Monday, February 28, 2011

Something Comforting to Chew On...Sesame Sandwich Rolls

Sometimes only simple breads will do. It's true! There is a time for everything under the sun and sometimes, just sometimes, all that will satisfy your craving is a simple bread. A roll that is soft yet strong enough to hold your sandwich without crumbling into pieces, or becoming mushy with sauces or other condiments. A roll with a crunchy crust and a soft, but slightly chewy interior. Oh, and it should be moist, but not too... I mean, that's a roll, right? What else will do for your roast beef or veggies? Only this sandwich roll, I promise. To achieve the slightly tangy flavor, this roll uses a 'starter' dough called 'pate fermentee', which I have highlighted in previous recipes. Literally it means old or fermented dough and refers to the Old World custom of using a piece of dough from today's batch as a starter for tomorrow's batch. A very similar flavor is achieved by mixing a kind of dough and letting it sit for several hours at room temperature before continuing the recipe. That's what I do here and the result... Well you tell me!

Here's What You'll Need:
for the starter dough
2 cups (280g) AP flour
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/4 cups (300ml) warm water

Mix it all together to make a sticky dough and then cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to ferment at room temperature for about 4 or 5 hours (or even overnight). Then...

for the dough:
2 1/3 cups (320g) AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast
2/3 cups (160ml) warm water

Here's What You'll Need to Do:
After the starter has fermented, mix the flour, salt and yeast together, then add the pate fermentee and the extra water. Combine and knead to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. The dough will be very smooth and elastic. You may need to adjust the water by adding (1 tablespoon at a time) to achieve the right level of stickiness. The dough should be tacky but not at all sloppy, sticking to your fingers.

Place the dough in a covered, slightly oiled bowl to rise for 45 minutes. After it has risen, turn it over in the bowl, only slightly deflating it, then cover and let it rise a second time for another 45 minutes.

Finally, remove the dough, carefully so as not to totally deflate it, to a lightly oiled surface, and stretch it out to a rough rectangular shape. Cut the dough into 6 or 9 equal-sized pieces,

 then roll each piece into a 'roll shape. Dip each piece in milk (or water) then roll it around in a bowl filled with sesame seeds. Lastly, place each roll, seam side down on parchment paper. Cover and let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (190 C). Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until they are nicely browned and the crust is hardened. Cool on a rack. These rolls are crunchy at first, but because of the large amount of water, they soften as they cool. Yum!!


  1. They look amazing.
    Thank you.

  2. They are very chewy which is perfect for sandwiches with smoked meat, or grilled veggies. Yum!