The Best Sandwich Rolls
This recipe for sourdough sandwich rolls is practically perfect. These buns are easy, fast, and a sturdy-yet-soft vehicle for sandwiches and hamburgers. Over the years, I’ve tried plenty of recipes for hamburger buns, but I never found one that I liked more than what I could find on the grocery store shelves. My past attempts were often too dense or too crumbly (or both!) But this recipe is close to perfect (as a perfectionist, I’ll probably never rate any recipe as truly perfect.)
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During the pandemic, like many people, Sean and I made a sourdough starter. Sean has been the main caretaker of our starter which we named Rosie (Queen of Corona!). And he’s spent so many hours working towards baking an artisan quality sourdough loaf. He’s made some awesome loaves–and some stinkers because there is a huge learning curve when it comes to a pure sourdough loaf.
I have more enjoyed using Rosie to make easier sourdough discard recipes like crumpets and pancakes. And now, these sourdough sandwich rolls. The base recipe of these rolls comes from King Arthur Baking’s big batch quick dinner rolls. This recipe is heavy handed with the instant yeast to get a really quick rise.
- Shop: Instant Yeast
But with bread baking, a quick rise often equates to little taste. So I thought: “what if we add sourdough starter for flavor?”. Sean rescaled this recipe to include a dose of starter in addition to the heavy-handed dash of yeast. I added an egg wash, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and changed the shaping technique to create buns instead of rolls.
The result: a flavorful and extremely fast sandwich roll. Want burger buns tonight? You probably still have time to make these rolls!
Sourdough Sandwich Rolls
- ⅓ cup (113g) sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 1 cup (227g) milk warmed to ~100F
- 1 ½ tbsp (23g) butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp (11g) sugar
- 1 ½ tsp (9g) kosher salt
- 1 ½ tbsp (14g) instant yeast
- 2 ¾ cup (330g) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 1 tbsp cream or half & half for egg wash
- sesame seeds for sprinkling on top of rolls
- flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top of rolls
- Mix together the sourdough starter, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer–or large bowl if you aren't using a mixer.Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to foam which means your yeast is working and has bloomed.
- Add the flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough has come together in a rough shaggy mass.
- At this point, you can switch to the dough hook and knead using the stand mixer for 5 minutes or until the dough comes together into a smooth ball. The dough will feel elastic and bouncy. Or knead by hand (this is what I like to do.) Pour the dough out onto your counter and knead for 10 minutes. I think it's fun to watch the dough change as I hand knead. It will be slightly tacky to start and that's ok. Just keep kneading until it morphs into a smooth, elastic ball.
- Spray your bowl with non-stick spray and spray the top of the dough too. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes in a warm area of the kitchen. I like to put mine in the microwave because it's pretty toasty in there. The dough should rise during this time. It won't quite double, but you'll notice the rise.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and portion into 6, ~4.25 oz pieces. Roll these into a ball by cupping your hand over the dough and lightly rolling across the surface of the counter. Then press the dough down into about a 1-inch thick disc. This will give the rolls a good shape for sandwiches. Place discs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with non-stick oil.)
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for another 20 minutes. During this rise, preheat your oven to 350F.
- Whisk together egg and cream. Uncover your rolls and brush each one with a good coating of egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and flaky salt.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes. These will last for about 5 days bagged in plastic.
- Our sourdough starter is a basic recipe at 100% hydration–if you feed with equal parts flour and water by weight, you also have a recipe at 100% hydration.
- If you’d like to make dinner rolls instead of sandwich buns, during the shaping phase, portion your dough into 12, ~2 oz. pieces. Make the balls as indicated, but don’t flatten. Instead of using an egg wash and sesame seeds, bake plain and brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt at this point would also be delicious.
- You will not use all of your egg wash. I keep my extra in the fridge because we bake a lot around here. If you don’t bake a lot, mix this with a couple more eggs and a sprinkle of salt. Then scramble them. Scrambled eggs would make a good topping for breakfast sandwiches on your fresh sourdough sandwich rolls!
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