Burger and Hoagie Rolls

In Recipies on January 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

In my mind, baking bread is one of the closest activities where I can create something from nothing. The whole baking process is a progression of transformations in state and character.

The dough starts out as dry flour, gets wet, goes from small to big (rises), and finally goes from pasty white to golden brown.


The winter months are my traditional baking season. I can bake all day and the residual heat from the oven helps heat my house. And, it smells wonderful.

To keep bread baking economical, I typically buy flour in 20-50 pound amounts. Yeast, when purchased from a grocer, is the most expensive of the ingredients with a 4-ounce jar typically costing about a dollar per ounce.

In bulk, I pay about $1-2 per pound for yeast.

Therefore, I buy yeast in 3-5 pound bulk quantities. I fill my old 4-ounce jar (kept in the fridge) and then vacuum pack the remaining yeast and simply re-vacuum pack the yeast each time I refill my jar. Thus packed, my bulk yeast remains active and fresh well beyond a year!

Pita and French baguettes make up the majority of my baking tasks. I recently added hamburger rolls and hoagie buns to my baking list.


I simply got tired of paying about $3 for a bag of white, tasteless, and mushy commercial rolls and buns. Most of what I paid for was air, whipped into the dough to give it an unsubstantial feel in the mouth…a bread trait coveted by (American) children and to increase profitability for the baker.

My bun and roll recipe is essentially an old one for Parker House or cloverleaf dinner rolls. They have an open structure, but still have a satisfying substantial feel on the tongue. Toasted, they are marvelous.

The following recipe makes about 12 hamburger rolls or 8 hoagie rolls.

Let’s get baking!

3 ½ C flour (I use unbleached)

3 tsp dry yeast

1 ¼ C whole milk

¼ C butter or pareve margarine

¼ C sugar

1 egg

1 tsp salt

Mix 1 ½ cups of the flour with the yeast. I use a fork to make sure the yeast is evenly combined with the flour. Mix the butter, milk, salt, and sugar and heat it (in a microwave or on the stove) to 125F. You will need an instant-read thermometer and, yes, the temperature is critical. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and yeast mixture and begin kneading with (preferably) a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook. Be sure to (carefully!) scrape down the edges of the bowl with a rubber-handled spatula, or TURN OFF the mixer when scraping the bowl.

When the mixture is well blended, add in the egg and mix well. Now add in the remaining flour by the cup. Knead the dough with a bread hook until it is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough and place it in a lightly oiled bowl, rotating it so all surfaces are well coated with oil. Cover with a towel, and place in a warm oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and leave it in the (towel covered) bowl to “rest” for 10-15 minutes. Then pinch off tennis ball sized chunks of dough and place them on a non-stick, greased steel, or parchment covered baking sheet. I usually fit about 6 burger rolls on a standard sheet. If you are making hoagie buns, pinch off a little less than twice the size of a tennis ball (a tennis ball and a golf ball) and mold it into mini loaves. I can fit about four of these on a standard baguette pan.

Return them to the warm oven and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and preheat the oven to 375-400F (400 if you treasure a dark crust). Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes and remove them to cool on a wire rack.

These are firm enough to easily slice without them folding or crushing down. They freeze very well if you allow them to fully cool before bagging them.





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