Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triggering the Salivary Response

We had a unique outreach opportunity this evening, so Craig called home and asked me to make sure that dinner could be prepared and consumed quickly, easily, and early, allowing us to leave soon after his arrival from work. Very little that we do in our kitchen is quick or easy, but we do have some tricks up our sleeves. I've made these sandwich rolls oodles of times before, but today is the first time that it dawned on me to use a quicker method.

Normally, I use my favorite bread recipe from the Bread Beckers, which takes a couple of hours. I can get four loaves of bread, or split the dough into combinations of bread/calzones/sandwich rolls/cinnamon rolls, etc. Today, however, it occurred to me that I can use our much easier recipe from Phyllis Stanley's book Healthy Recipes from the Heart of our Homes. This is actually a pizza dough recipe that takes mere minutes to prepare, does not need to rise, and bakes in about eight minutes. We've used this for pizza and breadsticks, and we personalize the recipe a bit, adding herbs to the dough for extra flavor.

I'm not sure if I've shared this sandwich roll recipe before on any of my blogs, but I'll do so now. I get many requests for the recipe, which was born of necessity. About eight years ago, shortly after I made the switch to fresh grains, I had a few failed attempts at a stuffed loaf from the Beckers' recipe book. Either the loaves wouldn't bake all the way through the middle, or after removing them from the pans, they'd flatten. Finally, I realized that my over-indulgent nature was the culprit. I'm the daughter of Wally, Maker of Sandwiches, which means that I overstuff them. The filling that I included was simply more weight than the loaves were meant to endure. After much sighing and brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making them cinnamon-roll-style.

I'll share my method, but I won't be too specific about ingredients. That way I'll afford you some latitude in being creative with your own concoction. To make the rolls: *

1. Choose your favorite dough and roll it into a rectangle, just as you would for cinnamon rolls. If you don't have herbs in your dough, it may be a tasty idea to chop some and sprinkle them across the rolled-out dough. If you like garlic, this step is a good opportunity to chop or mince some and sprinkle it with the herbs. 

2. Next, spread a layer of a deli cheese of your choice. I like to use provolone for this layer. 

3. On top of the cheese, add two or three of your favorite deli meats. 

4. Be as creative as you'd like to be. Consider adding sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pepper rings, or any other such condiment. 

5. Once you're satisfied with what is spread across your dough, grate some hard Italian cheese over this. If Morgan is helping me, she normally campaigns in favor of smoked Gruyere cheese, as well. I think she'd try to add this to ice cream if I'd let her! 

*This process should go rather quickly, so you should have had your ingredients ready on your preparation surface before beginning. 

6. After you've fully assembled your toppings on your dough, roll it lengthwise into a long rope, just as you would for cinnamon rolls, and slice into spirals. 

I've found that using a baking stone is ideal for good results. The amount of space that you leave between the rolls on the stone depends on how soft or crispy you'd like them to be after they're baked. 

IMPORTANT: If you're using a normal bread dough recipe, it will have already risen once in a bowl before assembling the rolls. After assembly, they'll need to rise again. If you're able to procure a recipe that doesn't require rising -- like I did this evening -- it's time to bake them! 

7. Place the stone in an oven that's been preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake them for about 10 minutes or until they're a little golden-brown, per your own preference.

I try to make a few batches of these at once. I'm convinced that my family has an endless capacity for these, so I tend to ration them. I freeze some to have for lunch at a later date. They thaw nicely and can be warmed in the microwave or covered in the oven. I recently froze one batch in sets of two, wrapped in plastic and stored in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. On some mornings, I'd grab one of these packs and send it to work with Craig for his lunch. 

These sandwich rolls travel very well, and we've taken many a road trip with them in tow, along with some fruit salad served in individual Ziploc bowl (the ones with the handy screw-on lids). These are also great to take to sporting events, on hikes, or any other on-the-go occasion. It definitely beats fast food, in my opinion, and takes minimal planning and labor. It's worth it in the end, and your family will beg for more!


  1. We love these but they have NEVER turned out as good as yours! I think you have some secret trick your holding up your sleeve, BUT will try this recipe again with your detailed instructions. I miss your food (and you, too!)

  2. LOVE, just love little rolls like that! It looks so good!

  3. These look great - thanks for the recipe!