Philly Subs…My Way!

I think it’s important to make your own bread for most things. I don’t really care for store bought buns, hoagie rolls, etc. It’s easier than you think! phillies1

This really is a “less is more” recipe when it comes to flour. When it comes to hand kneading the dough, just lightly sprinkle in just enough to keep it from sticking. Nothing more.

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Let these puppies rest! I looooove them. They are like hoagie roll/pita pockets and that makes life perfect for stuffing with minimal mess. phillies3

The secret to perfect crust is the water in the oven just hanging out, creating some humidity. Don’t forget this step, or your rolls will be hard.

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Perfection. I can still taste them from last night. On purpose, I am careful not to cut them all the way open, so I can get that pita effect for stuffing. Yum!

Ingredients
For the rolls
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast 7-8 or about 2 tsp, not instant yeast
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour + a little more for kneading
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus a little more to brush on the rolls
For the cheesesteak sandwich filling
  • 2 lbs thinly sliced rib eye or striploin beef – I sometimes use carne asada meat, no seasoning
  • salt and pepper to season
  • a little canola oil
  • sliced provolone cheese
  • A little Worcestershire sauce optional
Instructions
To prepare the rolls
  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/3 cup of the lukewarm water
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for 10-15 minutes until the yeast activates and becomes foamy.
  3. Meanwhile combine the flour, 3 tsp sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
  4. Add the proofed yeast and the remaining 1 cup lukewarm water.
  5. Mix on low speed until the dough has been kneaded for at least 5 minutes before adding the olive oil and letting it work its way into the dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured bread board or counter top.
  7. Knead the dough by hand for at least 5 minutes after it comes out of the stand mixer, remembering to use as little flour as possible.
  8. Use the heel of your hand to stretch the dough across the kneading surface in a sort of smearing action, then fold the dough back over itself, turn it around a half turn and and do the same again. Keep repeating this action for at least five to 10 minutes to develop good gluten in the dough. The dough should appear relatively smooth but still a little sticky to the touch.
  9. Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough inside, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for at least an hour until the dough doubles in size.
  10. Again on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough back into a ball and cut into 6 equal pieces.
  11. Form the dough pieces into about 5 inch lengths and place them a couple of inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  12. Very lightly brush the formed rolls with olive oil.
  13. Drape the cookie sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place for at least another hour until they at least double in size. You con’t want to rush the dough rising at this stage or else your rolls will be too dense.
  14. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. The oven MUST be fully preheated. Place a small tray of boiling water in the back corner of the oven. I use an aluminum pie plate. This causes humidity inside the oven, which helps the bread fully rise before forming a crust.
  15. Using a very sharp knife or razor blade, quickly but gently cut a 1/4 inch deep slit down the centre line of the rolls before immediately popping the tray into the hot oven.
  16. Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the heat to 400 degrees F and baking for an additional 20-25 minutes until the rolls are an even golden brown. They should sound hollow then tapped with your finger.
  17. Let them cool on a wire rack before serving as fresh as possible with the cooked steak and cheese inside.
To prepare the steak and cheese
  1. Slice the beef as thinly as possible and cut the thin slices into strips. Toss the strips with salt and pepper to season.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan to very hot (a nonstick pan works well) and add just a little canola oil to the pan.
  3. Throw half of the beef strips into the hot pan and quickly stir fry, just until the meat loses its red color. In the final 20 seconds or so you can throw in a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce to add additional seasoning to the meat (optional).
  4. In the pan, divide the beef into 2 portions and arrange it quickly into the approximate size and shape of your rolls. Place the cheese quickly on top of the two meat portions and add the lid of the sauté pan for about 15-20 seconds to melt the cheese.
  5. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the meat and melting cheese portions onto a split sub roll. Top with caramelized onions, mushrooms pr peppers if you like. Serve immediately.

These rolls are perfect just as homemade sub sandwiches. Make some dough ahead too, so you can pull it out and bake them when needed. Happy baking!

-Mia

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