this picture is kind of dizzy, but one of the silly little things I didn't understand when I first started baking bread in the 80s was how "clean" the bowl should actually be. It comes with time, the same as learning the feel of the dough in your hands when it's been kneaded enough.

Another bread term "until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl". It's not going to be spotless.
 This is a 2-rise method using instant yeast. Yeah, I'm a rebel that way. After the first rise, in a large bowl, divide your dough. We weighed the different pieces. The hoagie rolls are four ounces and the sandwich buns 2.5 ounces. Shape the rolls into a log, slash the top and place on a sprayed baking pan.
Six hoagie rolls after they've risen. I slashed them before rising to get them into the "groove".
 I made sure to flatten the buns before they rose, then gently pushed down a bit with the flat of my hand after the second rise. They are still going to "pop" in the oven but this way they weren't so tall.

Eight sandwich buns. Harry likes big buns. Seriously - have you seen my hips?
"Amish Bread" was a 25-year quest. I finally got it Wright enough that Mom loves it!
 Each sandwich bread loaf starts with 20 ounces of dough. Use the large bread pans. Below, you see the Muffuletta bread. We've had two problems in the past - too thick of a loaf and a crust a bit too "crusty" for our tastes. So, Harry's idea was to put the dough on a piece of parchment to rise and cover it with a sprayed 10-inch cake pan. The result: It rose perfectly, we left the pan on for the first 10 minutes of baking to keep from getting too much pop. When I removed the pan, I sprayed the loaf with some water.

The Muffuletta bread is crispy on the bottom with a nice solid crust that didn't get soggy from the olive salad but not too much bread OR hard crust.
Beautiful, aren't they? In the back is the Muffuletta Bread
 Golden brown buns with enough interior body to stand up to anything you fill them with!

Chewy crust, firm texture that won't fall apart under juicy cheeseburgers, Phillies, or Meatball Subs!
All of these beautiful pieces of bread art came from two batches of dough - the one below made the buns & Hoagie rolls plus I used my standby white bread recipe for The Wright Taste to make the bread and Muffulatta. While the bread was rising both times, I was making a monstrous batch of homemade meatballs!
No - seriously! Less than 30 minutes "hands-on" time.
I use a Kitchen-Aid Pro 600 - when you bake as much bread in the summer as we do, I need a big mixer. The instructions are easy to adapt to a smaller mixer, or a hand mixer or a spoon. Just make sure to knead the bread properly no matter what instrument you use.

Multi-Purpose Sandwich Recipe:
1.5 tablespoons instant yeast
3 cups warm water (110-155 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
8-9 cups bread flour

1) In the bowl of your mixer, place the yeast and 1/2 cup of the warm water along with one tablespoon of sugar. Allow to sit still for about 5 minutes until the top is foamy.

2) Add the rest of the water and sugar plus the salt and oil and about 4 cups of flour. Mix on low with the dough hook until the flour is incorporated.

3) Increase the speed to medium-low (I go to two) and gradually add enough flour until the dough starts to clean the side of the bowl. Continue to knead at the same speed for 5-6 minutes. Harry read yesterday that Alton Brown says 15 minutes. I'm working on my patience.

4) Lightly sprinkle your surface with flour - I mean just a couple of tablespoons. Give the dough a few turns of manual kneading and it should have the right "feel". Not too dry and not soppy-sticky - maybe a little tacky. Speaking of tacky, I always give my dough a smack kind of like football players slapping each other on the butt. Just for luck.

5) Place the dough in a large bowl with just a teaspoon of oil in the bottom. Turn the dough ball all around to coat it. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for about 45-60 minutes until it's double in size.

6) After the dough has risen, punch it down. That's right - make a fist and push it down and squish all the gasses out that built up over the last hour. Now it's time to shape the buns and Hoagie rolls.

7) I use a scale to measure all of my dough and even have a fancy-schmancy dough blade that I use to cut with. Divide the dough in half.

8) With one half of the dough, cut it into six equal pieces. Shape each into a log, keeping it on the long and thin side. Place the logs on a sprayed baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a diagonal slash across each log. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.

9) With the other half of the dough, divide it into eight equal pieces. Shape each roll into a kind of flat disc - something like a donut without a hole - but not too flat. Place them on a sprayed baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and they will rise to double in 30-40 minutes. Using the flat of your hand, gently press down on the buns so they don't rise too high to eat.

10) Bake the rolls and buns in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. To give the rolls a chewy crust, spray them with cool water as soon as you slide the pans into the oven.

11) Allow the buns to cool completely before sentencing them to a storage container. These freeze well for at least three weeks. That's all I know because that's how long I kept ours in the freezer before using them.


  1. You make your own bread? How ambitious! It would be a disaster if I tried.
    Remember to keep posts short for April - you'll receive a lot more comments and visits.
    Enjoy the Challenge!

  2. No need to freeze .. I'll be by later!

  3. I am so jealous. And suddenly hungry!

  4. I love your presentations, Debbie.

  5. Wow, home made bread. Ive never been very good at it turning out well. Maybe with your recipe it will.
    I love your take on the A to Z Challenge... recipes! I found you with the 'surprise me' button. I'm a new follower.
    I'd love for you to check out my take on the A to Z Challenge, comment and follow, if you like.
    I'm at:

    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

  6. I love the post and I wouldn't shortenit for anything. The pictures are mout-watering. Added you to my Good as Grandma's blog.

  7. Yummy. I don't think I could ever make such beautiful bread, I can practically smell it though!

  8. I never thought of making my own hoagie rolls--they seem so mythical, from Philly bakeries, but they are bread afterall. . .

  9. Yummmmmmmmmmm...I just ate, but I could eat that bread right now. I'll be back to sample some more recipes soon.

  10. So glad I discovered your blog! Gonna add this one to the list of every day check ins!!!!

  11. Okay, I'm hungry now. Nothing in my pantry looks as yummy as your pictures of the breads. I guess that's a good thing -- or I'd be 500 lbs.

    MM the Queen of English


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