The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Copying my favorite sub sandwhich roll?

sara20's picture

Copying my favorite sub sandwhich roll?

I really like DiBella's Sub sandwiches (also know as hoagie rolls in some parts of the country). They have the perfect bread which I like the most about them. I have become quite good at making something similar at home but I can not seem to match the bread in the sub itself. I have tried generic "homemade sub rolls" recipes but the color and texture is not the same.  What I want is hard on the outside and medium soft on the inside. What I make at home is too soft overall, too yellow, and lacks the flavor. After much looking I was able to find the ingredients for the Dibelas sub roll:

Enriched Flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron,
thiamine mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid), Water, Yeast,
Dough Improver (Salt, soybean oil, dextrose, corn starch, mono- and
diglycerides, defatted soy flour, and 2% or less of each of the following:
potassium bromate, ascorbic acid, L-cysteine hydrochloride enzymes),
Dough Improver (Wheat Flour, Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono-
Diglycerides (DATEM), Calcium Sulfate, Guar Gum, Monoglycerides,
Ammonium Sulfate and 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Ascorbic
Acid, Soybean Oil, Potassium Iodate, Enzymes (Wheat), Hydrolyzed
Wheat Gluten, Azodicarbonamide), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vital Wheat

Does bleached wheat flour mean whole wheat flour or something else?  What proportion of bleached wheat flour to malted barley flour would I use? Is there any recipe you can give me that can match it?

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

That's why most home bakers have difficulty matching commercial breads. No one would want to put all that weird stuff in their bread!

That said, there are things to know. One, bleached wheat flour is simply bleached white regular flour. Most commercial white flours have some proportion of malt or amylase in them (check the label). If your flour doesn't, then you can add a tiny (tsp?) of ground, untoasted malted barley to the flour. You probably don't have to though. For dough improvers you can try a bit of soy flour, some lemon juice and guar gum if you like, to see what difference they make. Or you can try potato flour, though that will likely make the roll softer.

For improving flavour try using a pre-ferment (mix about 20% of the total flour with an equal amount of water or beer by weight (e.g. 100 grams of liquid and 100 grams of flour, plus about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of dry yeast; let this sit for most of the day). Mix the pre-ferment with the dough flour, water, salt and a tiny bit more yeast, let it rise for an hour or two then put it in the fridge overnight. Shape and bake it in the morning.

I don't know how much to tell you as I don't know what your level of experience is with making bread of different types. If you can get a copy of Richard Bertinet's "Crust", or Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" there are some recipes in there that might suit you.

sara20's picture

I tried making it again today this time brushing them with eggs and adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the dough and the crust turned out good but the inside part the crumb was still the consistency of cornbread instead of normal bread. Is it just that I need to use an actual dough conditioner or is there something else I am doing wrong?

BetsyMePoocho's picture


I have to say that your picture of the sandwich is absolutely stellar!!  I'd eat it and the crumbs on the paper.  But I have to agree with Lazy Loafer in that some of us strive to walk a path that is a few 'clicks' to the side of commercial baked breads.

Not saying that they have no place in our daily lives.  Heck, if we want a commercial bread we go to Publix, (our food store) here in Florida.  They make a great Hoagie roll.  And we have used them in some cases.  They will remain viable for days and preform the job of being a receptacle for all kinds of good stuff in the middle.

I try to emulate a cross between a New Orleans Po'Boy and (my favorite) Bahn Mi roll for the hoagie.  Down side is that only are good the same day.  But my wife will make salad croutons out of the left overs.

Please do not misinterpret this, I'm only saying that sometimes less is better.  My gosh, I could never have accomplished the results you obtained with all that chemical formula.  You did good. 

Go Girl, Keep at it....!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are double baked.  First to make the bread, then a second short stint in the oven to crisp the crust ("hard on the outside") before cutting.  Some are cut open and grilled too.  

Egg yolks will make a bread yellow so leaving them out should get you the lighter crumb colour you desire.  

You're almost there without the secret ingredients.  :)

IceDemeter's picture

are currently using, it's pretty hard to make suggestions.

Without having to go and purchase "dough conditioners", you maybe just need to change a few things in your current recipe / method:

- higher gluten flour will produce a chewier / less soft crumb (use bread flour instead of all purpose, or even think about adding some vital wheat gluten)

- some of the more usual items added by home bakers as "dough conditioners" are things like diastatic malt powder (malted barley flour: you can purchase a version from various baking supply places such as King Arthur Flour, or get some from your local brew store), sugar / sweeteners, eggs, milk, oil / butter, vinegar, ascorbic acid (vitamin C - grind a supplement in to powder if you don't want to purchase the specific acid)

- baking in a hotter oven with more steam to start with

Your description of these rolls sounds very much like the New York style hard-rolls that are discussed in many posts on this site, and are often considered the same as kaiser rolls.  The best reviewed version of the recipe is listed as "Norm's Onion Rolls" --- and you would need to just use the dough without the onions / onion water and change the shaping and bake timing to suit your preference.