For those of you that have been around the blog for a hot minute, you know that I have an interest in making my own pantry staples. But aside from challah bread, I have not ventured much into enriched loaves. Until now! I always thought you needed milk and butter to make light and fluffy sandwich rolls. I had tried making them with aquafaba (a la my challah recipe), without much success. But since making these fluffy, vegan sandwich rolls, I do not think I could ever go back to the store bought version.
Enriched vs. Lean Bread Dough
Before we dive into the recipe, a quick lesson. What is enriched dough and what makes it different from traditional bread doughs? There are several factors, but I will keep it simple here: enriched doughs have additional beyond flour, salt, water, and yeast to help create a soft, fluffy texture. These ingredients often include milk, butter, eggs, and sugar. “Lean” doughs refer to your more traditional bread doughs, which typically contain ONLY flour, salt, water, and yeast.
These additional ingredients can impact everything from mixing method, to rise time, to dough shaping. For more details on just how these types of bread doughs are different, check out this fabulous article from Food52. Go there, give it a quick read, then hop on back over here for the bread recipe.
One thing I do want to touch on from that article is rise time. Enriched doughs, due to the additional ingredients, have a much longer rise time than your typical ‘lean’ loaf that is made with commercial yeast. I can have a loaf of sandwich bread from ingredients to table in under two and a half hours. But that said, these rolls are a process. Trust the process and know that the time they take to rise is well worth the wait!
Preparing Vegan Sandwich Rolls
There is a high chance you already have the ingredients for these rolls in your pantry already. Nothing special or out of the ordinary required. So if the idea of making bread with aquafaba makes you nervous, don’t fret! This is the recipe for you. For these vegan sandwich rolls, you will need:
- All-purpose flour
- Instant yeast
- Granulated sugar
- Warm water
- Unsweetened, plain soymilk
- Vegetable shortening (or plant-based butter)
- Optional: plant-based butter for brushing on top of the rolls prior to baking
The first thing you want to do is measure ALL of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer. This is one of the things I love about working with instant yeast. There is no separate step that requires you to mix the yeast with wanter and/or sugar and let it sit for ten minutes before you can use it. The instant yeast goes right in the bowl with everything else!
Knead your dough with a dough hook attachment for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Once it’s kneaded, gently lift the dough out of the bowl, spray the same bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray, then plop the dough right back in. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this can take anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to nearly three hours. In the warm, gross humidity of summer, my dough rose really fast!
Once it’s risen, remove your dough from the bowl and divide it into eight equal(ish) pieces. I do this by weighing out the dough on my food scale to get them as close as possible, but there really aren’t many rules here. You can totally eyeball this step.
Now, we are going to shape individual rolls. Shape each piece of dough into a tight, round ball and then flatten them gently with the palm of your hand. Place each piece of dough onto a silicone lined baking sheet to rise for an additional two hours. You can either cover these with lightly greased plastic wrap, OR (my preference) with an inverted baking pan of the same size. This saves plastic and creates a nice, warm environment for your rolls to rise.
Towards the end of the rise time (I usually set a timer for about 15 minutes prior to the end of the rise), preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
As you can see, these vegan sandwich rolls puff up a LOT during the second rise! They won’t get much bigger during baking, but they’ll turn a lovely golden brown. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack in the oven, or until the rolls are golden brown. More often than not, I give mine an extra minute or two for good measure.
To ensure that these rolls are as soft and chewy as they can be, brush the tops of the rolls with melted vegan butter. This will keep the crust from becoming too hard. If you do not have vegan butter, you can leave this step out, but I would highly recommend it!
AH! YES! Look at them. I get hungry just staring at the picture. Serve these with some vegan chicken salad. Or maybe a TVP veggie burger! Or just rip them into pieces warm and eat them as is. No matter what, these vegan sandwich rolls will be delicious and satisfying.
Soft, Vegan Sandwich Rolls
- Stand Mixer with dough hook attachment
- 365 grams (~3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 25 grams (~2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 50 grams (~¼ cup) cornstarch
- 70 grams (~¼) warm water
- 170 grams (~¾ cup) soymilk unsweetened, plain
- 45 grams (~3 tablespoons) vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter melted (optional)
- Measure ALL ingredients out into the bowl of your stand mixer and knead with the dough hook attachment for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Gently lift the dough out of the mixing bowl, spray that same bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray, and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 ½ to 3 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume. The rise time will greatly vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen (the warmer the temperature, the faster the rise.)
- Once rise, divide the dough into eight equal pieces. I do this by weight to ensure as even of sizing as possible.
- Shape each piece of dough into a tight, round ball and then flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Place each piece of dough onto a silicone lined baking sheet to rise for an additional two hours. Cover the tray with lightly greased plastic wrap or an inverted baking pan of the same size during this rise.
- When you have nearly reached the end of the rise time, preheat your oven to 350°.
- Bake the rolls on the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.
- If desired, brush the baked rolls with melted vegan butter to help ensure a soft crust.
- Once the rolls have completely cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days.
For me, a summer barbecue is not complete without rolls like this for serving burgers. What is your favorite sandwich or burger? Let me know in the comments below!
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