The Bread You Need For The Perfect Roast Beef Sandwich

How would you define a "perfect" roast beef sandwich? For many, it's a towering stack of tender, perfectly seasoned roast beef cuts piled so high that the bread slices look like they could barely hold the sandwich together. That's all fine and tasty! But in the opinions of some, that's still a bit incomplete. A sandwich — a popular on-the-go item — really goes from great to perfect when it's not only indulging but also convenient to eat. And that means besides having a giant stack of beef, the sandwich also has to hold the filling neatly inside as you're tucking in.

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So, while roasting the beef nicely is one thing, you'll need to pick the right kind of bread, too. Soft loaves like the supermarket-standard white bread or brioche are out. Their softness means they'll tear apart as soon as you start stacking the beef a little bit too high. Instead, you need to go for sturdier kinds of bread. Fortunately, you have tons of options here, and favorite options range from chewy rolls to crusty sourdoughs. Here are a couple of things to consider while you're browsing for the perfect bread loaf to go with your roast beef.

What Makes a Type of Bread Great for Roast Beef

Firmness is the key here. If you like your sandwich big and wholesome, you'll probably want something chewy or that has a nice crust. If you like using bread rolls, a hard roll will be best. Kaiser rolls (different from hard rolls) are popular, if you like pillowy breads. Alternatively, if you like something loaf-style, rye bread with its crunchy crust will do the trick. Once lightly toasted, breads like these will have just the right texture to hold the roast beef's weight without buckling or tearing.

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Taste is another important factor. After three hours of prepping and slow-roasting the beef, you'll probably want the beef to be the main attraction of the sandwich and not the bread. That's why it's best to steer clear of loaves with really strong and distinctive flavors like egg-enriched challah or brioche. Any kind of fruity bread (pumpkin, banana bread) is also out of the question. Instead, if you like your bread with a bit of a taste to it, go for sourdough bread. Their mild tang can complement the savory beef nicely without overwhelming the savory factor of the beef.

Try Artisanal Bread for a Total Upgrade

If there's an artisanal bakery near you, give them a visit. Though a bit pricier, specialty breads that are fresh out of the oven can bring your roast beef sandwich to a whole new level. Most of bakeries will also sell the usual suspects above, but it's also great to look out for crusty French or Italian sandwich breads.

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A crispy baguette, for instance, can make for an excellent carrier for your roast beef if you like your sandwich with a little bit of texture to it. Simply slice into the loaf and stuff it Subway-style with your juicy beef, cheese, and toppings and you'll have something similar to a Vietnamese bánh mì ready to go.

Italian ciabatta bread can also work beautifully alongside roast beef. The crust will give you a nice crunch when you bite down on it, then give way to an airy, pillowy interior with plenty of air bubbles. These bubbles can help you soak up the melted cheese or dipping sauce, while the firm crust on the outside will keep the cheese and sauce from soaking through to your fingers. Ultimately, the bread for the "perfect" roast beef sandwich will come down to your personal preference. Give each of the above a shot and see which one you vibe with the most — there's really no wrong answer.

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