The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh Baked Sub Rolls

SubsNSuds's picture

Fresh Baked Sub Rolls

Hello everyone,


Subs-N-Suds is an American Style sandwich shop in Pattaya Thailand serving subs and sandwiches. We currently purchase our sub rolls from a local bakery. We would like to make fresh baked rolls daily simular to Subway and other sandwich shops but we don't know how to do this. Can you tell us what equipment is needed and a step by step instruction as to what to do ?


Thanks for your time from the Subs-N-Suds Team

mcs's picture

From what I understand, Subway buys their bread 'parbaked', or 75% baked (brown and serve), then they simply 'proof' them (bring it up to room temperature after being frozen) and bake them for the remainder of the time.

I believe the suppliers are doing 95% of the work, baking the bread until it gains enough strength to hold itself and gain a little bit of color, then it is cooled, flash frozen and transported to the stores frozen.

Although the proofer/ovens they use are functionally adequate for all types of bread baking, Subways still use people to supply their bread (albeit not fully cooked) so they can bypass having mixers, hoods for their ovens, skilled bakers, and all of the normal baking equipment. Therefore, their 'baking' constitutes 'reheating' more than what a person on the Fresh Loaf would consider 'baking'.

That said, notice I began this post with, 'From what I understand', as I have never worked at a Subway before...


mjf101471's picture

I actually work for a company that makes subway bread, both lowsodium white and low sodium 9 grain.The way it works is we make the dough, process it into dough sticks and freeze it. We do not proof or bake the bread in anyway (except in the QA lab to make sure every batch meets subway standards.)

-Mark F.

mellowde's picture

I do work for subway and have seen them put premixed strips of dough on silicone forms, then place them in a proofing oven to rise.  I've been in multiple locations servicing equipment for them and have noticed that at these locations the process is the same.  Of course, I'm sure there are probably subway stores that don't follow protocol set out by the franchise. 

Stac's picture

I have an old cookbook full of good bun recipes if you need me to look it up. But as far as knowing what equipment you will need and such , just consider asking of someone who runs a Panera bread shoppe what they do. They bake all types of sub and sandwich loaves fresh daily. I don't think they will give you the recipes but I am sure you can use your own creativity and have a hit bread/sandwich shoppe of your own.


lisah's picture

Hi Thailand,

 Hope I can visit someday.  I am from Philadelphia originally and given it is the home of the famous Philadelphia Steak Sandwich and its neighbor New Jersey takes credit for the similar sub (what Subway is based on), you should know that Alessi bakery is famous for their submarine roles and many Northeasterners swear they are the best in the world (much better than Subway).  See if you can poll the group to see if anyone can help you find a formula that is similar to Alessi.  Their dough is very much the same as a Kaiser roll dough only shaped into a sub shape.

 Good luck!

mellowde's picture

Got a real good recipe for sub rolls. Makes 3 foot long just like subway. Proofing is the key, though.

1 tblsp yeast dry
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp butter
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp dough enhancer (you can get this on
1 cup plus 1 tblspn warm water

Knead, let rise, punch down, let rise again, punch down and shape into three foot long tubes. Place in unheated oven with pan of hot water on shelf below. You can make these on a cookie sheet but they will have flat bottoms. A baquette pan works good or a sub/hoagie pan if you can find one is best. Silicone pans are the best (like the ones at subway). Spray lightly on top with warm water at beginning of proofing. Wait 15 minutes and turn oven on to 300 for 20 seconds then off. Wait another 15 minuetes and repeat the oven on off thing again. Wait 1/2 hour then the oven thing again and allow to rise for another 1/2 hour. Then turn oven on and bake at 325 for 20 minutes, then leaving them in the oven bake another 20 minutes at 350 and then remove from oven and place on rack for cooling and yummy eating. Let them cool before cutting. Makes the subway type roll each and every time. Never fails and smells just like the inside of any subway restaurant. Enjoy.

Prep time before punching down is approximately 2 hours. Most of that is rising time. Proofing and baking are specified above.

Midnightjinx's picture

Even tho dough enhancers are usually used with whole grains this could be used with white breads as well to add life to the bread instead of buying from amazon why not make it yourselfheres a simple recipe to follow.

How to make Homemade Dough Enhancer:

1 cup wheat gluten
2 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals
2 tablespoons powdered pectin
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.

I love dough enhancer so much I make it in triple batches and keep it in a quart-size jar.

Happy whole grain bread baking!

Note: While it’s not necessary to use dough enhancer in white bread recipes, you can! You’ll have higher loaves, and loaves that stay fresh longer. Especially in summer months, if you don’t use air conditioning, dough enhancer will help you keep your bread fresh longer.

taurus430's picture

Flour ratio to other ingredients does not seem correct. I would think it should be 3 cups or more of flour.

marykskin's picture

I mixed this up this morning and it was really a sticky wet dough.  Am I supposed to knead additional flour into it to make it a relatively stiff dough?  Please assist.  I really need something that will turn out great.  Thanks for sharing.

mrfrost's picture

Making adjustments in the flour and/or liquid ingredients is often necessary during mixing/kneading to get the dough to a desired consistency. A well written recipe will usually give a description of the desired dough consistency.

Here, you probably are not aiming for stiff. Probably more of just your prototypical bouncy dough ball, more on the softer side side though, considering how wet the recipe above "looks" starting out.

My take. Good luck.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

A large part of the problem is probably due to the fact that the recipe is by volume instead of by weight.

Since the OP is looking for something commercially viable, and scaling up a by volume recipe just keeps compounding the error, a sub recipe that's measured by weight would probably be more helpful in the long run, with less experimentation required and less fiddling with it after the fact.

