With the exception of an occasional grilled cheese or peanut butter & jelly, I've never been a sandwich person. It's mostly that none of the traditional sandwich options hold much appeal for me - I don't like deli meats, nor am I a fan of the "salads" (tuna, chicken, egg, etc.). But, as I mentioned last week, I do love a burger in the summer, which is, I guess, technically a sandwich. Shane likes his burgers on store-bought hamburger rolls; preferably buttered and grilled until golden brown. That works for me too, but last year I was looking for a slightly healthier option. I came across sandwich thins in the store, tried them, and fell in love. It was the perfect compromise between the hearty white rolls I'd been eating and no roll at all (which, for the record, was never really an option). It had never occurred to me that I might be able to make sandwich thins at home until I saw them on a few of my favorite blogs. With grill season approaching, I decided to finally try the recipe and stash the homemade thins in my freezer so I'd be all set when the time came to grill my first burger.
When it comes to flavor, these sandwich thins were spot on. The texture was perfect too - sturdy, but still tender and chewy. Mine puffed just a bit more than I'd have liked, but that was probably my fault. I didn't make the thins as large as the recipe instructed, next time I will. On the plus side, because they were a little thicker, they were easy to slice in half. Not bad for a first attempt, by the end of the summer I'll be an expert :)
The recipe does call for a few ingredients you may not have in your pantry - vital wheat gluten and wheat bran. If you didn't have the wheat gluten, you could try using additional all-purpose flour instead. I had the wheat gluten, but (on Bridget's recommendation) substituted more whole wheat flour for the wheat bran.
Homemade Sandwich Thins
as adapted from Food.com and Confections of a Foodie Bride by The Way the Cookie Crumbles
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 100 F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
rolled oats (for sprinkling on top of the sandwich thins)
Crack the egg into a 2-cup measuring cup and beat lightly with a whisk. Whisk in the water and olive oil. Add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat bran, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix briefly just to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the bowl. Once completely incorporated, continue kneading on low speed until the dough is soft and elastic, about 7-8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a small amount of flour; if it is too dry, add a little water.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Add the dough to the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. I weighed the ball of dough first and then used the scale to verify each portion was approximately the same size, but you could definitely just eyeball it. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it into a circle between your palms. Transfer to the baking sheet and, using your fingertips, press the circle into a thin round, about 5-inches in diameter. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle each thin with rolled oats. Cover each baking sheet with plastic wrap and let the thins rise just slightly while the oven preheats, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a wooden skewer to poke 9 holes in each thin. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until puffed and dry on top. Cool completely before slicing.