These simple rolls are lightly crusty and pale brown on the outside and nicely soft within. Along with another type of roll, telera, bolillos are the go-to choice for tortas (sandwiches) in Mexico. Our thanks to Pati Jinich of PBS’ Pati’s Mexican Table for sharing this recipe with us.
Mix and then knead all of the ingredients (by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle) to make a smooth, elastic dough.
Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide it into eight pieces (about 85g each).
Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Lightly spray or brush them with water, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
Shape the balls of dough into chubby, slightly tapered oval rolls about 6” long. Place the shaped bolillos on the prepared baking sheet.
Lightly spray or brush the bolillos with water, cover, and let them rise until puffy, about 30 to 45 minutes.
When ready to bake, spray or brush the bolillos with water one more time. Use a sharp knife or lame to score the bread with one long slash, about 1/4" deep, from end to end. The bread may deflate a bit; that’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.
Bake the bolillos until golden, about 20 to 22 minutes.
Remove the rolls from the oven and cool on a rack.
Store rolls, securely wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
Tips from our Bakers
Why does the recipe call for you to brush or spray the dough with water periodically during the shaping and rising process? This “moisturizing” is common practice in Mexico, employed to prevent the dough from drying out.