Soft, with a thin golden brown crust and the perfect texture, these amazing sandwich rolls will make way into your heart (and into your sandwiches) after the first bite.
We all want to improve our cooking game here, right? It’s good to be praised when you make something delicious. When someone tells us that our food is something to be cherished, it warms our hearts. You smile with joy when your kid asks for seconds, I know you do.
You have to try this bread. This is the bread for that perfect sandwich. The bread you’ll love to spread some butter and eat while fresh from the oven. The one you’ll bake and next day there will be none left cause it’s just so addictive to keep snacking. And if by chance there’s one or two rolls remaining, 10 minutes or so in the oven will make them as fresh as new.
Keep reading: you want to bake this bread, I know you do. Spoiler: it’s super easy - and totally no-fail if you have a stand mixer.
How to make sandwich rolls from scratch
A perfect sandwich roll, with a crusty exterior and a soft interior that does not crumble. Seems difficult, right? Let me tell you that it’s far, far from it.
You’ll need bread flour for this recipe. You can, by all means, bake these rolls with all-purpose flour, but the final structure will be a bit affected. I have already baked them using all-purpose, and they were still much better than store-bought rolls. So if you don’t mind, or if all-purpose is all you have at the moment, go for it!
Also, don’t forget to check if the yeast you’re using is instant/quick-rise yeast. If you’re using active dry yeast, you might need to proof it.
For this recipe, you’ll need to combine all the ingredients and mix until dough is formed. If you have a stand mix powerful enough to knead bread dough, use it to knead for 6 minutes (I use number 2 speed). If you don’t have it, or just prefer doing it by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and don’t stick into working surface anymore. If using a stand mix, dough should be smooth and will come out of the bowl easily after 6 minutes.
How to shape sandwich rolls
I think the best part for me of making my own sandwich rolls is that I can shape them the size I want to. If I’m having a party and want them small, I can have them small. If I’m having a Netflix binge-watching party all by myself, I can shape them big enough to fit everything I want in my super-sized sandwich. And if I’m a normal person and want them regular-sized, well, you got the message.
After the dough’s first rest, it will be elastic and super easy to shape. I usually portion this recipe into 12 pieces (18 if I want smaller rolls, 8 if I want bigger ones). Before shaping, don’t forget to flour lightly the surface you’ll be working on. Flat each portion with a pin roll and then tightly roll it up. You can tuck in and seal the edges to get an evenly cylinder.
Once shaped, place into your prepared sheet pan for its second rise. I usually line mine with parchment paper and flour it lightly before placing them.
All the secrets to baking the best rolls
Now comes the tip that changes everything: steam. You need to create steam in your oven for these sandwich rolls to become crusty. See that beautiful crust down there? Steam magic.
Start by preheating your oven to its maximum temperature. Preheat it with an empty baking pan on the bottom rack, you’ll fill it with water just before baking your rolls. Preheat your oven for about 30 minutes before starting.
Is your oven burning hot already? Add about 1 cup of water to the baking pan on the bottom rack (careful here, steam BURNS) and just after that place your rolls into middle rack. Now lower the temperature to 400°F and bake them for about 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown on the top.
Although they lose their extra crustiness kinda fast (about 4 to 5 hours after done), I like my rolls extra crusty when they’re out of the oven. For that, I do an extra step that gives the crust a boost: I spray the rolls with water before going to the oven, and 2 minutes before I take them out. For these two extra steps, I’m rewarded with this:
Beautiful, don’t you think?
You might be asking
Is this recipe vegan?
Yes, it is! Vegan perfect sandwich rolls.
How long will my rolls stay fresh?
First 5 hours the crust will be as crusty as new. The bread stays fresh for as long as 4 days if stored at room temperature, in a bread keeper. If you want them crusty again, reheat them in the oven at a medium-low temperature for about 5 minutes (if your oven is already preheated).
How to freeze sandwich rolls?
Let them cool completely before freezing them. To do so, place them in an airtight bag, seal it and store in your freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I substitute any of the ingredients?
If you want to make this recipe with whole wheat, you can substitute half of the amount of bread flour with whole wheat flour. You can also use all-purpose flour, but skipping completely the bread flour significantly changes the structure. You can see below some differences: in the first photo you can see a whole wheat roll, second is a white bread flour roll.
If you’re doing it with active commercial yeast, you might need to proof it. Don’t forget to consider the amount of water you’re using for that, so you don’t add more than the amount asked for in the recipe.
And if by any chance you want to replace commercial yeast with sourdough starter, I usually use 2 cups of active culture for this one. Make the recommended changes in the recipe, omit the commercial yeast and don’t forget that rising time and proof time after shaped may differ from the ones in the recipe card.
Want more ideas for an awesome breakfast? Try having these sandwich rolls with cheese and this delicious onion chutney. If you're looking for an all-soft bread, my Japanese Milk Bread might be the perfect fit for you.
Perfect Sandwich Rolls (Pão Francês)
- 3 ¼ cup 500g bread flour
- 1 ⅓ cup 300ml water
- 1 tablespoon 10g instant yeast
- ½ tablespoon 10g salt
- ½ tablespoon 6g sugar
- In a large bowl, mix the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water and mix with a spoon or spatula until the dough is formed.
- Using your stand mixer or on a clean and floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and tacky. If you’re using a stand mixer, knead it for 6 minutes. If you don’t have it, or just prefer doing it by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and don’t stick into working surface anymore. If using a stand mix, dough should be smooth and will come out of the bowl easily after 6 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, covering with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel to prevent the top from drying out. Let it rise for 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, remove the dough from the bowl and portion into 8, 10 or 12 pieces. Roll flat each piece and then tightly roll it up, tucking in and sealing the edges so you get an evenly cylinder.
- Place your shaped rolls into a prepared sheet pan for the second rise (I usually line mine with parchment paper and flour it lightly before placing the buns). Flour lightly the top of each roll if you prefer to cover it with plastic wrap, to prevent it from sticking. Or just use a kitchen towel to cover your rolls - I don’t flour the rolls when using a towel. Let it rise for another 1 hour and a half.
- 30 minutes before baking your rolls, preheat your oven to 400°F, oven rack in the middle shelf. Place a baking pan on the bottom shelf as well.
- Just before baking, score your rolls with a single vertical cut and spray with water the top of your rolls.
- Add one cup of water to the heated baking pan on the bottom shelf to create steam, place your rolls into middle shelf and close the oven door.
- Bake the sandwich rolls for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top and sides.
- Optional: 3 minutes before they're done, spray them again on top (inside the oven) with water to boost the crust.
- When done, remove them from the oven and sheet pan, placing them into a cooling rack. Wait for them to cool, at least 5 minutes, before serving.