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Bolillos (Mexican Crusty Rolls)

42 comments /
I am so fortunate to have several amazing Mexican Panaderias in town...all in pretty close vicinity to my  house, actually.  My nose is always blocks ahead of me as I near the bakery...zeroing in on two things...the Conchas and the Bolillos.  I swear I could live on them.  Since I have such a fabulous selection so close to my fingertips, I usually take the easy way out and simply buy my favorite fresh-baked Mexican breads.  Plus, I'm supporting local business...so I can't say I necessarily feel bad about that fact.  But occasionally...I want to try it on my own...just to see if I can make it.  You know.  If need be.  If one day I wake up and the streets are deserted and no tell-tale signs of the early bird bakers are lingering on the air.  It started a while back when I decided to go ahead and make Conchas for the first time.  dios mio...muy rico.  I actually get requests for them all of the time.  Many of those originating in my own house.  But many from beyond our doors, as well.

  I figured it was time to venture into my second favorite...the Bolillo.  Basically it is a large bun or roll that is tapered at the ends.  The version I find in the panaderia is a bigger, softer version than I've made here.  That will be my next venture...because that is my favorite type of bolillo.  It makes such amazing torta bread.  That being said, the version I've made today includes cornmeal, which adds a bit of crunch...and it's a bit smaller.  Perhaps better for eating alongside your meal.  As opposed to putting your meal inside of it.  I found a recipe that I really wanted to try...but wound up decreasing the flour by two whole cups from how it was written.  This could be due to the fact that it is written in cups as opposed to weight.  I measure by the scoop and level method.  In hindsight, I totally should have weighed it as I went along, but... next time.  I wrote the recipe how I made it.  If you feel like you need to add more flour (if dough seems too sticky), then by all means, do so!
Bolillos
Mexican Crusty Rolls
makes: 12-16 rolls

dough:
1 Tbs. sugar
14 g. (½ oz.) active dry yeast
2½ c. warm water
½ c. olive oil
1 Tbs. fine sea salt
~5 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. masa harina
½ c. white cornmeal

wash:
1 tsp. fine sea salt
¼ c. warm water

extra:
white cornmeal, as needed

Place ½ cup of warm water in a large bowl.  Sprinkle in sugar and yeast.  Stir and let mixture sit until it becomes a bit foamy, ~5 mins.  Once mixture is ready, add remaining warm water, oil, salt, 2 cups of flour and stir together with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the masa harina and white cornmeal, then gradually add the last 3 cups of flour.  You may need to switch to your hands if the spoon no longer does the job.  Turn dough out onto a work surface (add a bit more flour if it seems sticky) and knead until dough is firm, resilient, and smooth, ~4-5 minutes. 

Oil a large bowl and turn ball of dough in it so that all sides are covered with a thin film of oil.  Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm spot in the kitchen until doubled in size, ~1 hour.
Lightly flour your work surface again and turn dough out of bowl.  Knead for 2 minutes.  Depending on if you'd like larger or smaller buns, divide your dough into 3 or 4 equal portions (to make 12 or 16 bolillos) and then cover all but one portion.  Divide the piece of dough you have left into 4 equal pieces.  Form each dough into a roll shape, then flatten into an oval.  Fold each oval into thirds (like a letter), then pinch ends together to form a spindle shape.  Place each piece of formed dough, seam side down, onto a sheet tray lined with parchment or a silpat and sprinkled with extra cornmeal.  Repeat process.
Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for ~30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375° F during last 15 minutes of rising time.  

Combine warm water and salt for the wash and lightly brush over risen dough.  Slash the side of the dough with a sharp knife, ~¼" deep.  Lightly pinch the end of the rolls again.
Bake for ~25 minutes or until rolls are a pale golden color and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove them to a wire rack to cool.
Cornmeal is not always added to bolillos, but I like this version almost as much as the version without it.  It atually adds a nice bit of texture...almost a crunch...when you bite into the bread.  Serve alongside your meal or cut and use as the bread for a Torta or Pambaso...or hollow out and make a Mollete...you decide your favorite way of enjoying them!

This post is linked to:
*I am hosting this month's Bread Baking Day...the theme is "CORN"y Breads!
BBD36 BYOB
* Yeastspotting!
MakeItWithMondays

42 comments

  1. These are actually a favorite of mine. They look perfect! I like the addition of cornmeal and a bit of crunch to them...Wonderful :)

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  2. You probably remember me and bread LOL. Those look gorgeous!

