We never meant for our egg sandwiches to become famous. In fact, for the first seven or so years we were open, we only offered them on Sundays in a limited amount and on a first-come, first-served basis. The original Flour is just a short walk from one of Boston’s classic diners,Mike’s City Diner, which serves a killer egg sandwich along with its characteristic sassy attitude. We figured our customers would come to us for pastries and head to Mike’s if they wanted a more substantial eggy breakfast.
Since our kitchen isn’t really set up for a dinerstyle egg sandwich, with eggs cracked into a skillet and fried to order, we had to come up with a way to precook the eggs so they could simply be reheated and assembled quickly to order by the counter staff. We tried to bake the eggs ahead of time, but they turned rubbery as soon as they were chilled. So we brought in our pastry knowledge that fat in this case, half-and half keeps eggs tender and soft. Thus our egg soufflé was born. We bake the eggs in advance and then reheat them with cheese, meat, and tomato to order. Our homemade focaccia roll is slathered with dijonnaise, a mix of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise that we dub our (not any longer) “secret sauce.” These egg sandwiches have become so beloved that now we offer them seven days a week all day long, and some customers only know us as the Egg Sandwich Place.
- Yield: 4 Sandwiches
- Small handful of cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet
- ½ batch Flour Focaccia dough, or 1 lb (455 g) store-bought pizza dough
- Small handful of all-purpose flour for sprinkling on the rolls
- 9 large eggs
- ¾ cup (180 ml) half-and-half
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
- 4 slices good-quality ham, or 8 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cooked in the oven until barely crisp
- ¼ cup (60 ml) good-quality mayonnaise
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
- 2 cups (40 g) mesclun greens or other mild lettuce
- 1 ripe tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
- Sprinkle the baking sheet liberally with the cornmeal. Set aside.
- Shape the dough into a 4-in/10-cm square, then divide the square into four equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by stretching it flat on a work surface and then bringing the edges inward to meet in the center. Turn the dough piece over and keep tucking the edges of the dough underneath until you have a small ball with a taut surface. Place the dough ball on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining three dough pieces. Sprinkle the dough balls with some of the flour, lightly cover them with plastic wrap or a lint-free cloth, and place them in a warm area (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C is ideal) for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and is soft and wobbly.
- About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven. Coat the bottom and sides of the cake pan with nonstick spray or liberally coat the bottom and sides with vegetable oil.
- Uncover the dough balls. Sprinkle them with the remaining flour, and then slap each ball flat with the palm of your hand to deflate it. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the half-and-half and salt until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared cake pan.
- Place the cake pan in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan on the center oven rack. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. This water bath will ensure that the egg soufflé will cook slowly and evenly. Drape a piece of aluminum foil over the cake pan or place a baking sheet directly on top of it, then carefully slide in the oven rack and close the oven door. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the foil or baking sheet and sprinkle the pepper and thyme evenly over the top. Cover again and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer, or until the center of the egg mixture is just barely set and no longer wiggles when you jiggle the pan.
- Remove both pans from the oven, and carefully remove the cake pan holding the eggs from the water bath. Leave the oven on. Let the eggs cool and set in the pan for about 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Cut the eggs into four equal portions. Using a spatula, carefully remove the egg patties from the cake pan. (Egg patties may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.) Place the egg patties on the baking sheet and top each patty with 1 slice of the Cheddar and 1 slice of the ham or 2 strips of bacon. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and mustard and stir until blended. Split each cooled roll in half horizontally, and spread the mayo-mustard mixture evenly on both cut sides of each roll. Divide the mesclun equally among the roll bottoms. Remove the egg patties from the oven, place a patty on top of the greens, then top each with 1 tomato slice. Close each sandwich with a roll top and press down to smush everything together. Serve immediately.