These rolls contain just enough oil and sugar to make the crust thinner and softer than a baguette or other straight dough (without sugar or oil) but not as soft as a hamburger bun or sandwich loaf. This type of roll was popularized by Italian American immigrants, who filled them with Italian-style cured meats, cheese and pickled vegetable antipasti (like giardinera). The original “Italian”sub inspired many variations that are now famous in their own right, like the four presented here.

Italian rolls are very easy to make and freeze well. This recipe will make about six 8-inch sub rolls, but feel free to double the batch and keep some extra on hand in the freezer. You can also make 12 or 16-inch rolls.

Ingredients:

1 pound, 5 ounces bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons honey
2 cups water
2 ounces butter or vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Combine and stir the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  2. Heat 1 cup of water to about 130 degrees
  3. Melt butter and honey into the hot water
  4. Add 1 cup tap water (final water temperature should be about 100 degrees)
  1. Combine wet and dry ingredients to form medium hydration dough
  2. Fold every 30 minutes until the dough is doubled in size and develops good strength. 2-4 times. Drier dough need less folding and wetter doughs need more folding. Never force your dough to fold. If it is tight and tearing when you go to fold it just let it rest. If it is slack and loose fold it extra thoroughly. Either way make sure it doubles in size; about 2 hours
  3. Once doubled cut into about 6 7-8 ounce portions, flatten and roll into 8 inch logs and place on lined baking tray amnd cover with plastic after dusting with flour.
  4. Allow to rise until more than doubled in size. They should not spring back when poked when they have risen enough.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking
  6. slash down the center of the roll to allow for expansion and load into the oven adding 3 ounces of water to the bottom of your oven for steam. Bake for about 30 minutes or until temperature in the center of the roll is 200 degrees and they are light brown
  7. Cool on a wire rack and then slice lengthwise to fill with your favorite sub fillings