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  3. Interesting. I've never even heard of such a thing!

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  4. Love the addition of cornmeal and the fact of using the white kind. Never heard of this Mexican pastry!

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  5. Prefect looking rolls, would love to have with nutella spread..

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  6. Ooohh did you say crusty?? I love crusty bread with butter and soup!

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  7. Wow! You did a great job witht he bolillos. Will try your version on baking day.

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  8. Love this Heather! I've tried bolillos before and ended up with blah! I'm definitely going to try your version.. so excited!!!

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  9. Yum - they look great! Could I made hamburger rolls out of this, or do they have to be batard shaped?

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  10. I love Bolillos! Thanks for the recipe :). Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  11. Hello, I included this great post in my Wednesday and wanderings, it is paired with some great soup! Thank you.

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  12. Oh, lovely! The bread looks so crusty and warm.

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  13. Mmmmm! Your bolillos look amazing. I'm not even finished with my coffee and I'm hungry something hot out of the oven. We've got a Mexican Bakery not too far from here and I know what you mean....absolute heaven!

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  14. Beautiful job on these. They look fabulous!

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  15. Can you believe I first tried these in Cancun many years ago at WalMart. They had a wonderful bakery there with all manner of freshly baked bread!!!A WalMart like no other.

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  16. As always your bread looks grand. Wish I had the talent,....but you know what blew me away? You can WALK to a bakery. Oh man...how I would love that pleasure!!!

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  17. Beautiful! I'd probably like the cornmeal too.

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  18. OMG. Those look incredible. I seriously need one now.

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  19. Ciao ! I've never heard of these before but the photos and your description made me WANT them !!!

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  20. Que fantastica receta, me encanta. Me anoto esto.

    Saludos

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  21. These rolls are delicious and perfect love it. I wish i could taste them.

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  22. I have to say, one thing I find NYC lacking in is really good Mexican grocers. I so want these in my life to make tortas with!

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  23. So fluffy, with the perfect crust! I'd love one slathered with butter!

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  24. I'm with you on buying them from your local markets. It's nice to support small businesses like that. But....it's good to know that you can make both bolillos and conchas yourself. You know....just in case. They look great!

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  25. i love everything about these. from it's cute shape, to it's crusty shell, to it's soft delicious interior. wonderful!

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  26. Can i ever make this !! I doubt .. but i will try .. nothing taste better than fresh bread with some hot soup :)

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  27. wow amazing bread :-) you a talent in the kitchen

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  28. Oh I can smell these through the computer! I've lived a shelter life apparently because I've never heard of these. Oh but I'll be trying them soon!
    Thanks for the recipe
    Vickie

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  29. Such a pretty shape! Looks delicious too.

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  30. Beautiful rolls. I envision them filled with a good pulled pork. ;-)

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  31. Gorgeous! I can imagine dipping these into a nice pozole.

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  32. Yum...these would go great with your lentil soup! :)

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  33. These turned out perfect! Nice work!

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  34. Another "must-try" recipe! I'm loving your blog!

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  35. Beautiful job Heather. I've got a couple of Mexican bakeries near my work. I have two torta rolls in the freezer as we speak...they don't speak English, so I really don't know what the rest of the stuff is. I'll have to test some more things next time I'm in.

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  36. Lovely bolillos! I would like to have one or two right now for breakfast!

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  37. Oh Heather, love the look of these Bolillos - I have never heard of these before, but they look wonderful. I would love a couple of these with a big bowl of heart-warming soup - I think that would be heaven.

    Thanks so much for sharing these at Make it with ... Mondays, challenge cornmeal.

    Sue :-)

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  38. WENT THRU 10 DIFFERENT RECIPES FOR HUGE SALVADORIAN BOLILLO SANDWICHES. FINALLY MADE UP MY OWN HUGE FLUFFY BOLILLO ROLLS, BUT IT IS A ROLL RECIPE. SIMILAR TO YOURS.  MUST TRY YOURS NEXT. WILL ADVISE ON RESULTS. LOVE,LOVE TO BAKE BREADS.                   THANKS, SPICEY3

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  39. Can I ask what is it that you are baking them on? Looks like a mesh screen material. Is that helpful when baking breads?

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  40. That is a silpat or a silicon baking mat. I find it helpful when baking MANY things...but parchment paper works just as well.

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