Last weekend, we grilled the first hamburgers from our newly-joined meat CSA. They were most excellent accompanied by a little lettuce, tomato, and red onion on these rolls. I made everyone wait while I took a photo before we could eat. (This is just one of the ways I endlessly embarrass my daughter, who is convinced I lie awake at night plotting new ways to do this.)
The rolls are quite a bit more substantial than the squishy cottony ones that seem, unfortunately, to be standard cookout fare. With about 40% whole wheat flour, the crust is chewy-tender, the crumb soft but still hearty and flavorful. And they’re not just for burgers; they work for just about any sandwich. Sized a little smaller, they would also make fine dinner rolls.
The preferment in this recipe is prefermented dough (AKA “pâte fermentée” or “old dough”). This is essentially a simple white bread dough that has already undergone its first fermentation. You can make it from scratch, as described here, but if you have some extra dough left over from making French bread or pizza, go ahead and use that. Or, in a pinch, you can use store-bought dough (Trader Joes’ isn’t bad).
Soft Sandwich Rolls
(Adapted from SFBI)
Yield: 1000 g (10 hamburger-size rolls)
- Mix/ferment the prefermented dough: 8 – 12 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: 76F
Prefermented Dough Ingredients:
- 171 g flour
- 111 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
- 110 g (approximately) lukewarm water
- 4.1 g (1-1/3 t.) instant yeast
- 8.2 g (1-3/8 t.) salt
- 100 g (2 whole) egg
- 42 g vegetable oil
- 20 g sugar
- 29 g molasses or brown rice syrup
- 286 g (all of the above) prefermented dough
- Mix all of the prefermented dough ingredients by hand for a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Cover and ferment for 1 hour at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator overnight.
- 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 20% of the water).
- Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, about 4 minutes. Add water as needed to give the dough a medium-soft consistency.
- Continue mixing in medium speed until the gluten has reached full development (check this with the windowpane test).
- Ferment the dough at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into ten pieces of approximately 100 g each.
- 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.
- Roll the top of the ball on a wet towel to moisten it, then in sesame seeds.
- Place the rolls on two parchment-lined baking sheets and press them down into discs with the palm of your hand.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 8 – 10 minutes without steam, until the rolls are nicely browned.
- Cool on a wire rack.