Hoagie Rolls! Hoagie, hero, submarine, sub, grinder, whatever you call your sandwich, this is a great roll for building your masterpiece.
I live near Philadelphia and we call them Hoagies. But I grew up in the part of New Jersey that is closer to New York. There we called them subs. You might also know them as a grinder or a hero.
Whatever you call it, there is no doubt that the key to a great sandwich is the perfect long roll.
Much as I love a good crusty loaf of artisan bread, that’s not the best basis for a great submarine sandwich. You’ve probably had it happen. You bite into one end of that crusty sandwich and all the fillings squirt out the other end.
The perfect hoagie roll should have a thin, crisp crust and a light, soft, slightly chewy crumb.
How to make great Hoagie Rolls (Submarine Rolls) from scratch:
- Use a mix of all purpose and bread flour for a light, yet resilient crumb.
- Make a sponge and set it aside for 30 minutes. This gives the gluten a head start and helps hydrate the flour.
- Scald the milk to give the rolls a better structure. Scalding denatures (breaks down) proteins in the milk which can interfere with gluten development.
- Add a hint of sugar for great flavor and extra browning.
- Brush the rolls with water before baking for the perfect thin, crisp crust.
- Create steam in your oven with a pan of water. This will also help make the perfect crust.
- Refrigerate the dough overnight. The rolls can be made and baked the same day, but a night in the refrigerator will produce rolls with a nicer crust, chewier crumb and more authentic flavor.
A timeline for making Sub Sandwich rolls:
- Start the dough late in the afternoon or early in the evening of day 1.
- Leave the dough out for the first rise, then refrigerate the dough over night or up to 2 days.
- Take the dough out first thing in the morning and shape the rolls while the dough is still cold.
- Set the rolls aside to rise while the oven preheats.
- You should have fresh baked rolls by lunch time.
- To make the rolls in one day, start the dough early in the morning. Skip the refrigeration step. The entire one-day process will take about 3 – 3 1/2 hours.
Watch the recipe video to see how to make Hoagie Rolls:
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons, 7g) dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups (12 oz, 360ml) warm water
- 3 cups (15 oz, 420g) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz, 210) unbleached bread flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and the water. Add 2 cups of the all purpose flour. Mix with the paddle on low speed until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Add the milk, bread flour and salt and mix to combine. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. With the mixer running, add the remaining cup of all purpose flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. If mixing by hand add the flour using a wooden spoon and/or a plastic bowl scraper and knead on a floured surface.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly.
- Return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly, refrigerate overnight. (see note)
- In the morning, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Generously sprinkle two half sheet pans with corn meal.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough back and forth to form a 12" log. Fold the two ends into the middle then roll back and forth to form a 12” log again. If at any point the dough springs back too much you can give it a 10 minutes rest then continue. Cut the log into 6 equal portions.
- On a lightly floured surface, pat a piece of dough into a 6” oval. Tightly roll the dough from the long side to form a 6" cylinder. Pinch the seam tightly. Using flat hands roll from the center out to form a 10” long roll. Let your hands go over each side to taper the ends of the roll. Set the roll onto one of the prepared pans. Continue forming the other rolls and place 3 on each pan.
- Cover the pans with a damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume (about 1 hour). Meanwhile Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- To create steam in the oven, place a small pan onto the floor of the oven to preheat. If you have them, you can put lava rocks or whiskey rocks into the pan to preheat as well.
- When the rolls are ready to bake brush them lightly with water. Place the trays into the oven. Pour a 1/4 cup of warm water into the preheated pan on the floor of the oven and immediately close the oven door.
- Bake until the rolls are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn the trays after 10 minutes to promote even browning. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
You can skip the refrigeration step and go ahead and finish the rolls on the same day. I find the flavor, texture and crust is better with an overnight rest.