Are you an Italian hard rolls type person, or do you prefer the soft, sort of sweet Parker House type rolls? We are definitely of the Italian hard rolls crowd. We like to hear that crackle and crunch when we try to break into them, and the crust is so hard that some of the crumbs fall onto our plates. Oh, but the inside, the inside is so soft, so warm, so light and airy, and so very fragrant with a rich yeasty scent.
The pat of butter that we put in the crack of the roll melts and soaks right into the interior crumb.
*sigh* Pure Bliss!!
These panini duri Italiani have everything we desire in a roll.
Italian Hard Rolls Start with Pre-ferment
It all begins with a starter we make the day before and let it sit on the counter. The following day we add the starter to the rest of the ingredients and knead the dough.
Then we place the dough ball into a container and allow it to rise.
To get a uniform roll we bench and scale the dough. We are huge proponents of kitchen scales.
We let the rolls rise for another hour or two.
We brush the rolls with an egg white wash.
After we score the rolls, we put them on a baking sheet and then immediately into a preheated 425F oven.
Next day delicious Italian hard rolls
The key to these panini’s fantastic flavor is the extra-long fermentation and very little yeast. Use them as crispy Italian sandwich rolls. They would make excellent sliders, or you could make them larger and use them for grilled sausage or hamburgers. Let us know how you ate these tasty Italian hard rolls.
Tutti a tavola è pronto!
Un caro saluto e alla prossima.
- 4 ounces cool water -- 1/2 cup*
- 4 1/4 ounces-- 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/8 teaspoon Instant yeast
- all of the starter
- 14 3/4 ounces -- 3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 8 ounces -- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 large egg white mixed with 1/2 cup cool water
- To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients until smooth, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
- Next day combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them together -- by hand, mixer or bread machine -- until you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rise, covered in a greased bowl, for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and again after 2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into 12 pieces*, shape the pieces into balls, and firm them up by rolling them under your lightly cupped fingers.
- Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them, and let them rise for 1 to 2 hours, until they're puffy, though not doubled in size. They'll flatten out a bit as they rise; that's OK.
- Cover the rolls, and refrigerate them for 2 to 3 hours. Towards the end of the rolls' chill, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Whisk together the egg white and water until frothy. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator, and brush them with the wash. They may seem a bit flat but they'll perk up when they hit the oven's heat.
- Slash a 1/4" deep cut across the top of each roll. Immediately put the rolls into the oven.
- Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack. For the best crunch, open the oven door, and allow the rolls to cool in the turned-off, open-door oven.
- *We never use tap water. We use bottled spring water or distilled.
- *We doubled this recipe and scaled our rolls at 3 ounces which yielded 18 rolls.