Recipes » Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls

Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls

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In the Northeastern part of the United States, they’re famous for the incredibly soft sub, Italian, & Hoagie rolls. These soft, chewy, split-top sandwich buns are just NOT available in other parts of the USA. Replicate the texture and flavor of these rolls at home! Luckily, they’re surprisingly easy to make.

freshly baked hoagie sub rolls in liner tray

Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls

There are a couple of things about this recipe that make it work, the first being the type of flour that is necessary. For the most flavorful results, use bread flour, rather than all-purpose flour, and be very scant when shaping the rolls to avoid adding any extra flour to the buns.

Commercial ovens used to bake bread are actually steam ovens that inject controlled blasts of steam at time intervals, which is what gives bread-crusts the soft wispy texture you find in bakeries or at the supermarket. Since we obviously don’t have an expensive steam oven, there’s a trick for recreating this effect.

When placing the dough into the oven to bake, immediately toss in 5-6 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven. If your oven has slats in the bottom, or if it makes you feel better to keep it contained, you can place a disposable mini-loaf pan on the rack while preheating and then drop in the ice cubes as you put the dough in to bake.

finger poking hot freshly baked homemade hoagie roll to show softness of the sub roll

Achieving Ovenspring without a Commercial Oven

The steam created by the ice cubes creates a burst of activity known as Ovenspring. During the first few minutes of baking, the yeast is still active, rising rapidly as gases trapped inside the dough expand. The steam, created by the ice cubes, settles on the surface of the bread, thereby dissolving the sugars that are in the dough. After a few minutes, the bread stops expanding, the steam evaporates, and those sugars then caramelize, creating a deliciously soft, glossy crust.

You might be tempted to use pans of hot water or to open the oven door and spritz the bread with a mister or spray bottle. The pan of water creates too much steam, which is only helpful during the first 5-10 minutes of baking while the yeast is still actively working. Once the yeast has set, the crust needs to dry for the sugars to caramelize properly.

Using a mister or spritz bottle causes the oven temperature to drop drastically, hindering the ovenspring. It’s also challenging to spray the bread evenly, resulting in some areas being soft, while others are more crispy or hard.

To make perfect soft pillowy Subway-style rolls, we recommend this impressive non-stick baking liner form. It fits perfectly on a half-size sheet pan.

homemade maine italian

Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls Recipe Using Bread Machine Rapid Rise Yeast

You’ll Need:
4 cups bread flour
1 3/8 cups warm water (120°-130°F degrees)
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs active Bread Machine Rapid Rise dry yeast or Instant Yeast
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs cold butter, cubed

Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, and sugar in the stand mixer bowl. Add the warm water, attach the dough hook and mix on low for 1 minute, add the remaining flour, and continue to mix for 3 minutes.

flour yeast sugar in kitchenaid mixing bowl being stirred with a doughhook

Add in the salt to the formed dough and mix for 4-6 minutes until the dough is slack and no longer holds any shape at all. At this point, your mixer should be at medium speed.

italian sub hoagie roll dough in kitchenaid mixer bowl

Add in the butter and mix for 3-7 minutes or until the dough comes back together.

slack dough that has lost its shape in kitchenaid mixer bowl

Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

covered bowl of rising italian hoagie yeast bread dough on cutting board in kitchen

Once the dough has sufficiently risen, overturn it onto a lightly floured surface.

raised yeast bread dough in bowl ready to form

Divide the dough into 5 pieces and shape into rolls. Do not use flour to shape (you won’t need it!) Adding flour will cause the rolls to become tough, rather than light and tender.

italian sub roll dough cut into pieces ready to shape into rolls

Place the shaped rolls onto a non-stick sub-liner or a parchment-lined tray and cover lightly with a lint-free cotton kitchen towel.

full tray of sub roll dough resting for second rise

Allow rising again. ~30-45 minutes.

tray of risen italian sub hoagie rolls ready to be baked

Preheat oven to 400°F

As you put the rolls into the oven, toss 5-6 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven (or use a disposable tinfoil loaf pan to hold the ice cubes). Then immediately reduce the heat to 375°F.

Do NOT Open the oven again for the first 15 minutes of cooking!

