Words like Authentic, Original and Traditional are words I try to avoid when describing my recipes. In the past, I have been guilty of using these words. I believe with my whole heart that our family recipes are sacred and special to each of us. In our eyes, no one can prepare mom’s red rice or frijoles a la charra. That’s just the way it is. My family’s recipes as well as recipes I develop on my own, I would call them authentic, original and traditional. But they are only authentic, original and traditional to me. I could never label them as such and share them with those labels.
A couple of years back, I came across a recipe for “Mexican” Bolillos and could not wait to try it out. I am not going to say it was the easiest of recipes, at first. But over the past three years I have prepared the recipe several times. Thanks to social media, there are many tutorial food videos from Mexico that show different versions on the recipe. I found a method that worked best for me and I liked it. My parents were not bakers, but they certainly were awesome Mexican cooks in my eyes. No recipe is set in stone and that’s what makes cooking fun for me. Make the recipe your own and enjoy your time in the kitchen. The original recipe was adapted from a special issue of Better Homes and Gardens of all places. Now my question would be, where did it originate from??? This is my journey.
4 cups of flour, plus more for dusting
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water or milk
1. In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of flour,yeast, sugar, and salt, add warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the flour as you can.
2.Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface. Cover and let rise, in a warm space, for one hour.
3. Punch down after 1 hour.Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, shape into oval shapes, pulling and twisting slightly. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to make a cut about 1/4 inch deep along the center of each roll. In a small bowl, combine the egg white and water. Brush the tops and sides of the rolls. Cover with wax paper and a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Here is another great tips I learned for baking breads. Place a baking dish on the bottom rack of oven while it is preheating. Right before baking the bread, fill hot baking dish with 1 cup of room temperature water. This will create steam and also result in a crisp exterior on the bread. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for another 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Rolls can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer bag. This recipe is perfect for making Mexican tortas or for that big bowl of menudo on Sunday morning!
Tips: To create the longer, birote-style roll, take the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and using the palm of your hand, press it out to extend. You are looking for a 6 inch circle. Fold it over like a taco and again using the palm of your hand, press to spread out slightly. Fold again towards seam and twist and extend the ends for that signature shape. Brush with egg wash and let rise according to directions.