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

    1. 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!

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

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

  3. 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?

    1. 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!

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

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

  5. […] 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 […]

  6. These turned out great! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. So glad they turned out great! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Just trying to figure out how “tacky/sticky” the dough should be when stretching it. This seems to be more so than I remember from doing sourdough a long time ago. (Have it sticking to my fingers while stretching.)

    Also, have you tried “flavoring” the dough? In the past I would “cheat” and chop up a clove of garlic, or maybe a sweet onion (1/4 cup), or grab other seasonings that sounded good, put a little extra water in a small bowl, line it with a coffee filter, add in the seasoning and let it stand for a day or two before removing the filter, and the seasoning, and using the water when mixing the dough. Takes a little practice but it can provide some great equal and subtle flavors throughout the bread.

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading! To answer your first question, I like it to stick slightly to my fingers (like damp Play-Doh), but not so much so that the dough tears in huge clumps. I know that the feel can differ slightly based on the brand of flour you use. As for your technique for flavoring the dough, it sounds awesome! I’ll have to try that next time! Thanks!

  8. Dr. Chelsea Koziatek

    If I want to shape them into hamburger buns, will I still only make 4?

    1. Hi! Thanks for visiting! You can divide the dough into 6 to 8 parts for nice sized hamburger buns. Let me know how they turn out!

  9. […] since I made sourdough sub rolls. I got inspired to make some more after seeing some of you take my original recipe and run with it! I love seeing other peoples’ work; you guys have some really good stuff out […]

  10. Hi Chris, after mixing the day one ingredients with what I think is a strong starter and two days in the refrigerator I have no bubbles. Do I have to toss it out or can I add more starter to activate it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Bret! Thanks for reading! In my experience, if my starter is slow to rise, I will see bubbles by day 3 or 4 if I kept it in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can also keep your “Day One” ingredients on the counter for 4 to 8 hours so that it can expand under warmer conditions. Depending on where you live, cold winter air can make it difficult for your natural yeast to rise in general. You should have success getting bubbles if you incorporate more vigorous starter to the “Day One” ingredients (no more than a few tablespoons for this recipe), but if there is no rise after 4 days, I would start over. Sometimes sourdough can be finicky since there are so many variables for why it doesn’t rise, so always try again if it doesn’t work out. Good luck!

  11. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for including ingredient weights! Drives me crazy when I see recipes for baked goods using only ingredient volume.

    1. Your welcome! I prefer weighing ingredients too, but I thought it would be fair to include both. Thank you for reading! Let me know how your bread turns out!

  12. Christine, my Alchemist Heroine!!! These were so delicious, well worth the time it took to make them. I left the levain in the fridge 2 days, then I started the dough at about 8am & pulled the finished rolls out of the oven at about 7:15pm. My dough was really wet & sticky so I added a little extra flour each stretch & fold. I let them rest 30 mins each time. I used 1 tbsp wheat germ & 1 tbsp oatmeal for the grains in the dough. The final rise of finished rolls took about 2 hrs. with the proof setting on my oven. Next time I will double the recipe for some extras in the freezer. I made 6 round rolls about 160gms each. Next time I will make 8 round rolls about 120 gms each because they were huge. Also, after they were done & cooled on a rack for about 1/2 hour, I put them in a lidded container to soften up the crust. YUMMY!!! So good! Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I will be making these always!

    1. Hi Sky! I’m so glad they turned out delicious for you! Thank you for trying them out!

  13. I am really excited to try this recipe, but I am wondering if I could put cheese and herbs on it for my husband’s lunches. He loves the subway ones but I am trying to bake more than buy lol any tips?

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for reading! You absolutely can use herbs and cheese! I recommend using Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

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