Hard, Crusty Rolls made with Sourdough Starter

I’ve made soft, fluffy rolls and buns over the years but recently I got a craving for a hard, crusty version. So I went web surfing.

Hard, Crusty Rolls

I adapted this King Arthur Flour “European-Style Hard Roll” recipe by substituting my own home made sourdough starter for the starter called for in the recipe. Based on the weight of the flour, water and yeast in the starter, I used a bit over 8 oz/225 gm of sourdough starter.

After the initial 3 hr deflate and turns called for, I divided the dough in half (14 oz/400 gm each) and refrigerated one portion in a covered bowl until the next day. I divided the rest of the dough into 4 portions and shaped the dough into balls, which I proofed for 1 hr before baking at 425 deg F in a preheated oven. I placed several ice cubes into a metal pie pan which I put into the oven to give me a steamy baking environment.

Because I was too cheap frugal to crack an egg for the egg white glaze, I just threw some all purpose flour over the proofed balls and slashed the tops.

Remarkably, the relatively flat proofed dough balls rose magnificently.

The bottoms of the buns were browned and firm (tapping gave me a solidly hollow sound) but the tops were still pale so I extended the baking time to 30 min (from the 20-25 min called for.)

After waiting impatiently about 20 minutes for the rolls to cool, I sliced one open. The crust was, as desired, very hard and crunchy, the texture was chewy and the taste was good. The crumb was fairly open so I’m guessing the hydration level was about 60%.

The roll was delicious on its own or dipped into extra virgin oil dressed with freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt.

The 2nd half of the dough was pulled out of the refrigerator the next day and allowed to come to room temperature … about 2 hrs. At this point, I shaped the dough into 4 rolls and let them proof for 2 hrs before baking. This time, in hopes of a nicer coloured external crust, I DID use an egg white glaze.

The crust wasn’t nearly as crunchy as the earlier bake but the texture and taste was similar. The colour was beautiful after 25 min of baking.


16 thoughts on “Hard, Crusty Rolls made with Sourdough Starter

    1. I’m flattered to hear that though there are so many great bread baking websites out there, I’d go find one (King Arthur’s Flour) for the basics as my own posts are rather sparse in information. 🙂


  1. Wow. I love this! Crusty bread is so delicious, especially with some dipper like what you used 🙂 My dad HATES sourdough but he is seriously missing out. It’s one of my favourite breads!

    1. I’m not that much a of a sourdough but I invested a lot of time in this starter so I’m trying to make myself appreciate it more. I preferred the 2nd version/technique of the making the rolls even if it wasn’t as hard and crusty. It also reheated decently while the first remained drier than I liked.

  2. They look gorgeous! I’d eat both types. We need to dip our bread more. It’s probably healthier than using butter.

  3. The rolls are beautiful Maria, I just love them! When my Mom baked bread when I was a kid (never as light and textural as your buns) we could never wait for the cooling period, even though Mom said we would get at tummy ache…who cares we would think…they are fresh bread and butter!

    1. Thank you. I know what you mean about being impatient for the bread to get cool enough to cut into. Like with meat, there’s something similar to a carry-over cooking time but it has more to do with allowing for the evaporation of the extra moisture or you end up with a gummy texture inside. But it’s hard to resist. 🙂

      I like baking buns better cause they cool off faster and then you can devour them.

  4. Do you add the 1/4 teaspoon of yeast with the 3 1/2 cups of flour or you stay just with the starter and no yeast . I want to try this recipe very soon. Thanks !

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