The best soft, moist buns – perfect for hoagies and sandwiches!

With Instant Platinum Yeast, you don’t even have to let it rise first – like I added in this recipe. Fermentation yeast is used more for active dry yeast. Because I use Instant Active Dry yeast, there is no proofing involved.
  • To leaven, active dry yeast , place some of the hot liquid in a bowl and add the yeast. Stir a little and let sit for 1-5 minutes or until the yeast is completely dissolved. It should bubble and “bloom”.

The best Hoagie Rolls at home – yes you can!

Feel good working with yeast? You should. It’s really easy and don’t be afraid! You can do it! Baking is a science and when you add ingredients, it matters. Additionally, we need to discuss how humidity can affect how much water you put in.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, water (use all instant yeast or use active dry yeast only about 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and sugar. Let rise for 5 to 10 minutes. *Note that instant yeast does not require 5-10 minutes to rise.
  2. Next, add a few cups of flour and the rest of the water (if using Active Dry yeast). You never add all the flour at once because it can fly everywhere when you turn on the mixer and it may not combine properly. You want to stir on low heat until it starts to combine. Slowly you will add a little more flour and salt as it mixes. It may take about 5 minutes or so.
  3. Now, depending on the temperature in the kitchen or its humidity, you can add between 3 1/2 and 4 cups of flour. Take it easy. The worst thing you can do is add too much flour because you’re impatient. At this point your dough should start to look and feel “loose”

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

What is soft dough?

Think of a drop. It’s a little fluid but it’s not liquid. This is the point where if you were to dump the dough onto a board and try to shape it, it would just come back and not hold its shape.

That’s what Slack Dough is. Soft dough means when the dough cannot hold a shape; it has no elasticity or springiness at all. It is a wet dough but not too wet. It is “inflated”. The dough is super, super soft and smooth.

This is what Slack dough looks like

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

How Humidity Affects the Baking of Dough and Bread

If your bread dough never loosens, there may be 2 reasons for this

  1. You didn’t mix enough. Give it another minute or two. If it still won’t loosen up, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it loosens up.
  2. Your house is super dry – add a little more water.

The rule of thumb is if your area is hot and humid, reduce the fluid by 10%.

Now back to making the dough.

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

  1. Once all the flour is added and the dough is loose, add the butter a tablespoon at a time. Just like flour, you will add it slowly allowing it to incorporate into the dough. Don’t panic if it doesn’t fit all at once or if the dough seems to be falling apart. Just be patient, it will combine again. Patience – this is the key.

Cold butter or softened butter?

I was raised using cold butter in this recipe although you could use room temperature or equal amounts of olive oil. When you use cold butter, even if you “melt it into the flour”, you are helping with gluten formation and the development of dough structure. I’ve made this with room temperature butter and it works just as well. You can use both people.

  1. Once everything is almost fully incorporated, turn the mixer to medium and mix the dough until it completely comes away from the side and is smooth and shiny.

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

  1. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly sprayed bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap or use what I use – Disposable Plastic Transparent Shower Caps. They have a stretchy band that snaps around the bowl and stays puffy to allow the dough to rise without sticking to it.
  3. Once it has doubled in size, it’s time to shape the hoagie rolls.

How to shape hoagie buns

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

  1. Degas the dough and place it on a very lightly floured board. I would advise using as little flour as possible when shaping these. The more flour you add, the harder the hoagies will be.
  2. Divide into 4 to 8 pieces and shape. *See how to shape below!
  3. Once shaped, transfer to a parchment-lined tray and cover with lightly sprayed plastic wrap. Let rise again until it has almost doubled. ~30-45 mins. Do NOT overprotect them or they will fall flat.

What does Overproof mean?

In simple terms, it means that we let go too long, it will be almost “super balloon” in size. You’ll know you’ve risen too much if, when you prick it for 2 seconds, remove your finger and see if it bounces back. If your dough does not come back, it has risen too much.

