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Recipe for Bolillos

Bolillos are a plain, crisp, white roll that you can use to make sandwiches or to eat with butter and jam at breakfast. They’re a delight to have in the house, but if you don’t have the time, a good substitute is a small, crisp French roll or a light sourdough roll.

Always pull out the doughy filling of these rolls with your fingers before making tortas.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Jevtic]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Jevtic

Preparation time: 25 minutes mixing, plus 30 minutes sitting and 1 hour and 30 minutes rising

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Yield: Twelve 6-inch rolls

2 cups lukewarm water

Two 1⁄4-ounce packages dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening

7 cups flour plus flour for coating work surface

1 tablespoon salt

1⁄2 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil for coating the bowl

1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 1⁄2 cup water for brushing

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast.

    Add the shortening and 2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. Stir the salt into the milk and add to the flour mixture. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 5 cups of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

    Switch to the dough hook and knead at low speed for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides of the dough. Cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  4. Punch down the dough and briefly knead on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 portions.

    Roll each portion into a ball, or shape into a flat oval and pinch the ends. Place the balls on baking sheets with 2 inches between each, cover with a damp towel, and let rise, about 30 minutes, or until the dough holds a fingerprint when poked.

  5. Brush the salt water over the rolls and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown. Cool and serve, or wrap well and freeze.

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