Bake for 16-23 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, apply butter to the top. I usually just peel away the paper at one end of a stick of butter and rub it generously over the loaves, then cover with a clean lint-free towel. Allow the bread to cool completely before removing the towel, this is what gives the rolls their super-soft texture.

cut hoagie roll showing light airy soft inside texture of delicious soft hoagie roll

Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls Recipe Using Active Dry Yeast

You’ll Need:
4 cups bread flour
1 3/8 cups warm water (110°-115°F degrees)
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs cold butter, cubed

In a stand mixer bowl combine active dry yeast, sugar, and 3/8 cup (6 Tbs) warm water in a bowl of a stand mixer. Mix lightly, cover with a clean towel and let the yeast bloom for 5-10 minutes.

yeast bloom italian sub hoagie rolls recipe

Add the flour and remaining cup of water. Attach the dough hook and start the mixer on low until the ingredients are nearly incorporated, increase speed slightly and mix for 4 minutes.

Add in the salt and mix for 5-6 minutes until the dough is slack and lacking in the ability to hold any shape. At this point, your mixer should be at medium speed.

Add in the butter and mix at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until the dough comes back together.

Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to a greased, covered bowl until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

Divide into 5 pieces and shape without adding any flour (you won’t need it). Adding flour during shaping will cause the rolls to be tough and heavy.

italian sub hoagie rolls recipe

Place each shaped roll onto a tray that has been lined with a non-stick sub lining or with parchment paper and cover.

raw hoagie roll dough formed into rolls

Allow the rolls to rise again for about 30-35 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F

As you put the rolls into the oven, toss 5-6 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven or use a disposable tinfoil loaf pan to hold the ice cubes. Then reduce the heat to 375°F.

Do NOT Open the oven again for the first 15 minutes of cooking!

Bake for 16-23 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, apply butter to the top, then cover with a clean lint-free towel. Allow the bread to cool completely before removing the towel, this is what gives the rolls their super-soft texture.

homemade italian sub roll

finger poking hot freshly baked homemade hoagie roll to show softness of the sub roll
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Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls

Budget101.com by Melissa 'Liss' Burnell
These soft, chewy, split-top sandwich buns are straight from New England & they can be beat!
Add to Collection
Prep Time 18 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rising Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 8 mins
Course bread, MYO
Cuisine American, Italian-American
Servings 5
Calories 449 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, and sugar in the stand mixer bowl. Add the warm water, attach the dough hook and mix on low for 1 minute, add the remaining flour and continue to mix for 3 minutes.
    4 cups bread flour, 1 3/8 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoons Active Bread Machine Rapid Rise dry yeast or Instant Yeast
  • Add in the salt to the formed dough and mix for 4-6 minutes until the dough is slack and no longer holds any shape at all. At this point, your mixer should be at medium speed.
    1 teaspoon salt
  • Add in the butter and mix for 3-7 minutes or until the dough comes back together.
    3 tablespoons cold butter
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Divide the dough into 5 pieces and shape into rolls. Do not use flour to shape (you won't need it!) Adding flour will cause the rolls to become tough, rather than light and tender.
  • Place the shaped rolls onto a non-stick sub-liner or a parchment-lined tray and cover lightly with a lint-free cotton kitchen towel.
  • Allow rising again. ~30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • As you put the rolls into the oven, toss 5-6 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven (or use a disposable tinfoil loaf pan to hold the ice cubes). Then immediately reduce the heat to 375°F.
    5 ice cubes
  • Do NOT Open the oven again for the first 15 minutes of cooking!
  • Bake for 16-23 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

Allow the bread to cool completely before removing the towel, this is what gives the rolls their super-soft texture.
Recipe Size Alteration Note

If you altered the ingedients above by doubling or tripling the recipe, you may also need to change the pan/dish size and adjust the cooking/baking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 449kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 13gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 527mgPotassium: 130mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 212IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mgNet Carbs: 76g
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1 thought on “Super Soft Sub, Italian & Hoagie Rolls”

  1. 5 stars
    These rolls are spot on for the Maine Italians we had last summer! The texture was soft, light, airy and the ham hoagies I created at home were just as delicious as the ones we ate in Boothbay.

    Thank you for this recipe, it’s nice to know we can have a little taste of Maine without spending all the money on gas or shipping!

    Reply

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