Goat on a Roll

I have to say this was a pretty good sandwich.

The meat is goat shoulder, which shows up in my meat CSA box with unpredictable regularity and which I have never, until now, succeeded in preparing beyond the “barely recognizable as food” level. Of course, this is not because there is anything wrong with the goat itself, but rather because I am just by nature, it seems, mystified by meat. Baffled by beef, perplexed by pork, foiled by fowl, and saddest of all, bullied by billy. Poor me.

Time to buckle down and hunt in earnest for something foolproof. I found it in Simply Recipes’ pulled pork recipe, which worked beautifully for the piquant, sinewy goat meat. The only change I made was to pressure-cook the meat with the water for 20 minutes before adding the sauce and simmering for two hours; it was then so tender that a stern glance was all it took to make it fall apart. Who’s bullying whom now, hm?

The rolls are a variation on my usual hamburger buns; the primary change was making the prefermented dough with whole wheat rather than white flour, which boosts the proportion of whole wheat flour in the rolls to about 72%. So they’re good for you, but if you use white whole wheat flour your kids will never know the difference between these and store-bought rolls. Oh, except these taste a lot better, and hold up better buried under a pile of bullied goat, too.

My oven goes a bit out of sorts now and then, and when I went to turn it on to bake the rolls, I found that the temperature select knob was stuck at 350F, the default temperature. In case your oven goes out of sorts too, you can bake the rolls at 350 for 27 – 30 minutes instead of 380 for 16 – 18 minutes as per the recipe. And I hope your oven fixes itself the next day, as mine always does (until it doesn’t).

72% Whole Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Yield: 1000 g (10 rolls)


  • Mix/ferment the prefermented dough: 2 hours
  • Mix final dough: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation: 1 hour
  • Divide and shape: 5 minutes
  • Proof: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Bake: 18 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 75F

Prefermented Dough Ingredients:

  • 171 g whole wheat flour
  • 121 g water
  • 1 g (1/3 t.) instant yeast
  • 3.4 g (9/16 t.) salt

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 164 g flour
  • 246 g whole wheat flour
  • 125 g lukewarm water
  • 4.1 g (1-1/3 t.) instant yeast
  • 8.2 g (1-3/8 t.) salt
  • 110 g (2 whole) egg
  • 42 g vegetable oil
  • 20 g sugar
  • 29 g maple syrup
  • 286 g (all of the above) prefermented dough
  • seeds or meal for topping (I used black sesame seeds and flax meal here; other suggestions are poppy seeds, flax seeds, and wheat bran)


Prefermented Dough:

  1. Mix all of the prefermented dough ingredients by hand for a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
  2. Cover and ferment for 2 hours at room temperature.


  1. Cut the prefermented dough into about six pieces and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer with all of the other final dough ingredients (except reserving about 10% of the water).
  2. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, about 4 minutes. Add water as needed to give the dough a medium-soft consistency.
  3. Continue mixing in medium speed until the gluten has reached full development.
  4. Ferment the dough at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Divide the dough into ten pieces of approximately 100 g each.
  6. Press each piece firmly to degas it, then shape into a tight ball. The easiest way to do this is to tuck the edges of the degassed dough under, pinch the seam closed, and cup your hand over the dough while rolling it in a circle against the unfloured countertop.
  7. Roll the top of the ball on a wet towel to moisten it, then in the seeds or meal of your choice.
  8. Place the rolls on two parchment-lined baking sheets and press them down into discs with the palm of your hand.
  9. Cover the sheets and proof the rolls at room temperature for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until the dough springs back very slowly when pressed with a fingertip.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 380F. If your oven has a convection setting, use it (otherwise you may need to rotate the sheets halfway through baking to ensure even browning). You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 8 – 10 minutes without steam, until the rolls are nicely browned.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Oh, these look fabulous! I have to say you took the Brazilian approach: pressure cook it, then slowly simmer it away. That’s the way my Mom used to make pot roast using all sorts of tough cuts of meat, in the end they all mellowed to her will :-)

  2. says

    I had such bad luck on my first attempt with goat that Mr. B has banned it from the house. I think any second attempts will require me to disguise it as ‘pork’ and hope for the best. This looks like the recipe to do it! P.S. Looking forward to seeing you in Boulder!

  3. says

    Wow!! Great job on the whole meal!

    The best goat I have had has been simmered until falling apart in a nice sauce. I’ve never cooked it but since you are getting this stuff on a regular basis, here is how I’ve loved it. I’m hoping I can send you off in the right direction for future meals:

    We had a carribean restaurant (don’t know exactly what island she came from). She did an amazing carribean goat curry.

    I had an Indian goat curry at a buffet of all places, it was one of the most delicious things I have eaten – I suspect any Indian curry recipe that features lamb would work with goat.

    Mexico: A dish called Birria (which I think just means goat, lol!!). I’ve had it at a couple of local restaurants and it is amazing.

  4. says

    i love the detailed procedure. this makes me understand how to do this easily. thanks! i think i would love to have goat’s cheese in it too. :)

  5. says

    Yum yum! Pulled goat sounds exotic and delicious. I’ve seen your buns before (okay, you know what I mean) and keep meaning to try them myself. They are just perfect!

  6. daria says

    Hi, Susan, I know it’s old recipe and question may seem odd, is it mistake about prefermented dough – “ferment for 2 hours”. You say that recipe is based on your common buns and there fermentation for pate fermente is 12 hours. Is it because of WW flour?
    I’ve actually already started to do them and mixed the final dough, but I am having doubts at this point.
    Thank you for answer and for keeping this blog alive. Hello from Moscow.

    • says

      Whole wheat flour does ferment more quickly than white flour. Also note that the prefermented dough is fermented at room temperature for the entire two hours, whereas in the other recipe it has an hour at room temperature and the remainder of the time in the refrigerator. You could also do that with this recipe.


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