I’m crazy about rye yeast breads of any kind and today I have a recipe for easy rye sandwich rolls that everyone loves.
Recipe and post by MaryJo
My love affair with rye is due to the Scandinavian and German blood in my veins. I like to make rolls for their versatility and because most people seem to find rolls especially appealing. I enjoy sharing what I bake with family and friends and several people told me that I should do a blog post about these rolls, so here it is.
Rye Bread Recipes
Most rye yeast bread recipes require a long rest–possibly overnight or even a couple of days–and the resulting bread has a wonderful dense texture and deep flavor that make me swoon.
I developed this recipe by combining and tweaking several others that I’ve made over the years because I wanted to be able to make sandwich rolls in the morning to have for lunch, or in an afternoon for a dinner of burgers. I wanted rolls that are light because Joe isn’t into dense, heavy breads.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is…kosher dill pickle juice! Bread yeast loves a little acid, and the pickle juice makes the rolls fluffy and soft, gives them a wonderful deli flavor, and helps the rolls stay fresh much longer than they would without it.
The rye and white whole wheat flours provide 3 grams of high-quality fiber and 4 grams of protein per roll. And the fabulous aroma while these bake will make your mouth water!
Making the rye bread sandwich roll recipe
You can make this recipe easily using either a stand mixer or just a large bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon. You’ll be done in under 2-1/2 hours from the time that you start to when you pull the rolls out of the oven. They are flavorful, soft, and fluffy, and excellent for just about any kind of sandwich. Rueben or pastrami, BLT, liverwurst and raw onion, ham and cheese, grilled burgers with blue cheese, or egg salad.
They’re delicious as dinner rolls with soup, mac and cheese, or pork chops and sauerkraut. Make them half size for appetizer sliders with any of the previously mentioned fillings, or with cream cheese, chopped chives, capers, and smoked salmon.
To make the seed topping, I combined a tablespoon each of caraway seeds, dill seeds, white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, Penzey’s dried shallots (I crushed them a bit in my hands), and margarita salt (kosher salt is too fine for this). I forgot that I had flax seeds in the freezer, otherwise I would have added those.
You can use any combination of seeds that you like, but do use at least one or two seeds and some kind of dried onions because they add a lot to the flavor and appearance. If you have a food co-op near you, they almost certainly will have bulk seeds that you can buy in small quantities. Just store any extras in a small jar in the freezer.
These rye sandwich rolls freeze beautifully, just double wrap in plastic and get out as much air as possible. Pull them out when needed for a healthy accompaniment to almost any meal.
Easy Rye Sandwich Rolls
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (11 grams)
- 3/4 cup water (6 ounces) (110°F)
- pinch granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup kosher dill pickle juice (6 ounces) (110°F)
- 1 cup medium or light rye flour (106 grams)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour (113 grams)
- 2 cups bread flour, divided (240 grams)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt (9 grams)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (18 grams)
- 1/4 cup oil (2 fluid ounces) (canola, vegetable, safflower)
- 1 egg , beaten with a teaspoon of water
- desired seeds , dried onions or shallots, and very coarse salt for topping (any combination of caraway, dill, sesame, poppy, or flax)
- Add the warm water and yeast to a large bowl with a pinch of sugar and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the rye flour, the whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of the bread flour, the salt, and the sugar.
- Add those dry ingredients and the warm dill pickle juice to the yeast mixture and beat well for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is stringy but smooth.
- Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the oil, then add the remaining 1-1/2 cups of bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time. When the dough is so stiff that you can’t stir in anymore flour, start kneading it in by hand, either in the bowl or on a countertop.
- Knead for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth; don't add any more flour as that will make the rolls dry.
- Lightly oil a clean bowl, add the dough and turn it over to oil all the surfaces then cover the container, and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and divide into 16 equal pieces; if you have a scale, they'll weigh about 2 ounces each.
- Round into smooth balls and place on the prepared sheet pan.
- Cover with a tea towel and let the rolls rise until they've doubled in size, about 45 minutes, and when you poke a finger into the side of a roll the dough doesn't immediately spring back.
- Gently brush the risen rolls with the egg wash then liberally sprinkle with your desired topping.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the rolls reads 190°F to 200° F.
- Remove the rolls from the oven, and set the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then set the rolls directly on the rack to cool.
- To freeze, double wrap in plastic.
- You'll need to buy two packages of yeast for this recipe, then measure out 1 tablespoon and discard the rest, or you can use a single package of yeast, in which case it will take a little longer for the dough to rise.
- White whole wheat flour is a whole grain with all the benefits of the germ and the bran, just like regular whole wheat flour, but it's milled from a lighter-colored and lighter-tasting wheat.
This is my new go to recipe. I use juice from half a lemon instead of the pickle juice and add more water to the amount. The dough is sticky at first but if hands are wet or slightly floured or greased it works super. Dough is silky soft when shaping into buns. They are so soft and delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you for the nice comment. Glad the recipe works for you.
I just tried this recipe as we love rye breads . I had trouble kneading the dough as it was sticky .. I didn’t add more flour as your recipe so suggested.. what did I do wrong …help y’all .. not the best bread maker 😖
I’m sure that you’re a fine bread maker and I doubt that you did anything wrong. Rye flour makes sticky bread doughs and adding more flour tends to lead to a finished loaf that is dense and dry so it’s always better to be cautious about adding more. I’ve found that after the initial rising, even sticky dough are usually much easier to handle. How did the rolls turn out?
I originally posted that recipe back in 2016 but since about 2019, I have been weighing all my ingredients in grams, especially the flours. I’m sorry I never went back to edit the recipe with the weights in addition to the volume measurements. I’ll take care of that in the next day or two.
I strongly recommend that you get a digital kitchen scale that weighs in both grams and ounces if you don’t already have one. I’ve found it super helpful to weigh the flour when making bread recipes. You can buy a scale locally or online. We have the OXO Good Grips scale with an 11 lb capacity, and it’s one of the most used items in our kitchen. OXO also makes a 5 lb scale that may be just right for you.
I hope you won’t give up on bread baking, Deb, it’s a wonderful activity with delicious results!
Warm regards, MaryJo
Can I use a substitute for the Dill Juice?
If you don’t want to use the pickle juice, just use the same amount of warm water. Hope that works for you.
Thanks for sharing this, can this be stored for how many days in the freezer? This will be good foe a journey or camping, I hope it can survive in a portable refrigerator for days?
The rolls should be double bagged and they should last for up to 3 months in a freezer. Refrigerated rolls should last 7 days. Thanks for the comment Aloysius.
These sound really amazing!!! I just threw out my expired yeast so I have to go buy some before I can make these. But it will certainly be a top priority. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
My mouth is watering seeing theses paired with egg salad!
Rolls were fantastic!! Can I make a loaf of bread from this recipe?
Glad you enjoyed the rolls, they’re a favorite of ours.
You can absolutely make this into a loaf. Just follow the directions up until you’re ready to shape the dough, then roll it into a loaf shape and let it rise until doubled. Add the egg wash and seeds. Use the same temperature for baking, but bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake it another 15 to 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 190°F when inserted into the middle of the loaf. If the top of the loaf is looking like it’s getting too dark before it’s done, tent the loaf with a piece of aluminum foil loosely laid on top ot it.
Thank you! Can’t wait for my rye toast!!!
Wish I were there to share it with you!
I wish you were too Katy.
We had a bunch of eggs, so I made egg salad and it was wonderful with these!
Is it okay if I give my own recipe 5 stars???? =0)
I give your recipe 5 stars. Delicious rolls!