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May 17, 2010 08:20 PM

How can I make good Italian rolls for sandwiches?

Recently moved to South Carolina from the Philadelphia area, and can't seem to find a good roll anywhere... The only decent breads I can find seem to be panani bread.

Does anyone have a recipe on how to make a decent roll? One that is crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside? One that you would find if you got an Italian hoagie at a real deli in the northeast? Is it possible?

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  1. My favorite "Italian" bread roll is based on a Ciabatta bread formula that I have used for quite a long time. I simply prepare the Ciabatta and divide it into 4 - 6 ounce portions for the final proofing before loading it into the oven.
    If you don't have a recipe this one might be something you'd like:

    1. I used to make Italian bread all the time, back when I assumed I'd move away someday. But I'm still here in New York and it's getting easier to buy good bread. This is my old recipe, I think it's what you're looking for. I was sort of inexperienced back then but this always came out perfectly delicious. It's from the book that came with my Kitchenaid, if you don't have something similar, just knead by hand.

      2 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 F)
      2 packages of dry active yeast
      1 Tbsp salt
      1 Tbsp butter, melted
      7 cups flour
      1/4 cup cornmeal
      1 egg white
      1 Tbsp cold water

      Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl. Add salt, butter and flour. Mix with dough hook on speed 2 until well blended, about 2 minutes. Continue on speed 2 for 2 more minutes. Stop, dough will be sticky.

      Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Let rise in warm place, free of draft, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

      Punch dough down and divide into how many pieces you want (I used to make 2 long loaves). Place on greased baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled again, about 1 hour.

      BTW I always did the rising in my closed oven, with a pan of hot water on the bottom shelf.

      Cut a cross on top of each roll. Bake at 450 F for (25 minutes? that's how long a loaf takes). Remove from oven and brush with slightly beaten egg white mixed with water. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

      2 Replies
      1. re: coll

        I will try this, my girlfriend just got a kitchen aid, so it'll work perfectly. I'll let you know what I find

        1. re: ljump12

          Now that I dug out my old recipe, I'm tempted to make some myself. Thanks for reminding me!

      2. I feel your pain Ijump. As someone from the Philly/NJ area, I know exactly what you're looking for. Since I have nothing else to offer at this time I'll make it short and just say that:

        a. I'm going to post on the NJ board for an "Italian Peoples Bakery Clone" recipe, and
        b. although I know this isn't exactly it, the following link might tide you over until I find something closer -

        I'll let you know if I come up with anything better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

          EDIT- In case anyone goes looking, I ended up posting on the Philadelphia board instead of the NJ board.

          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

            After some further detective work, I think I've found something better than my previous recipe link.
            The following links are both based on the Italian bread recipe found in Peter Reinhart's book, 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice'.
            This link not only contains the recipe, but also indicates that he has slightly different methods when making either an Italian loaf or torpedo rolls. - He uses milk instead of water in the final mix for torpedo rolls.


            This link is one of a group of bloggers who participated in a "Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge" - at the bottom of the page there are links to some of the other attempts at his Italian Bread Recipe - I found it interesting to see the (sometimes markedly) different results from using the same recipe.