Sourdough Harvest Sub Rolls

Sourdough Harvest Sub Rolls A

simplified to use flour, salt, and water, … a mixture of seeds and everything seasoning…

My sourdough starter Winnie just turned 2 years old! As an ode to keeping it alive better than I’ve kept my plants alive, I’ve begun experimenting with more flavors now that I have the gist of the sourdough baking process down.

I currently work at a commercial bakery from which we supply the sub rolls for the deli adjacent to us. The daily transactions inspired me to create these sourdough harvest sub rolls based on their popular multigrain rolls.

The bread is good, but like most commercial bakeries in the United States, the bread has been tampered with, containing the following ingredients:

“water, enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), whole wheat flour, sugar, millet, rye flour, pearled barley, sunflower seeds, yellow corn meal, oats, salt, yeast, potato starch, sorbitan, monostearate, ascorbic acid, sesame seeds, dry molasses (molasses, maltodextrin), vital wheat gluten, sodium stearoyl lactylate, cry malt (malted barley, wheat flour, dextrose), fumeric acid, enzymes, ascorbic acid, coating azodicarbonamide (cottonseed oil, soy lecithin), azodicarbonamide, cornmeal, oats.”

What a mouthful since bread should be as simple as flour, water, salt, and maybe yeast! Plus, there’s a lot of sugar coming from the maltodextrin and dextrose.

We can do our bread much better! This version has been simplified to use flour, salt, and water, as well as a mixture of seeds and everything seasoning.

I used King Arthur’s brand of Harvest Grains, but feel free to check your local supermarket’s bulk department to save money and get small servings of your favorite seeds and grains. The fun is mixing whatever you like into the sub rolls!

The end results are super flavorful submarine rolls with a tantalizing layer of roasted onions, salty goodness, and buttery nuttiness. They really kick your sandwiches up a notch.

Or, you can forgo the sub rolls and shape the dough into a loaf of bread or a baguette; the possibilities are endless.

Sourdough Harvest Sub Rolls with Miso Tuna
Miso Tuna Sub using the rolls!

This bread makes a mean roast beef sandwich with pesto sauce, lettuce, tomato and mozzarella, or a tuna salad sandwich layered with miso paste, mayonnaise, melted local cheddar, lettuce, and tomato.


Course Main Course
Total Time 10 hours
Servings 4 Rolls


Tools You’ll Need:

  • Scale Recommended for accurate measurements. Reduces likelihood of mistakes and inconsistencies. Cup and tablespoon measurements have been provided, however, for your convenience.
  • Large Mixing Bowl For folding and kneading.
  • Sharp Knife or Lame For scoring the bread after it proofs; this helps the bread rise evenly, allows steam to escape, and makes the bread eye-catching.

Day One:

  • 1 Cup 150g Fed and Vigorous Starter
  • ¾ Cup 175ml Bottled Water
  • 2 Cups 200g Bread Flour

Day Two or Beyond:

  • 1 Cup 100g Bread Flour
  • 2 TSP 8g Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 TBSP 25g Harvest Grains (or a mix of sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, oats, wheat berries, and pumpkin seeds)

Bread Topping:

  • 2 TSP 10g Everything Seasoning
  • 4 TSP 20g Harvest Grains


Step One: Mix and Autolyse Levain Overnight

  1. In a large mixing bowl and with a wooden or rubber spatula, mix all of the “Day One” ingredients together until all of the flour has been incorporated and the dough is shiny. It’s okay if there are some lumps left; they will eventually go away.
  2. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it ferment in the refrigerator overnight or for up to five days. The longer the fermentation time, the richer the bread flavor and the better the rise.

Step Two: Mix the Final Dough

  1. Remove the levain from the refrigerator. It should have well developed bubbles by now. Let it warm to room temperature.
  2. With a spatula, fold all of the “Day 2 and Beyond” ingredients into the batter except for the Harvest Grains. Fold until no flour remains. Let the dough rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
    Mix the Dough

Step Three: Stretch and Fold (or Pull and Fold)

  1. We’re using the “Stretch and Fold” technique to knead the dough. This makes kneading physically easier. Pull the top end of the dough up and over to the opposite end of the dough. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat this motion 2 more times. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Note: This isn’t super wet dough, so be patient while it stretches.
  3. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and fold the top end of the dough to the opposite end. Repeat this motion 2 more times. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat this motion of stretching, folding, and resting three more times until the dough loses most of its “dimples” and develops a smoother, shiny texture.
  5. Knead 1 TBSP (25g) of the toasted grains into the dough and let it rest for an additional 15 or 30 minutes.

