The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chicago Hard Rolls

dfandreatta's picture

Chicago Hard Rolls

Does anyone have a recipe for Chicago Hard Rolls?

I am looking for something to pair with the Chicago Italian Beef recipe I have, I haven't found a Hard Roll recipe that delivers.  I will gladly share my Italian beef recipe.

Thank you, and have a nice day.



mrfrost's picture

Have you tried the KA Deli-Style Hard Rolls:

I'm high on these. Great risers. Soft, fluffy, spongy insides. Very sturdy though, especially the crusts.

Don't worry about the "Hi Maize flour". Skip it(I did) and just add an equal amount of whatever flour you use. Recipe calls for KA Bread Flour, but I used a flour more similar(almost identical) to KA All Purpose. They still turned out great. If you have the KA bread flour, they may be even better, but like I said, mine still turned out great. Also, if you don't have the malt, just use brown sugar, or regular sugar.

 Seemed so simple to make too. Very easy recipe,

Good luck. Let us know if you try them, or whatever else you finally decide on.

Edit: Link to blog tutorial. Also, forget about the "bun pan". If you have one, great. If not, the rolls still turn out great. Forget the seeds too.

msbreadbaker's picture

Hi Mr. Frost,

Your answer to the question of the rolls was great, I did look at both the links. What do you suppose keeps the seeds on the rolls if they are only held on by water and in the long link, somebody said they also used golden flax seeds and that they were wonderful on the rolls as well. What do you think about that, it seems to me they'd be too hard. I read in my recent research that golden flax seeds were the same as brown flax seeds. Maybe that meant only in nutrition and not in hardness. I have a recipe that calls for the goldens and will be making it soon, having never even heard of golden flax seeds before.

Regards, Jean P. (VA)

mrfrost's picture

Hi ms.,

I made this recipe 3 times in a week after I first saw it there. However, I did not use seeds either time. I can only say that I believe that if the recipe is followed as pictured (ie., shaped dough dipped in water, seeds pressed in), the seeds should hold reasonably well. I will also say, if you read those all of the blog comments, you saw where the author swears there is no "fudging" going on there with the results, as shown. What you see there is what they got.

Don't de afraid to give the seeds a reasonably good pressing in(after wetting the dough). Even though I did not use seeds, I gave my dough a good pressing, just trying to get a good spread on the rolls. Still got great, high,  rounded rolls, though not quite the "couched up" bottom edges and sides that the bun pan provides. I don't think one would get any arguments if one wanted to try an egg white/water mixture if the water only method does not adhere well.

I don't recall ever using only flax seeds as a topping. However, I use them very often as a topping mixed in with sesame seeds, with the sesame probably being the slight majority. I don't ever recall issues with any "hardness" in those cases.

Yes, there are "golden" flax seeds and "brown" flax seeds. Besides the color, I don't know if there are any differences(taste, nutrition, etc) between the two. However, where I buy the "golden" ones, they are more expensive than the brown seeds, though I think the golden are labled "organic". The brown seeds are relatively cheap there, but even the "golden" ones are well less than half what KA charges. I have used both, and primarily as a topping and mixted with mostly sesame seeds, so I don't think that may be the best setting to notice any differences. But very definitely, there are brown(darker brown) flax seeds, and "golden"(or lighter brown) flax seeds. The golden are just noticeably lighter, no mistaking them, especially side by side.

Good luck with the recipe, if you try it.

Edit: Images added:

MangoChutney's picture

Below are the prices I found for brown and golden flax, when I went looking a couple of weeks ago.  Shipping is included in the Honeyville numbers.  The others may have additional charges for shipping depending upon whether they are bought through Amazon or at the company's website.  I ended up buying brown flax from Arrowhead, through Amazon.  My online research indicated that brown flax has slightly more fiber and omega-3 oils than golden flax.  Golden flax evidentially holds favor with those trying to avoid adding dark flours in their breads, along with using white whole wheat, so their families don't catch on to the fact that they are eating healthy bread.  *grin*

 Brown Unless Otherwise Noted lbs $ $/lb
Flax, Honeyville516.943.39
Flax, Honeyville5074.941.5
Flax, Bob's Red Mill1.53.992.66
Flax, Frontier311.943.98
Flax, Golden, Arrowhead10.530.732.93
Flax, Golden, Arrowhead5.2514.642.79
Flax, Arrowhead614.522.42
Flax, Golden KAF14.954.95
clazar123's picture

The recipe is only part of how to make these buns, I believe. The other part is the technique used to get a crunchy,crust. I am working on that part,also. I believe proofing the dough on a couche and NOT spraying it with water helps to dry the dough ever so little and then using some steam in a hot oven only for the first few minutes helps to get a thicker,crunchier crust.  Getting the crumb right takes a little higher hydration dough,good gluten formation,gentle handling after the first rise so the dough isn't too deflated, good shaping making sure to get a good gluten skin. It is a tricky balance that takes practice, I am finding.

So recipe of ingredients is not always the only thing to emulate. The technique is very important,also.

flournwater's picture

 AP flour (60% hyrdation), water, salt, yeast (2% salt, 1% yeast)

Mix, knead with stand mixer 5 - 6 minutes

Divide into individual rolls

Proof until doubled (on plarchment paper and covered with towel)

Brush lightly with olive oil

Bake on preheated stone at initial 500 degrees, spritzing three times (every thirty seconds) with water  (No other steam generation)

Use parchment paper bed to lift and place on preheated stone

Reduce heat to 450 and bake until golden (interior temp. 200 - 210 degrees)

Cool on rack

Enjoy the snap crackle and pop of the crust