Alternative title for this post is Working Man’s Bolillos. Because the working person ain’t got time to sit around and watch bolillo dough rise.
I’ve fiddled around with traditional bolillo recipes in the past but always found the effort-to-reward ratio a bit skewed, with lengthy rise times leaving you feeling bolilloed after an all-day affair.
But recently I came across a turbo powered hamburger bun recipe on Taste of Home and I’ve adapted it to re-shift the bolillo effort-to-reward ratio back in my favor. In other words, you don’t have to sit around and wait for the dough to rise because you are tripling the yeast amount. Yes, tripling!
Fast and Easy Bolillos
A close relative to the French baguette, the bolillo is the bread of choice for tortas (sandwiches) in Mexico and you’ll find these oblong shaped delights on just about every street corner across the country. The term bolillo may sound exotic, but the ingredient list will look surprisingly familiar to you. It is bread after all, and whereas a traditional bolillo might be made using lard, we are using a basic canola oil with equally good results.
I’ve lowered the sugar and increased the salt to suit my palate, but the core of the Taste of Home recipe remains, including the time-saving yeast bump. Two teaspoons of yeast would be a typical amount for 3 cups of flour, and we are using a full 2 Tablespoons. Sound crazy? Don’t worry, they don’t taste yeasty at all and they just might convert you over to homemade bread for life.
Start by adding 2 Tablespoons of yeast to 1.25 cups of warm water. Add 3 Tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup oil. Let this mixture sit for 5 -10 minutes. (Here’s an interesting tidbit on how proofing yeast became customary.)
Add 3.75 cups of flour, 1.5 teaspoons of salt, and 1 egg. Mix as much as you can with a spoon and then plop the mixture onto a work surface.
Knead until you have a smooth mound of dough. If the dough is sticking to your hands add additional flour.
Don’t let it rise! Divide into 8 pieces and roll the pieces into a ball.
To create the traditional bolillo shape, flatten one of the dough balls into an oval-shaped disk, pull the top quarter towards you, and seal.
Now pull that part towards you, seal, and continue until you end up with a tube of dough.
Give it a quick roll while putting pressure on the outer edges with your hands and you’ll get tapered ends that give bolillos their distinctive shape.
Let these rise for 10-30 minutes, depending on how patient you’re feeling. Letting them rise a bit longer will slightly reduce the density. I lasted about 20 minutes and here’s how they looked:
That’s the tripled yeast in action!
Your bolillos are self-conscious and most comfortable blending in with all the other bolillos. This means a quarter-inch slit lengthwise before baking will produce the traditional bolillo look.
Bake at 425F for 8-12 minutes. This batch was in for about 11 minutes.
And note how they increased their vertical while in the oven.
Let these cool on the counter for a few minutes and then dig in. They are good enough to be eaten on their own with some butter, and of course they are the perfect choice for some lunchtime tortas.
One other thing I looked into while making these was the cost of yeast. If, like me, you typically buy these 3-packs of yeast then it might be worth looking into a bulk buy.
Each of these individual packs will have a little over two teaspoons of yeast. To get two Tablespoons of yeast you’ll need to use all three of these packs, for about $2-3.
The most popular yeast on Amazon costs $8/pound and you’ll get approximately 30 Tablespoons of yeast! That is a significant savings if you make bread regularly. I don’t claim to buy yeast by the pound and can’t comment on the brands to seek out, but it seems kinda smart 🙂
I hope you enjoy these bolillos, let me know if you have any questions.
Fast and Easy Bolillos
- 3.75 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons yeast
- 1.25 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- Add 2 Tablespoons of yeast to 1.25 cups of warm water. Add 3 Tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup oil. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Add 3.75 cups flour, 1.5 teaspoons salt, and 1 egg. Mix as much as you can with a spoon and then plop onto a work surface. Knead with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough. Add additional flour if it's sticking to your hands.
- Divide into eight equal parts. Roll into balls.
- Flatten into oval shaped disks. Pull 1/4 of the disk towards you and seal. Now pull that part towards you and seal again. Continue until you have a tube of dough. Give a quick roll while putting pressure on the ends to get the traditional bolillo shape.
- Cover and let rise for 10-30 minutes. (I waited 20 minutes). You can optionally add a lengthwise 1/4 inch deep slit on the bolillos just before baking.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes at 425F. (This batch baked for 11 minutes).
- Let cool on counter and serve immediately.