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Bolillos - Mexican Oval Rolls


A bolillo is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico, where it originates, and Central America.
It is shaped in an oval, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside. It is the main ingredient for tortas (sandwich). Making these isn’t very difficult, at all. This is the first time I’ve made them, and certainly not the last. We loved them with a chicken mole recipe (coming soon on my blog).

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  • 1 package (1/4 ounce or 7 g) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups ) warm water (105 to 115°F
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon ) lard or vegetable shortening,melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/4 to 4 cups bread flour*
  • 3 Tbsp. Easy Roll Dough Improver (buy online with King Artur Flour--optional)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


Preparation time 60mins
Cooking time 120mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Equipment needed/recommended:
The Dough Improver is a product that I buy from King Arthur Flour. I find that it really helps to improve the texture of my bread rolls, but this is not necessary for this recipe.
I also recommend a higher gluten flour and I use King Arthur Unbleached Flour
Parchment paper is helpful
Baking sheets
Cooling rack
pastry brush
I use a Kitchen Aid Stand-Mixer with a dough hook. You can do this with a bread machine, except for shaping the rolls, or mix and knead this by hand.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in large mixer bowl, add the honey; stir to mix. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add the melted and cooled and salt into yeast mixture; add 2 1/2 cups flour. Mix at low speed; then beat at medium speed until very elastic, about 5 minutes. Gradually stir in as much of the remaining flour needed to make soft dough, 1/2 to 1 cup. NOTE: I added a tablespoon at a time, and used about 8 more tablespoons. You want the dough to come together enough that it“cleans”the bowl as the dough hook kneads it (5-8 minutes). If you are using your hands, add just enough flour to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a greased bowl; turn dough over to grease the top. Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled—about an hour. Likewise, I turn on my oven toWARMfor 3 minutes, then turn it off.

Punch down dough (actually, I gently press it down); knead briefly on floured surface. Let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 6-8 equal pieces; roll each piece into ball on floured sur­face with palm of hand. Starting at center and work­ing toward opposite ends, roll each ball on floured surface with the palms of hands into oval tapered at both ends—about 5-6”long.

Place, evenly spaced, on 2 parchment paper covered baking sheets (or greased); let rise, loosely covered, until almost doubled, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F.

Mix cold water and cornstarch in small sauce­pan. Heat over high heat, stirring constantly, to boiling; boil until thickened and clear, about 2 minutes.

Brush risen rolls with warm cornstarch mixture. Slash each roll lengthwise with razor blade or sharp, thin knife to 1/2 inch from each end, cutting about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake until rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 min­utes. Remove from baking sheets; cool on wire racks.

Depending on the size, this recipe makes between 6-8 rolls

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