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Bolillos are a plain, white bun that you find all over Mexico.  They are crusty white rolls in a very specific shape - kind of like a mini submarine, fat in the middle, with "ears" on either end.  One slash on the top indicates a bolillo.  Any more slashes gives the bun a different name.  To impart taste, the best bolillos are made with a portion of dough made the day before.  You don't have to do this, of course, but if you do, your bolillos will taste better than delicious!

Ingredients - makes 10

For the predough:

75 g plain white wheat flour
40 g warm water
pinch of any kind of yeast

For the dough:

450 g plain white wheat flour
2.5 g instant/5 g dry/10 g fresh yeast
225 g water
50 g lard
10 g salt

For the glaze:

1 teaspoon corn starch dissolved in 50 g water


Day 1 - make the predough

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and cover it.  Let it rest for 12-24 hours.

Day 2 - make the dough

Measure the flour into a big bowl.  Make a well in it and sprinkle in the yeast.  Add the water and flick flour on top of the water to seal in the well.  Let it rest for 1 hour.  Add the predough, salt and lard and mix it together into a ball.  Pull the dough ball out of the bowl and on to the counter and knead well for 10 minutes.  Pop it back into the bowl and let it sit, covered for 90 minutes.

Then, pull the dough out and give it a good knead again to get all the air out.  Pop it back in the bowl, cover it and let it rise again for 90 minutes.

Shape the buns:

1.  Pull the dough gently out of the bowl on to a non floury surface and shape it into a tight sausage.  Click here to see the video on how to do this.
2.  Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and place these under a dry tea towel to rest for 15 minutes.
3.  Take a piece of dough and stretch it gently into a rough oval about 5 inches across.
4.  Take the bottom edge of the oval and fold it into the middle - don’t press down.  Take the top edge of the oval and fold it into the middle to meet the bottom edge - don’t press down.  Take the new outside edges of the dough and bring them up toward each other to meet in the middle, pinching them together - just at the edges.  The point is to not deflate the dough.
5.  With the seam facing up, place the edges of both of your hands about 1/2 cm in from both ends of the bun.  Roll the dough back and forth on the spot and press firmly to make little “ears” at either end of the bun.
6.  Place the bun seam side up on the baking tray you have lined with non stick baking parchment.  Repeat this for all the pieces of dough

Cover these with a dry tea towel and let them rest for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Before baking, make a deep cut down the whole length of every bun and brush them with the glaze.  Bake them for 15-20 minutes.  They should be a light golden brown and if you tap them on the bottom they will sound hollow when they are done.

This recipe is in The Book of Buns published in October 2013.  You can get it from Amazon.

A perfect, little bolillo A perfect, little bolillo

Like this recipe?  There are more like in in The Book of Buns that you can buy on Amazon Like this recipe? There are more like in in The Book of Buns that you can buy on Amazon

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