I’m crazy about rye yeast breads of any kind and today I have a recipe for easy rye sandwich rolls that everyone loves. I suspect that 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.
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!
You can make this recipe easily using either a stand mixer or just a large bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon and 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 freeze beautifully, just double wrap in plastic and get out as much air as possible, then pull them out for a healthy accompaniment to almost any meal.
Easy Rye Sandwich Rolls
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup water (110°F)
- 3/4 cup kosher dill pickle juice (110°F)
- 1 cup medium or light rye flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup bread flour , plus 1-1/2 cups bread flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oil (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.
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.