Crusty Hoagie Rolls

September  8, 2023
3 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 15 hours
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 8 rolls
Author Notes

​​This is a recipe I really hope you will try, even if you don’t usually bake bread. If you’re intimidated, please don’t be scared! Watch our corresponding episode of Bake it Up a Notch —or any of our episodes that educate on yeast and bread making—I’ve got you!!! This dough is a great introduction to how the bread-baking process works. It uses a starter (but a much simpler one than, say, sourdough), so it benefits from its strength, hydration, and flavor. Steam is a powerful technique for some types of breads and rolls, including this recipe. Introducing steam during baking promotes an incredibly crisp, well-browned outer crust with that ideal chewy bread texture. Professional bakeries use special ovens that inject steam right into the oven—but at home, I use a pan of ice cubes to create steam when I’m baking bread.

There’s a lot of downtime in this recipe, so it’s a great baking project for a weekend. The final rolls freeze beautifully, so you can bake a batch when you have time, then have bakery-level rolls at the ready. Prepare to be impressed by yourself! Store leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (as they stale, they make great toast or crostini).

To freeze the rolls, wrap each one tightly in aluminum foil and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To refresh, place the foil-wrapped rolls in a cold oven and turn it on to 375°F/190°C. When the preheat buzzer notifies you the oven is at temperature, leave the baguettes in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes more. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
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Crusty Hoagie Rolls
  • For the preferment:
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup (226 grams) room-temperature water (about 75°F/25°C)
  • 2 cups (240 grams) bread flour
  • For the rolls:
  • 1 3/4 cups (396 grams) warm water (about 110°F/45°C)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) instant dry yeast
  • 1 batch preferment
  • 5 1/2 cups (660 grams) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt
  • 6 cups ice cubes (about 1 ½ liters), for baking
  1. For the preferment:
  2. The night before you want to make the rolls, make the preferment: In a medium bowl, stir the yeast, and water together well to combine. Add the flour, then mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined and a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Cover the bowl and let rise at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight); if your ambient room temperature is higher than 75°F/45°C, let the dough rise at room temperature for 6 hours, then refrigerate for the remaining 6 hours.
  1. For the rolls:
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water and yeast together with a silicone spatula. Add the starter and stir a few times, then add the bread flour and salt and mix on low speed for 4 minutes until the dough comes together. Raise the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes more, until the dough is fairly smooth.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until it nearly doubles in size, about 2 hours.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (about 190 grams each). Fold each piece of dough onto itself a few times to make a roughly round shape. Cover the dough rounds with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on the lightly floured surface, press the dough all over with your fingertips to flatten it. Starting with the part of dough farthest away from you, fold the dough over onto itself, using your fingertips to press it down firmly as you go. Repeat this process 2 or 3 more times—as you work, the piece of dough will become longer. When there’s about ½ inch/1 cm of dough left that hasn’t been folded, switch from your fingertips to the heel of your hand to secure the dough as you fold it over, finally forming the dough into a rough log.
  6. Starting in the center of the log, roll it under your fingers and upper portion of your palms into a baguette shape about 8 inches/20 cm long, applying slightly more pressure to the ends of the dough to taper them slightly. Gently transfer the baguette to the prepared baking sheets, evenly spacing 4 rolls down the center of each baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. Loosely cover the baguettes with clean dish towels and let rise until noticeably puffy, 40 minutes to 1 hour; they will not double in size. Toward the end of the rise time, heat the oven to 450°F/230°C with the racks in the upper and lower thirds; if you have one, put a baking steel or pizza stone on the upper rack.
  8. Use a lame (or other tool) to score the top of the baguettes on one of the baking sheets with 3 diagonal slashes each. (Optional: spritz each baguette with water to create additional moisture on the surface, which will steam and encourage a crisper crust in the oven.)
  9. Scoop the ice cubes into a 9x13-inch/23 x 33 cm baking pan and place the pan on the lower oven rack. Transfer the sheet of baguettes you just scored to the top oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the pan of steamy water and set it on the back of your stovetop. Continue to bake the baguettes 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are deeply golden brown and the internal temperature in the center is 200°F/93°C. Transfer the baguettes to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Score the second pan of baguettes as described above. Return the pan of hot water to the bottom rack, place the baguettes on the top rack, and bake as directed. Let the baguettes cool completely before serving or splitting in half for sandwich rolls.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

2 Reviews

Joanne March 25, 2024
Fantastic Hoagie Rolls! Easy to make, too. I let the preferment go for about 6-8hrs max as we don’t care for the sourdough effect of letting it go 12 hrs. Still, very tasty. These are my go to sandwich rolls from now on. Thanks!
Smaug October 3, 2023
I never understood the idea of using ice to make steam- hot water (or even room temperature) seems so much more efficient.