Make Ahead

Famous Egg Sandwich From Flour Bakery

July 20, 2020
9 Ratings
Photo by Kristin Teig
Author Notes

We never meant for our egg sandwiches to become famous. In fact, for the first seven or so years we were open, we only offered them on Sundays in a limited amount and on a first-come, first-served basis. The original Flour is just a short walk from one of Boston’s classic diners, Mike’s City Diner, which serves a killer egg sandwich along with its characteristic sassy attitude. We figured our customers would come to us for pastries and head to Mike’s if they wanted a more substantial eggy breakfast. Since our kitchen isn’t really set up for a diner-style egg sandwich, with eggs cracked into a skillet and fried to order, we had to come up with a way to precook the eggs so they could simply be reheated and assembled quickly to order by the counter staff. We tried to bake the eggs ahead of time, but they turned rubbery as soon as they were chilled. So we brought in our pastry knowledge that fat—in this case, half-and half— keeps eggs tender and soft. Thus our egg soufflé was born. We bake the eggs in advance and then reheat them with cheese, meat, and tomato to order. Our homemade focaccia roll is slathered with dijonnaise, a mix of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise that we dub our (not any longer) “secret sauce.” These egg sandwiches have become so beloved that now we offer them seven days a week all day long, and some customers only know us as the Egg Sandwich Place.

Reprinted from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang with permission by Chronicle Books, 2013.

On The Genius Recipe Tapes, Kristen checked in with chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery and Myers & Chang Joanne Chang—they discussed how the past year has gone, "the mom test," and what authenticity means to Joanne in her work. Listen here.Joanne Chang

  • Makes 4 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • Egg sandwiches
  • 1 handful cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet
  • 1/2 batch Flour Focaccia dough (below), or 1 lb/455 g store-bought pizza dough
  • 1 handful all-purpose flour for sprinkling on the rolls
  • 9 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) half-and-half
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices good-quality ham, or 8 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cooked in the oven until barely crisp
  • 1/3 cup (60 ml) good-quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups (40 grams) mesclun greens or other mild lettuce
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • Focaccia
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, or 0.2 oz/5 g fresh cake yeast
  • 3 cups (420 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (150 grams) bread flour
  • 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1 handful cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Egg sandwiches
  2. Sprinkle the baking sheet liberally with the cornmeal. Set aside.
  3. Shape the dough into a 4-in/10-cm square, then divide the square into four equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by stretching it flat on a work surface and then bringing the edges inward to meet in the center. Turn the dough piece over and keep tucking the edges of the dough underneath until you have a small ball with a taut surface. Place the dough ball on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining three dough pieces. Sprinkle the dough balls with some of the flour, lightly cover them with plastic wrap or a lint-free cloth, and place them in a warm area (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C is ideal) for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and is soft and wobbly.
  4. About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven. Coat the bottom and sides of the cake pan with nonstick spray or liberally coat the bottom and sides with vegetable oil.
  5. Uncover the dough balls. Sprinkle them with the remaining flour, and then slap each ball flat with the palm of your hand to deflate it. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C. 5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the half-and-half and salt until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared cake pan.
  6. Place the cake pan in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan on the center oven rack. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. This water bath will ensure that the egg souffle will cook slowly and evenly. Drape a piece of aluminum foil over the cake pan or place a baking sheet directly on top of it, then carefully slide in the oven rack and close the oven door. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the foil or baking sheet and sprinkle the pepper and thyme evenly over the top. Cover again and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer, or until the center of the egg mixture is just barely set and no longer wiggles when you jiggle the pan.
  7. Remove both pans from the oven, and carefully remove the cake pan holding the eggs from the water bath. Leave the oven on. Let the eggs cool and set in the pan for about 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Cut the eggs into four equal portions. Using a spatula, carefully remove the egg patties from the cake pan. (Egg patties may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.) Place the egg patties on the baking sheet and top each patty with 1 slice of the Cheddar and 1 slice of the ham or 2 strips of bacon. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.
  8. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and mustard and stir until blended. Split each cooled roll in half horizontally, and spread the mayo-mustard mixture evenly on both cut sides of each roll. Divide the mesclun equally among the roll bottoms. Remove the egg patties from the oven, place a patty on top of the greens, then top each with 1 tomato slice. Close each sandwich with a roll top and press down to smush everything together. Serve immediately.
  1. Focaccia
  2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine 1 1⁄2 cups/360 ml tepid water and the yeast and let sit for 20 to 30 seconds to allow the yeast to dissolve and activate. Dump the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt into the water. Carefully turn the mixer on to low speed and mix for about 10 seconds. (To prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl, turn the mixer on and off several times until the flour is mixed into the liquid, and then keep it on low speed.) When the dough is still shaggy looking, drizzle in the olive oil, aiming it along the side of the bowl to keep it from splashing and making a mess.
  3. With the mixer still on low speed, knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and supple. The dough should be somewhat sticky but still smooth and have an elastic, stretchy texture. (If it is much stiffer than this, mix 1 to 2 tbsp water; if it is much looser than this, mix in 2 to 3 tbsp all-purpose flour.)
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cloth, and place in a draft-free, warm (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C is ideal) area for 2 to 3 hours. An area near the stove or in the oven with only the oven light on is good. The dough should rise until it is about double in bulk. (This is called proofing the dough.)
  5. Once the dough has risen, flour your hands and the work surface and turn the dough out onto the work surface. Press the dough into an 8-in/20-cm square and fold the top edge of the square down to the center of the dough. Fold the bottom of the square up to the center of the dough and press the seam firmly with your fingers. Now fold the right side of the square into the center and the left side into the center, and again press the seam firmly. Turn the dough over, seam-side down, and shape the dough with a tucking motion so that it is about 6 in/15 cm square. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, generously flour the top of the dough, and then cover the dough loosely but completely with a damp lint-free cloth or a piece of plastic wrap. Place in a warm area (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C) for another hour or so, or until the dough rises a bit and gets puffy and pillowy. (This is proofing, again.) If making hot pockets, egg sandwiches, or turkey burgers: Split the dough in half and reserve half of the dough for another use. Proceed with the desired recipe as directed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • June Loo
    June Loo
  • Jo Supko
    Jo Supko
  • Joanne Chang
    Joanne Chang
  • pulkrevolvingdoors
    pulkrevolvingdoors
I am a pastry chef/restaurateur in Boston passionate about all things sweet and savory. I co-own Flour Bakery+Cafe and co-own Myers+Chang, both in Boston. I love my work, I'm crazy about my husband, my staff keeps me going and is truly the most amazing group of people I've ever known, I am addicted to ice cream and fruit of all kinds. I used to run marathons but have scaled back a bit and am trying to be more well-rounded by attempting yoga. I read voraciously, I plan obsessively, I feel so very lucky to have found a life partner and a life passion both of which make me happy every day.