But that doesn’t mean all is lost. Simply remove the dough from where it was rising, degas it (i.e. press firmly on the dough to get rid of the gas), then push it back into shape. Return it to your pan and repeat the second rise.

Monitor your dough – things like room temperature, humidity, etc. will make your dough rise slower or faster. 30-45 minutes is a pretty standard time, but you have to use your judgment in the kitchen.

Chef’s tips for shaping hoagie rolls

Shaping takes practice, but that’s the fun of cooking, isn’t it? !

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

  1. When you divide the dough, with your fingers, gently pat it into a rectangle where the dough is about 1/4″ thick.
  2. Next, fold the bottom third toward the center, then fold the top quarter (like an envelope) toward the center and press gently to seal.
  3. Rotate the dough 180 degrees (so the last fold faces you) and repeat the folding step above, then use your hand to seal the seams of the dough as you fold it. What you are doing is folding the dough back on itself.
  4. At this point your dough is almost log/snake shaped. Carefully place your hand in the center of the dough and, without applying pressure/pressure, gently roll the dough back and forth to strengthen the seal and roll it into a log. If necessary, gently pinch the seam to close it.
  5. I then grab the ends, lightly, and carefully pull them outward to help stretch the dough (just an inch or so – again depending on how long your rolls are).
  6. To help round the ends, cut each hand off the end of the roll and move them in opposite directions with a back and forth motion to roll the ends, then tuck them under the roll.
  7. At this point they are ready for the next climb.

Added slashes/slits

Although absolutely not necessary, you can add slits/slits to the rolls before they bake to give them a prettier look. Cutting them adds no taste value; it makes them look better.

However, it helps with the texture. Have you ever made or purchased bread that has a huge bubble or burst? The bread “breaks” in a sense. By scoring the bread, you can help control where gas can escape without destroying the appearance of the bread.

A lame is a handle that has a very thin razor blade at the end of it specifically used for cutting bread. In a quick movement, make a cut (or several cuts) in the center of the bread but without going deep. You might be going in a 1/4″ at best.

Can I use a sharp knife instead?

Personally, I would say no because the blade is not thin enough and the knife may not be super, SUPER sharp. You might risk tearing the bread apart instead of a nice quick cut.

Coat your buns before baking

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

You don’t have to coat them if you don’t want to. They will cook beautifully and taste amazing BUT they won’t quite have that deep color, crust or shine like most pizza places. Again, not a bad thing. Go with what you like.

When it comes to these rollers, depending on the application you are using to coat, you will get different results. For my hoagie rolls I use an egg white mixed with just a tablespoon of milk

  • Whole egg: it will give shine and color to your bread
  • Egg yolk: this will give color to your bread and help brown it
  • Egg white: Will give you a firmer crust
  • Milk: will give the color of your crust
  • Butter: will make your crust softer and richer
  • Egg white with milk: will give you a firmer crust and deeper crust color

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

Cut your hoagie rolls

On first cut, the inside of the bread is so soft and puffy. It’s like it’s being held together by air pockets and strands of sweet dough.

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

Although hard to resist, I HIGHLY recommend waiting about 10 minutes before trying to slice these hoagie rolls. If you don’t, you risk tearing the bread (even with the best of bread knives) because it’s just too hot and too soft inside.

Trust me, it’s worth the wait!

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

I would HIGHLY recommend using a quality bread knife to slice them as the buns are soft and chewy and nothing is worse when you cut them with a crap knife! You will love this knife! The Sani-Safe S162-8SC-PCP 8″ Scalloped Bread Knife with Polypropylene Handle is a great affordable knife!

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

How to Use the Best Hoagie Buns Recipe

There’s no limit to how you can use these hoagie rolls or what you can put in or on them.

The Best Soft and Chewy Hoagie Bun

    or any favorite hoagie toppings like steak, meatballs, cheese, pizza… you get the idea!) like the photos below – use one of my meatball recipes, top with sauce of your choice, cheese and bake at 400 F for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted

About Chris McCarter

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