Batch of the day: Top bread rolls tried and tasted

WE’RE lunching at home more these days due to the pandemic, so why not punctuate our day with some creative sandwich making.
Batch of the day: Top bread rolls tried and tasted

Bacon, cheese and cucumber sandwich.

WE’RE lunching at home more these days due to the pandemic, so why not punctuate our day with some creative sandwich making.

If children’s lunches come home uneaten, consider the possibility it’s not the fillings of sandwiches that are the problem but the bread.

Many sliced pans have little substance or flavour, and while cheap, are produced with additives, not for taste, but to feel squeezy during their long shelf life. Making our own bread, is of course, ideal. 

A brown loaf, rich in oats and seeds, is so substantial it needs nothing but a scrape of butter. And what about all that sourdough making at the start of the pandemic? Stick with it, or, having acquired a taste for it, buy from our superb local bakers.

For this survey, I looked at bread rolls. They are often nicely crusty or comfortingly soft, and we can buy top quality bread rolls and freeze a few for the end of the week. There are some excellent breads for sale at farmer's markets but this week my selection is more generally available.

To sustain us to our next meal (and avoid calorific picking in between), add a little protein – cheese, eggs, meat, fish. But don’t forget leftover roasted vegetables, canned red peppers, tuna, salmon, sardines, peanut butter. Brioche rolls have about 12% sugars — not a good habit to get into unless seen as an occasional treat.

Hassetts €2.50 for 6

Hassett's bread rolls.
Hassett's bread rolls.

The best of the soft rolls with no crusty finish, ideal for a rasher and tomato combo. Natural texture and good, yeasty flavour was particularly liked by young tasters.

Score: 8.75

Walsh’s Bakehouse Blaas 6 €1.69

Walsh's Bakehouse Blaa.
Walsh's Bakehouse Blaa.

In a pack of six, produced in Waterford, the home of the Blaa, these have a commendably low number of ingredients – flour, water, yeast, salt, with citric acid the flour treatment agent. With four days’ shelf life, they feel lighter when freshest. Soft and large, they hold fillings well and have a delicious yeasty taste. Good with sausages and chutney. A good supermarket buy. Available Aldi, Dunnes and SuperValu.

Score: 8

Pana bread rolls 80c each

Pana bread rolls.
Pana bread rolls.

Sold singly, this is a simple bread which is a good vehicle for all kinds of filling. Try with cheese and gherkins. The texture was a little heavy for tasters, but they liked the taste and crunchy crust.

Score: 7.5

ABC selection 85c €1 each

ABC breadroll collection. Picture: Denis Minihane.
ABC breadroll collection. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Naturally moreish flavours and textures of the best assortment of ciabattas, organic sourdough granary and spelt baps, are in generous sizes for hearty appetites. Each has a typical crusty finish – the crunchy ciabatta slightly favoured over the others. At home drizzle with olive oil on fresh tomatoes. For school, cheese or canned tuna with mayo is neater. From the English Market, Cork, and selected Dunnes Stores outlets. Discounts for four or more.

Score: 8.75

Lidl high fibre roll and ancient grain roll 25c each

Lidl High Fibre rolls.
Lidl High Fibre rolls.

Tasters liked the flavour and natural texture of these which are baked in-house in some outlets. Substantial, yet light enough. Try with patés and gherkins. Good price.

Score: 8

Arbutus 50c each

Arbutus bread rolls.
Arbutus bread rolls.

Good for natural taste and texture, these are a handy size for children and just enough for an adult. Tasters liked the yeasty flavour. Good crust too. Try with Hegarty’s Templegall cheese for a treat.

Score: 8.5

O’Keeffe’s Bakery crusty rolls 3 for €1.55

O'Keeffe's Bakery crusty rolls
O'Keeffe's Bakery crusty rolls

Three rolls in a bag have a soft crust. Palm oil is listed with no mention of whether or not it is from sustainable sources. There is rapeseed oil too. Fats/oils keep the crumb moist but take away slightly from the texture which was a bit heavy. However, quite flavoursome and when a taster suggested toasting a half, it was a good idea.

Score: 7.5

Dunnes Stores Cuisine de France Petits Pains 6 for €2.10

Dunnes Cuisine de France.
Dunnes Cuisine de France.

We liked the texture of these more than some of the longer-life options in supermarkets which didn’t make our final eight. These are not made from scratch in supermarkets but are finished baking there. This results in a natural crust, a slightly heavy crumb which is tasty enough and suits a good cheddar or softer farmhouse cheese with a swipe of mustard.

Score: 7

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