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Jul 7, 2019

Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

These pull-apart sourdough sandwich rolls, with a thin crust on the outside and soft and fluffy crumb, are wonderful for sandwiches and even dinner rolls. 

pull-apart sourdough sandwich rolls

These sourdough sandwich rolls are wonderful filled with your favorite sandwich fillings, from deli meats and cheeses, chicken or tuna salad, hot pastrami or beef dip, and even peanut butter and jam.

You're just going to have a hard time resisting eating these fluffy and slightly sweet rolls slathered with butter straight from the oven. They remind me of these pull-apart buttery dinner rolls or these big batch dinner rolls, except these are made with a sourdough starter rather than commercial yeast.

These would be great for grilled steak sandwiches!

pull-apart sourdough sandwich rolls in a basket

How to Make Pull-apart Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

First, you will need to get your sourdough starter all bubbly and active. I keep my starter in the refrigerator because I do not bake bread more than once a week, and sometimes I can go a few weeks between baking sourdough bread.

I bring the starter out of the refrigerator, weigh out about 4 to 6 ounces, and then feed it with 4 to 6 ounces each of flour and water and let it ferment at room temperature for several hours. If the starter has been sitting for a long time, I might add a little rye flour to give it some extra oomph.

You want to make enough active starter for your recipe plus more to save in the refrigerator for your next baking project. There are as many opinions about how much starter to make and how much to discard as there are bakers. In one of my favorite bread books, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast, Ken Forkish recommends discarding a lot of extra starter when you feed it. I've been trying to keep that to a minimum, and usually discard about a cup when I feed my starter.

If throwing out extra starter makes you sad, here are a few recipes for using up the discard:

Here is the starter when it has just been fed.

sourdough starter

After you let the fed starter sit for a few hours, it should increase in size and get all bubbly. Here is the same bowl after the starter has grown.

risen sourdough starter

It should be nice and bubbly on top. It's such a wonderful thing.

risen sourdough starter bubbles

Next, you mix the dough for these soft and fluffy sandwich rolls in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (I love my bright and shiny red one. I think it makes my baked goods taste better). You then let the dough rest for a bit, and then knead it with the dough hook attachment.

The dough is super wet and "batter-like" so it won't come together like standard bread dough, but the final dough should still be shiny and smooth.

Once you've kneaded the dough, place it into a buttered bowl. I like to let my dough rise in a dough rising bucket with little marks on the side so that I can tell when it has doubled.

Bread dough before the first rise

Bread dough is pretty magical. Here's the dough after it has doubled!

Bread dough after the first rise

After the first rise, you will need to shape the rolls, and bake them in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. To shape the rolls, divide the risen dough into 12 equal pieces and shape them into rolls with oiled hands (the dough is super sticky) and place them in an 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan or quarter sheet pan, where they grow together while rising.

Sourdough Sandwich Rolls in a pan

Impress your friends by making these sourdough sandwich rolls for a picnic party. They are great with any sandwich filling. In fact, you can bring a variety of salads, deli meats, cheeses, veggies, and condiments, and let everyone make their own sandwich.

This kind of picnic brings back a variety of memories. There was a time when I was growing up that my dad would take me to an Italian deli on Sundays to pick up bread and salami for a picnic-style lunch, as well as ravioli for dinner.

Later, in college, we used to go to Carmel every year before the Stanford or Cal vs USC game, and part of the tradition was getting a picnic lunch of bread, cheeses, meats, and salads for the road.

Another great memory is a trip to Provence. If you ever get a chance to visit Provence in the south of France, you definitely need to visit the marchés to pick up similar food for an impromptu picnic.

Sourdough Sandwich Rolls in a basket with picnic ingredients

For more picnic party ideas, be sure to check out the rest of the recipes from the Our Dinner Table group! Join our group and share your recipes! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Fluffy Sourdough Sandwich Rolls stacked

Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

Create your own soft and fluffy pull-apart sourdough sandwich rolls! 

Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls
These pull-apart sourdough sandwich rolls, with a thin crust on the outside and soft and fluffy crumb, are wonderful for sandwiches and even dinner rolls.


For the Dough
  • 240 grams (1 cup/7 ounces) milk, either whole or 2%
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) water
  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 200 grams (1 cup) active starter
  • 24 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 459 grams (3 3/4 cups) bread flour
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt
For the Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of water


How to cook Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

  1. Warm the milk, water, and butter in a small saucepan until the butter melts. The temperature should not exceed 100 degrees F so let it cool a bit if it gets to warm. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add one egg, the starter, and the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low to combine. 
  3. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the milk mixture. 
  4. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix for another minute or two, until you have a wet dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate, and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium low for about 6 to 8 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. 
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let rise until doubled, 6 to 8 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. 
  7. Line the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment and grease the sides of the pan. 
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and, with oiled hands, stretch it out into a rectangle. 
  9. Using an oiled scraper or bench knife, divide the dough into 12 pieces. 
  10. Gently shape each piece into a ball and place them in the prepared pan, 3 across, and 4 down. With oiled fingertips, gently flatten the balls to about 3/4 inch thick. 
  11. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let rise for about an hour, until puffy. 
  12. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  13. When the rolls are risen, whisk together the egg wash ingredients and gently brush it on the rolls. 
  14. Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the rolls from the pan to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
bread, rolls, sourdough
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I've been having fun with my sourdough starter. I made a kick butt blueberry coffee cake for blueberry week. Can't wait to share it. I think these rolls might be next up, perhaps as hamburger buns.

  2. These look delicious. I love homemade breads but I have such a hard time with a sourdough starter. I need some pointers!

  3. Homemade sourdough is the best! I would love making sandwiches with these

  4. These look perfectly delicious! I'm so jealous of your bread baking skills. One day...

  5. Thank you for the sourdough sandwich roll recipe. It was awesome. Only changed a couple of things, don't know if it made much difference. Instead of milk I used buttermilk and with the butter instead of melting it I added it just before I added the flour and pretty much made the flour salt mixture and softened buttered the last thing I did and they turned out better than any of the other recipes I've tried so far. Great Recipe and turned about beautiful!


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