8 Reviews

June L. September 7, 2020
Is this a make ahead recipe? I imagine the egg soufflé will deflate if not served immediately. Thanks.
 
June L. September 7, 2020
Is this a make ahead recipe? I imagine the egg soufflé will deflate if not served immediately.
 
Jo S. August 4, 2020
When I made this for the first time, I chose to use bakery rolls instead of attempting the entire recipe. My family and I enjoyed the egg, but I had to bake it for about an hour, even increasing the 300 degree oven to 375 over that hour. Since I did not have the oven originally set to 400, that's probably why I needed to bake the eggs longer. Next time I will start with a hotter oven and lower the temp. I did use a sturdy nonstick 9x9 pan in a bath of water inside a 9x13 pan. I would not skip that step as was suggested by another review. This is a good dish for family and overnight company alike.
 
pulkrevolvingdoors August 1, 2020
I created an account to review this recipe... this is a delicious, go to easy breakfast sandwich for your arsenal, no doubt. I will be making this on holidays, when I go away with friends and need to feed a group. But I feel the need to make a few changes here for the home cook, because you can produce essentially exactly this result for 1/10th of the effort and make this a regular weekday / weekend treat. Ready start to finish in 45 mins max. Most of which is sat round with a coffee relaxing.

1. The foccacia produced is delicious. But if you are short on time, any nice roll will do just fine! Foccacia is an excellent choice because it's smaller size yet malleable texture is so ideal for a breakfast sandwich.. it holds its shape yet you can actually fit it in your mouth (!), unlike the average roll sandwich. But if you don't fancy this whole process, you can create a beautiful sandwich with whatever you have to hand. Just try and use nice bread, of course.
2. The water bath is really an unnecessary step, and causes a lot of issues, stress and extra washing up. For one, it's dangerous. If your oven is small, you do not want boiling water sloshing around as you try to remove your eggs. Secondly, as you put it in, your oven door is open long enough to drastically change your oven temperature. For the average cook, I'd advise skipping the bath and simply putting your eggs on the the shelf as you would a tart, quiche, a frittata etc. just turn them around in the oven regularly to make sure they cook evenly. Pros will notice the slight difference in texture with the bath, but honestly, I've done both and no-one else will notice. It makes it sound more complicated and cheffy than it is - it is baked eggs with cream (and a lovely touch of thyme). A regular tart filling. That is all. Cut to squares and put in bread.
3. The cake tin. The first time I made this, with my go to cake tin, The egg mixture spilled out the sides all over my kitchen causing absolute chaos. Make sure that you use a tin with a solid bottom, or if a detachable bottom, one where you swear blind it will not spill liquid. If in doubt, TEST WITH WATER FIRST. Do not be me. Do not end up with nine eggs and cream all over hardwood floors. A greater concern for you tin, is one that is the right size. They fluff up quite nicely, so you want one where if you eyeball it, it would make 4 nice squares when cut to shape, and there is room at the sides to fluff up. I haven't tested it, but lining said pan with baking paper could also save you scraping baked eggs from your pan afterwards and make the whole thing even easier.

With these cheats, this recipe becomes much more manageable, and an easy go to breakfast sandwich for your family and friends. Put it on a pretty plate and no-one will know how easy it was.
 
someonewhobakes July 22, 2020
Same question as sonny1251, but also about the baking sheet. A “prepared baking sheet” is mentioned, but what size? Also, I don’t think the recipe mentions what kind of pan to use to bake the rolls.
 
Author Comment
Joanne C. July 22, 2020
8X8 cake pan and 9x13 baking sheet or a standard cookie sheet!
 
sonny1251 July 20, 2020
What size of cake pan is needed for the eggs? It's nowhere in the recipe instructions, but I assume 8x8 or 9x9?
 
Author Comment
Joanne C. July 22, 2020
Yes 8x8!