Step Four: Shape the Dough

  1. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.
  2. Mix the remaining Harvest Grains and Everything Seasoning together in a separate mixing bowl and set it aside.
  3. Using a bench cutter or the smooth side of a large knife, divide the dough into four equal parts.
  4. On a floured surface and one dough ball at a time, pinch all ends of the dough upward, then flip the dough over. Using light tension and a rolling motion, shape the dough into a submarine shape on your counter, being careful keep the “pinched” side of the dough on the bottom.
  5. One at a time, spray or wash a thin layer of water over your sub roll and roll it in the bowl containing the seasoning.
  6. Lay the seeded sub roll onto your prepared parchment paper, pinched side down.
  7. Repeat this step for the remaining 3 rolls. Spray the tops of each roll with non-stick spray and cover them with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Step Five: Proof the Dough

  1. Let the dough rolls rise to nearly triple their size. Depending on the humidity and temperature in your house, this may take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 500ºF (260ºC). Prepare a pot of water and set it on the lower shelf of the oven to preheat alongside the oven. This will help create steam to make a crispy crust.

Step Six: Score the Dough

  1. Remove the plastic wrap. Using a serrated knife or a bread lame, score the rolls lengthwise in a ½ inch deep slash.
  2. Note: It’s okay if you skip this step. I forgot to score the rolls in the photographs, but they still came out fine without bursting in the oven.
  3. The bread will deflate slightly, but these scores will help the rolls expand as well as make the crust look attractive.

Step Seven: Bake the Rolls

  1. Quickly place the rolls into the oven and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. You know when the rolls are ready if you carefully hold them upside down and tap the bottoms. If they sound hollow, then the rolls are done. If they sound solid, bake them for an additional 5 minutes or until they sound hollow.
  3. Remove the rolls from the oven and let them rest at room temperature until cooled.


    Sourdough Harvest Sub Rolls B

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  • Brooke June 4, 2020 at 3:58 pm Reply

    What if my levain i left in the fridge overnight never got bubbly? Can i still use it? Or will it not work

    • Chris June 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm Reply

      Hi! Thanks for reading! If your levain has not bubbled, then you have to refresh your starter until it does. Weak sourdough levain will not make the bread rise; you’ll end up with flat, raw dough because there isn’t any yeast activity. I’d have to know how you typically care for your starter to give you a more accurate answer, but based on the information you gave me, it appears like you fed your starter and put it back in the fridge which slows down the fermentation process (the yeast will create carbon dioxide at a much slower rate). I would take it out of the fridge, discard half, feed it again, and allow it to expand at room temperature. Depending on how strong your starter is and how warm your kitchen is, it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours for your levain to get active. I hope this helps!

  • Brooke June 4, 2020 at 4:03 pm Reply

    My leavin i left in the fridge never got bubbly it looks more like a dough. Is it still usable?

    • Chris June 4, 2020 at 8:06 pm Reply

      I hope I understood your question correctly! Were you talking about the starter or the mixture after you used your starter?

  • Pooja Lohiya July 10, 2020 at 9:39 pm Reply

    Hi, I just started off on making these rolls. After mixing the day 1 ingredients, I have a stiff dough. Am I missing out on something? Should I increase the water quantity?

    • Chris July 10, 2020 at 10:07 pm Reply

      Hi! Thank you so much for reading and trying out the recipe! If you only mixed the “Day One” ingredients and the dough is stiff, then yes; mix in some more water. I would add a tablespoon at a time until it appears like thick pancake batter. Depending on the brand of flour you use, the thickness can differ between bakers, but the good news is that bread is pretty forgiving, so more water won’t do any harm. Let it rise again after adding the water. You should have a nice bubbly dough!

  • cjobrubaker July 11, 2020 at 6:14 pm Reply

    I love the clarity of this recipe. So many sourdough recipes are novels! Looking forward to trying this.

    • Chris July 12, 2020 at 10:38 am Reply

      Thank you! Let me know how your bread turns out! ☺️

  • July – Blogged In August 7, 2020 at 3:13 am Reply

    […] the day. Monday I thought we’d already come to this conclusion. After a Banh Mi on a handmade sourdough hoagie roll Thursday, I may never go back to store bought. Friday I noted that you can apply to vote absentee by […]

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