The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hard rolls

ehanner's picture

Last week HeidiH posted about her Heavenly Hard Rolls. I've made lots of rolls but I don't think I ever went after an actual hard roll with a soft chewy crumb before. So I called Stanley Ginsberg at and ordered some Pivetti 00 Rinzfornato flour since Heidi was so excited with her results. I really like that I have access to what I consider exotic ingredients at a reasonable price with Stan. The couple extra bucks for shipping is a bargain to be able to use premium flours for a special project in my opinion. 

Anyway, I followed HeidiH post exactly except for I only applied one coat of egg wash and seeds. Those of you who know me, know I almost always doctor up the recipe. It's a over powering urge I find hard to control. This time I was good. The rolls were scaled at 100G's each and just about filled up a 1/2 sheet pan perfectly. I baked at 375F for 35 minutes with normal steam and left the sheet pan in the oven an extra 7 minutes with the door cracked open with a wooden spoon.  The crust is crusty and the crumb is soft and delicious just like Heidi promised. Thanks!

HeidiH's picture

Heavenly "hard rolls"

July 13, 2011 - 10:21am -- HeidiH

Sometimes I just want to dance around singing "Heaven, I'm in heaven ..." when I make bread.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I finally got the "hard rolls" I've been looking for.  Rolls that have a thin but hard crust and pillowy innards with just the right amount of chewiness.  Makes this displaced Connecticut Yankee all happy.  It's gonna be harder and harder to keep my circumference less than my height.

dahoops's picture

Hard Rolls

March 19, 2011 - 8:49am -- dahoops

Today's experiment.  I got tired of chasing hard rolls for my husband's lunches and these worked out well.  I rolled 4 oz of dough and put three in each oval brotform to rise.  Then baked them in oval clay bakers for 30 mins and an additional 5 mins uncovered to darken.  Egg white/water wash with sesame.   Here's the recipe:

15 oz KA bread flour

1 Tbsp dried buttermilk

1.5 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp yeast

davesmall's picture

Baking, Freezing, Resuscitating Crusty French Bread Rolls

December 30, 2010 - 9:44am -- davesmall

French Hard Rolls


We vacationed in France this year and had the pleasure of dining at several upscale Michelin starred restaurants. I noticed a trend toward offering small crusty rolls rather than sliced bread(s). in some cases the rolls were warm as if fresh from the oven. There were always crusty fresh rolls with chewy crumb. There would also be two or three alternate choices, usually a dark bread, and a walnut or olive bread.

holds99's picture

 Petite Pain (rolls) No. 1  - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton

Petite Pain No. 1 (rolls)  - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

 Petite Pain (rolls) Interior - S.S. France - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pain (rolls) No. 2 - S.S. France: - Bernard Clayton recipe

Petite Pains (rolls) - S.S. France Note: The following excerpt is taken from Bernard Clayton’s NEW COMPLETE BOOK OF BREADS – REVISED AND EXPANDED, page 633. “The anchor of the cuisine aboard the S.S. France was French bread in its least complicated form---flour, yeast, salt, and water.  These four basic ingredients became something special in the hands of the nine boulangers. It is not French flour that makes the difference, said the bakers.  "American flour” can be used if one understands that it must be treated with deference.  Permit it to relax.  Don't rush it or it will get stubborn.  There is more gluten in American flour and it will fight back when it has been kneaded too aggressively.  Walk away from it. Let it relax, then start again. The bakers also cautioned not to pour hot water into flour because this, too, will toughen the dough.  Use water that is baby-bottle warm---about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. One surprising practice in the France bakery was the use of a piece of well-laundered wool blanket to cover the dough as it rises.  The bakers had cut 6-by-3-foot strips from wonderfully soft white blankets that in earlier times had been used by stewards to tuck around passengers taking their ease in deck chairs.  The names of famous French line ships were woven into many.  Now they were keeping dough warm. My one regret is that I did not ask for one of the old blankets as a memento of the voyage.  I fear they were tossed out when shortly thereafter the liner was taken from French line service. This method can be adapted by the home baker.  I have since cut up an old army blanket to use in my kitchen and have discovered that even the softer doughs will not stick to wool. To allow the dough to grow and mature and to become more flavorful, the S.S. France’ recipe calls for the dough to rise three times and to rest for one 15-minute interval. The petit pain or small bread is nothing more than an elongated roll about 5 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in girth.  It is a golden brown and crusty on the outside, white and soft inside.  The dough can be cut into four 1-pound loaves if you wish.” 

Note:  Much the same as Monsieur Clayton I regret not having one of those lovely, soft, old S.S. France’ blankets for my rolls to cuddle under.  And to make things worse, my old army blanket got stolen out of the back of my Jeep at the beach a few years back, so that’s option is gone.  Just when things seem darkest there’s always a ray of sunshine…steaming to the rescue… the S.S. Walmart.  Sacrilege that it may be… I cover my roll pans with large, rectangular, clear plastic containers that I purchased at Walmart…and they work great.  I’m fairly certain that the S.S. France’ boulangers would thoroughly disapprove of this method, as in: “mon Dieu, Monsieur Americain!”  Be that as it may, my method works just fine for me... merci.

On a more serious note. I selected this recipe because the rolls are simple, delicious and it’s a good exercise for entry level bakers.  This recipe uses the “direct” method (yeast only, no pre-ferment) and produces very good results.  I made the dough just a little wetter to produce a good interior.  I also used the stretch and fold method rather than knocking down the dough, as Clayton suggests.  I use stretch and fold for everything…well, nearly everything… I am still working to perfect this technique on pancakes J.   Finally, I made round rolls instead of oblong/oval shaped rolls.  I used these two techniques (“stretch and fold” and round roll shaping) because Bill Wraith’s video (available on TFL) shows the "stretch and fold" method and Mark Sinclair’s folding and roll shaping videos (available on TFL and his Back Home Bakery home page) show the “stretch and fold” method and “shaping” round rolls. Mark makes shaping rolls look easy, which reminds me of the old story about a tourist visting New York asking a New Yorker: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the New Yorker replied: “Practice”.  So, here’s a chance to practice.  The two videos will help you immensely.  So, if you’re an entry level baker and want to tackle some “direct” method rolls this might prove to be a good way to GET “ROLLING”.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL


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