Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hoagie Rolls a la Peter Reinhart

I love a great sandwich as anybody who follows this blog must know. And without being overly particular, I like a sandwich with corned beef, or other cold cuts. Or with a nice fruity jam, or peanut butter. Or pan-seared veggies and cheese. The key to all of this is the right kind of bread, of course. And there are so many kinds to choose from for making good, no great, sandwiches.

One of my baking heroes is Peter Reinhart, the Master Baker whose many cookbooks, show his genius as a baker along with the learning process he is going through as he experiments with different approaches to baking bread. His bread is truly world-class and his books, like The Bread Baker's Apprentice, from which this recipe is adapted, are all classics. Because they are both cookbooks with great recipes, and also. teaching books. Peter Reinhart in other words, is not only a Master Baker, he wants to teach you how to take your bread to a whole other level. Put the two together, the love of sandwiches and the truly wonderful bread and you know you can't miss.

These rolls are from bread in the style of classic Italian bread. Not what they typically call Italian in the US, i.e., French only softer. Italian bread in the rustic tradition. A crunchy crust with a soft interior. The crust crackling with every delicious bite, and the soft crumb, holding the fillings heroically and sopping up every drop of mustard, mayo or whatever. In other words, a great hoagie roll with a rustic tradition. Try it, making sure to pay attention to the details. You won't regret it.

Here's What You'll Need:

for the starter (biga)
2 1/2 cups (320g) unbleached AP flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 to 1 cup warm water

for the dough
2 1/2 cups (320g) unbleached AP flour
1 2/3 tsp salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup warm water
cornmeal or semolina for dusting

Here's What You'll Need To Do:

1. The night before baking, stir together the flour and the yeast, then slowly add the 3/4 cup of water. Mixing by hand bring it together to form a rough dough. If needed, add up to 1 cup water total.

2. Remove 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 to ferment.

3. After about 3 hours, you can place the biga in the refrigerator overnight.

the next day...

4. Be sure to remove the biga to the counter at least an hour before proceeding so it comes to room temperature.

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

6. Cut the biga into smallish lumps and add it in, then, finally, the remaining water. Continue to mix until a soft dough forms. You may have to slightly adjust the flour and/or water. The resulting dough should be soft and just barely sticky. It is not a batter or stiff (like bagel dough for instance).

7. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl to rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

8. Remove the dough to a lightly-floured surface. Cut it in 2 being careful not to deflate it too much. If you are making loaves, shape each half into a 'log' shape, then after a short wait into a 'batard', i.e., slightly tapered at each end. If you are making rolls, cut each half into 4 equal pieces. Then after a short wait, shape each piece into a 'torpedo', or a round.

8. Place the shaped dough on a parchment covered baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Spray lightly with oil, then cover lightly with plastic to rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Slash the rolls down the middle just before baking. The loaves should be slashed in a decorative pattern too.

9. Bake in a preheated oven (450 F / 220 C), with steam for 30 minutes (loaf) or about 17 minutes (rolls).

10. Cool on a rack.


  1. Love it.
    Thank you David.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. These rolls make great steak sandwiches (or cheese, for that matter)!

  2. I will be making Hoagie Rolls next time I make bread - FOR SURE! Thanks for a great looking recipe

    1. Welcome to breadmanTalking! The best part about these rolls is that they soak up gravy and other condiments when you make steak sandwiches! Enjoy!