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Craving a crusty bread roll with a soft, fluffy interior? These Mexican bolillos are just what you're looking for. They are made with basic ingredients, and smell amazing as they bake!
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Fortunately, bolillos are made from just a few basic pantry ingredients. If you don't have lard, feel free to substitute with vegetable shortening or even olive oil.
- Bread Flour: you'll get the highest rise and fluffiest texture by using bread flour. All-purpose flour has a lower protein content and will not yield the same result.
- Yeast: fast-action or instant yeast is the easiest kind to use, because you don't need to bloom it in warm water and sugar before using.
- Salt: this is an important ingredient in bread, as it adds flavor and prevents the yeast from working too quickly.
- Lard: this is the traditional fat used in bolillos. It makes the bread soft and moist.
- Sugar: a hint of sugar in bread dough doesn't make it sweet, but simply softens the texture.
- Water: one of the key ingredients in bread. Using warm water (115 F) jump starts the yeasts' growth.
What are bolillos?
They are Mexican bread rolls also known as pan francés (French bread). French bakers who immigrated to Mexico in the 1800s heavily influenced the native bakers, and bolillos evolved as a variation of the traditional French baguette.
What are bolillos used for?
These Mexican rolls are commonly used for tortas, which are sandwiches made from mashed black beans, meat, avocado, and other toppings. You can also enjoy bolillos as dinner rolls with butter.
How do you pronounce bolillo?
The name is pronounced as bow-LEE-yoh.
How many calories are in a bolillo?
One roll is 244 calories and contains 40.1g of carbs and 1.5g of fiber. For the full nutrition facts, scroll to the bottom of the recipe card.
Are they healthy?
Like most breads, they are healthy in moderation. If you're trying to eat healthier, you can always substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat flour. Just realize that the texture, rise, and taste will be quite different if you use whole wheat flour.
Are they vegan?
My recipe is not vegan, because it contains lard. If you'd like to make a vegan version, substitute the lard with vegetable shortening or oil.
What's the difference between bolillos and teleras?
Many people use the same dough recipe for bolillos and teleras, but they are not the same bread. The key difference is in the shape. Teleras have a shell-like appearance made by two indentations in the dough, while bolillos are shaped like a football.
The other main difference is that bolillos have a thin, crispy crust, unlike teleras.
Can you freeze bolillos?
Yes, you absolutely can! Let the baked rolls cool completely on a wire rack, then seal them inside of a zip-top freezer bag. They'll keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients. You'll need flour, yeast, salt, sugar, lard, and water.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir in each one, making sure that the salt doesn't touch the yeast. If it does, it can kill the yeast.
Add the sugar and lard.
Mix in the sugar and lard until the ingredients are blended.
Gradually add enough of the warm water until a slightly sticky dough has formed. Mix until all the flour is picked up from the bottom of the bowl.
Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. Check it with the windowpane test, which is stretching a lump of dough until it's translucent without it tearing. See the photo below for a visual demonstration. Here, I stretched a piece of dough thin enough to read large text through it, which is an indication that the gluten is sufficiently developed.
Shape the kneaded dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Let it rise until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and divide it into 10 equal pieces. I only have 5 pieces in this photo the other 5 pieces are on a second tray.
Roll each piece into a ball. You should have 10 rolls on two baking trays.
Gently roll each of the 10 balls with your hands, tapering the ends to create an oblong shape. Note: the other 5 balls are on a second tray.
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let them rise until they're springy to the touch, about 30 minutes. Note: you'll have two baking trays. Preheat the oven to 425 F and put a metal pan on the bottom shelf of the oven to heat up.
Just before the rolls go in the oven, cut a lengthwise slash on top of each one with a lame (affiliate) or sharp serrated knife. This controls how the rolls expand in the oven, preventing them from splitting. Bake one tray at a time. If you are concerned that the second tray will over prove because your kitchen is very hot or humid, than put it in the fridge, but make sure it's covered. Note: For this photo shoot, we didn't put the second tray in the fridge.
Bake the rolls at 425 F for 20 minutes. As soon as you put the bolillos in the oven, pour 1-2 cups of water into the metal pan, creating steam in the oven as the rolls bake. Remove the steam pan after 10 minutes of baking to allow the rolls to brown better.
Let the bolillos cool completely on a wire rack before enjoying, about 30 minutes so the bread finishes cooking inside or it will be stodgy.
- Always use bread flour for the highest rise and best texture.
- Knead thoroughly to ensure a high rise, soft interior, and crispy crust.
- Bake the rolls with a pan of water in the oven for the crispiest crust.
- Let the rolls cool completely before enjoying.
Other Delicious Mexican Breads
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Learn how to make these delicious Mexican bolillos. Each crusty white bread roll is fluffy and soft inside, making them perfect for sandwiches. This easy recipe shows you each step for making homemade bolillos.
- Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Mix in each one into the flour, keeping the salt away from the yeast.
- Mix the lard and sugar into the dough, then gradually add the warm water and mix to form a dough. You'll need just enough water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Keep stirring and crushing the dough until all the flour is picked up from the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until the dough passes the windowpane test. This means that a lump of dough can be stretched until it's translucent without tearing.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to double in size, which will take about 1 hour.
- Once it has doubled in size, punch it down and divide into 10 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy. Each one of my bolillos weighed 82g.
- Roll each piece into a ball, then gently roll it out into a log, tapering the ends to form the traditional bolillo shape. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Place the bolillos on two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover them with plastic wrap and set aside to prove at room temperature until they are springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the bolillos are proved, preheat the oven to 425 F and put a metal casserole dish on the bottom shelf of the oven.
- Once the rolls are proved, use a bread baker's lame or a sharp serrated knife to cut a slash on top of each bolillo.
- Pour about 2 cups of water into the hot metal pan, then slide one of the trays onto the top shelf. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes, removing the steam pan after 10 minutes of baking. It's best to bake the trays of bolillos separately for a more even bake.
- Let the bolillos cool on a wire rack for 30-45 minutes, then enjoy. Make into tortas (Mexican sandwiches) or eat them with butter as dinner rolls.
- Be sure to use bread flour and not all-purpose for the best results.
- Knead until the dough passes the windowpane test as described in the recipe instructions. This is vitally important to ensure a good texture and proper rise.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: como hacer bolillos, bolillo bread in english