Dec 31, 2015

Store-bought Sandwich Rolls... FORGET ABOUT IT!

Personally I love a really good hamburger. By a good hamburger, I'm not talking about McDonalds or Burger King with those disgusting soft buns. The U.S. burger deserves a decent bun around it with a perfectly grilled beef patty, lettuce and tomato, ketchup and or mustard, with fries... of course. We do have a choice you know. Lately it seems like we have been stuck with those unnaturally airy store-bought hamburger buns with collapsing domes. After you've eaten half of the burger, the bun is flat and falling apart. I say enough is enough, they just don't cut it. This is my version for...

Homemade Chewy Sandwich Rolls
These sandwich rolls are golden brown, chewy with a hole-y texture, full of flavor, and perfect for a classic Italian meatball sandwich, filled with local ground grass fed beef. They are also great filled with thinly sliced teriyaki tri-tip, made into smaller tropical pulled pork sliders, or made into a grilled mahi-maui fish sandwich with pineapple sauce, or hoisin salmon cakes. After you try this recipe you won't ever buy store-bought buns again!

Dough Ingredients:
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup whole milk (room temperature)
1 cup + 4 tablespoons water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Once everything is roughly mixed together into a very wet dough, take a dough scraper and lift/fold the dough over on itself about 30 times. Let the dough rest, covered with a kitchen towel over the bowl, for 20 minutes, then repeat this process three more times. This is time consuming, but easy to do while you're doing something else around the house, like watching a good cooking show on television. just set a timer, then turn the dough over again.

After you've completed this simple task, cover the bowl with the kitchen towel again, and let the dough rise for 2 hours in a fairly warm spot; 75°F to 80°F is perfect. If you don’t have anywhere that's warm, don’t stress; just set the bowl somewhere away from cold drafts.

After 2 hours, the dough will have risen. It’ll still be shiny, and sticky; but you should be able to work with it, so long as you grease or wet your hands.

Transfer the dough to a greased or floured work surface. Divide it into 6 pieces, if making long rolls (see note below). Wet or oil your hands and gently shape each piece of dough into a log about 6″ long.

Transfer the shaped dough to a parchment-lined, half-sheet pan, spacing them across the length of the pan. Cover the pan with a heavily greased plastic wrap or parchment. Let them rise until they’re noticeably puffy, 2 to 3 hours or so. That's enough time to go shopping or something.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 475°F. Uncover the rolls, and spritz them heavily with warm water (this makes the rolls crustier). Bake the rolls, no matter what size, for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re a dark golden brown. Remove the rolls from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. That's it!

Makes 6, 6" long sub rolls.

Note: You can shape this dough into thin baguettes using a baguette baking pan (so the dough doesn't flatten out), or 16 rounds to make crusty, 4" hamburger buns. If you have leftover rolls, simple put them in a zip-lock freezer bag and freeze them until you're ready to use them again. Simple de-frost in the microwave and reheat in a 425˚ oven for about 10 minutes.

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