A commercial concern wants something that's easily repeatable with a minimum of intervention.  You might still need to make slight adjustments with a by weight recipe, but they'll tend to be consistent at least.  Not so with by volume measurements.

mellowde's picture

Flour varies in moisture content depending on how it's stored from the time its milled.  More moisture means you will need to use less water or more flour to get the correct consistency.  As with all bread dough you want to add just enough flour (a little at a time) so that the dough just begins to come off the sides of the bowl or kneading surface clean.  Too much will caust the dough to be heavy and the rolls will not be proper so be careful.  You will have to experiment with various batches until you yourself know what proper consistency is while making the dough.  It is an art form and not something one can tell you in a written recipe.  Once you master the art you will be on your way to making excellent dough each and every time.  Good luck.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Of course it helps if you start with something that's as consistent as possible.  I never understood why the best bakers I knew insisted on weighing their ingredients - until I got a scale.

All the "art" in the world isn't going to help if you don't have a reliable starting point.

mellowde's picture

Your starting point is your recipe.  No scale is needed.  And no scale in the world will help with the expertise needed to be proficient in the bread making process.  Most bakers learn by their mistakes or under the tutelage of an experienced baker.  Commercial bakeries have the process worked out to the point that they are able to produce large quantities of dough by using a pre-determined formula and then weighing samples for consistency.  Their dry ingredients are often pre-packaged and mixed with a specific amount of liquid (water).   But for smaller operations it is still possible to produce a relatively consistent product without a scale, much like bakeries of old did for centuries.  My dear fellow, bread has been around a lot longer than scales. 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

And if the recipe uses inaccurate volume measurements, it's really not much of a starting point.  A scale makes it easier to repeat results.  I never believed it either until I started using one myself.

Why do you hate the idea of using accurate measurements so much?

And I never said a word about COMMERCIAL bakers.  I don't know any commercial bakers.  I know people who bake at home.  Very few of them learned from other bakers.  It's been a long time since mainstream American families baked their own bread.  There was a spike of interest in the 70s, and the interest we're seeing now just strikes me as more likely to stick (but maybe that's because I'm in the middle of it myself, LOL!)

Breads been around a lot longer than the modern oven, but that doesn't mean I want to try baking it without one!

BTW, I'm not a fellow, LOL!

mellowde's picture

There are variations in moisture content in flour that occur during storage and handling.  This can sometimes account for the condition you mention.  That is why most good bakers never use weight to determine quantity.  Real moist flour is of course more heavy than the same volume of dry flour.   (weighing is only useful if you know the moisture content).  A good knowledge of what consistency you desire is necessary and comes from either trial and error or directly from someone who is already familiar with what works.  You can add some flour if too sticky or let the dough "rest" for a while prior to handling.  You can still add more flour if necessary during a second kneading.  Better to just "punch down" the dough after the rest and proceed to process for baking.  If you are unable to handle the dough at all it probably needs some additional flour.  But the dough should be somewhat soft.  For loaves cut off a piece and flatten it in a round circle then roll it up starting at one side and all the way across to fit in your loaf pan.  A final rise in a draft free location is desirable.  Of course knowing how much dough to use is part of the trial and error.  If you have a small kitchen scale, weighing will be useful to give knowledge of how much to add or take away in the future.   Depending on the pan size you might find a lb is a good place to begin.  But back to the consistency of the dough and your question.  You don't want the dough stiff or it will not rise or have a pleasant appeal when eaten.  Instead it will become heavy and hard.  Too little flour and the dough will rise with large air pockets inside or fall easily during baking and handling.   Like I said trial and error.  Knowledge is king.  Making bread and rolls is an art form.  For sub rolls made on a cookie sheet I like about 4.5 oz of dough per roll.  You can weigh now that the dough is made because the moisture in the flour, if any is off-set by reducing the amount of water used as an ingredient.  Again take the ball of dough, flattening it out into a circle and then roll it into a log before placing on the cookie sheet or pan being used.  You can slit the log length-wise or several times cross-wise prior to raising.  If you have one of the new electric ranges (like Samsung) that has a proofing setting you can place the rolls into the oven for rising prior to baking.  Good luck and don't get discouraged. 

mjf101471's picture

Don't forget about dough temperature, 64 to 68 degrees F. is good 65 being perfect. If your dough is too cold it will be sticky if its too warm it will be too stiff. and don't let it sit around you usually have about 10min before the dough begins the rising process, so make you rolls or loafs as soon as possible. If you want to make a sub make a 6" square of dough a little less than 1/4" thick,roll it up and continue rolling back and forth until its about 10.75" long(while your rolling it make sure you seal up the ends).

mellowde's picture

I would think your way of rolling the dough would produce a roll with squarish ends.  As mentioned I've used a circle of dough rolled up to form the rolls and the ends are a little tapered.  The mold if used would determine the shape also.  I use 4.5 oz of dough per roll and make them about 3/4 as long as yours for my purposes.  Depends on what you would want the final size to be, I guess.  My molds when I use them instead of a cookie sheet are about 9 inches long.  I normally just make a batch on a 1/2 size commercial cookie sheet which produces about 8 rolls. 

mellowde's picture

I think that for most the lack of patience is the killer in their quest to make good bread/rolls.  It is necessary for the dough to rest between stages of processing.  Several things occur during the resting process.  Of course it rises, but more importantly the yeast blends with the gluten to change the make-up of the dough in ways that are nearly unexplainable.  Knocking down the dough and then allowing it rise again is essential as well.  These steps take time and proper conditions.  And these steps are not to be taken lightly.  Or skipped over.  Short cuts don't work when it comes to bread dough.