I got a new job as a baker…

…because I really knead the dough.

I have a friend who is an amazing bread baker. She is actually a magician when it comes to creating edible masterpieces with flour and water. It’s insanity. Her baking exploits have challenged me to step up my bread making game. Sure, I have yeast rolls down, but what about other types of bread? I felt that I (k)needed to challenge myself.

So, I decided to make my own sandwich rolls.


I was a little dubious since my previous adventures in roll making have been problematic. Delicious, but problematic. I have made pretzel rolls on several occasions, but they always get stuck to the parchment, or the pan, no matter how much said surface is greased and floured. This means that I lose 1/4 of my roll! Insanity. My attempts at bagels tasted good, but they got very hard very quickly. My French bread wasn’t flaky. However, my focaccia came out fine; but I think it was because I messed up the recipe.

So, I girded my baking loins, put on my big-girl apron, and got back behind the glass bowl.

Boy am I glad I did. These rolls were lovely: fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and just the right size for the quinoa and chickpea burgers I made for lunch. Divine.

Black Olive Sandwich Rolls
Adapted from


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cups semolina flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, broken up coarsely with your hands
Mixing the dough by hand: (what I normally would do…)

Add all ingredients, except for olives, to a large mixing bowl and stir together with a sturdy wooden spoon until you form a shaggy but cohesive dough. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, covered with a clean towel. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter top and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Mixing the dough by Bread Machine: (What I actually did)

Add all ingredients, except for olives, to the pan of your bread machine that has been fitted with the dough paddle(s). Set the bread machine on the dough setting and press start. When the cycle is completed, proceed with shaping…

Shaping the rolls:
  1. Grab a baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a clean and very lightly floured surface or silicone mat. Roll it out into a rectangle that is about 6-inches by 9-inches.
  3. Scatter the olives over the surface of the dough, leaving about an inch clear of olives on the side farthest from you.
  4. Gently lift the edge closest to you and fold away from yourself over the olives.
  5. Continue to carefully lift and roll the dough away from you until you have a long tube.
  6. Pinch the seam closed.Use a serrated knife to cut the dough into 8-10 equally-sized pieces.
  7. Hold a piece of dough with the cut sides out. Use your thumbs to pull the top of the dough over the cut sides toward the bottom. Push that up under the roll toward the center, rotate the dough ball a half turn and repeat. Put the dough ball on the counter and cup your hand around it, rotating in one direction until the top of the dough is taut.
  8. Place the formed roll on your baking sheet. Repeat, leaving plenty of room between the rolls for expansion in rising and baking.
  9. Cover the rolls with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes, or until they look a little puffy.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  11. Use a sharp knife to make three to four cuts of about 1/8-inch deep each to the top of each roll. This allows the roll to expand while baking without tearing that beautifully taut top you worked so hard to create.
  12. Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
  13. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.100_2022

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