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  • Writer's pictureDeby Hogue

Crusty Italian Sandwich Rolls

These rolls made a great sandwich. And sliced some to toast for breakfast.

The starter or biga after the rise and being in the fridge overnight.

The biga mixed into the dough, ready to rise.

It has risen. Love this part.

My rolls ready for the oven.

For the starter or biga

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

3/4 to 1 cup warm water (about 100-105 F)

For the Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3/4 to 1 cup warm water (100-105 F)

cornmeal or polenta for the pan under the rolls

1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash

1 cup hot water to put into a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven right when you put in the rolls.

To make the starter or biga, mix the flour and yeast in a medium bowl, slowly add the 3/4 cup water. Mix until a rough dough forms. If needed, add up to 1 cup of water. I used all the 1 cup of water. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead for a few minutes until it becomes smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let stand at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Put in the refrigerator and let it chill overnight. In the morning, remove the biga from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before proceeding.

Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the biga into small pieces (10-12) and add them in, then, finally the 3/4 cup of the water with the 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Stir together until a dough starts to form ( add all the water if you need to) I did. Knead for about 10 minutes until a soft dough forms. If needed, add in some of the remaining water a little at a time. The dough should be smooth and elastic -- just barely sticky.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Remove the dough to a lightly-floured surface. Cut it in 2 being careful not to deflate too much. Cut each piece into 3 equal parts. Shape each piece into a torpedo.

Place the shaped dough on a parchment covered making sheet that was sprinkled with cornmeal or polenta Spray the shaped rolls lightly with oil, then tent lightly with plastic wrap to rise until they are puffy and almost doubled, about 1 hour.

Lightly brush each roll with egg wash then score the rolls with a sharp knife or lamé either on the diagonal or down the middle. I used a razor blade.

Place a metal baking pan on the lower rack of the oven for use as a steam pan and preheat the oven to 450 F/220 C. I used a cast iron skillet. When the oven is preheated pour hot water into the metal baking pan and transfer the roll pan to the oven. Bake about 17-20 minutes, until the tops are a golden brown and the internal temperature measures 190 F.

recipe is from

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Make a sandwich!! Enjoy

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