As our reality keeps turning stranger than fiction, we all need outlets to stay buoyant and beat feeling lonely and isolated; as an example, more people seem to have the impetus to bake at home these days. Continuing with the sandwich theme from my previous two posts, and for those lucky people who scored flour and a few envelopes of instant yeast before they disappeared from the store shelves, I am sharing a basic recipe for homemade Mexican style buns. Depending on the way they are shaped, they may be called bolillos or teleras, but the dough is the same. Bolillos are a versatile crusty bun, to eat broken up into pieces with a meal, or sliced open and topped with any delicious savoury or sweet toppings, such as beans and cheese in molletes; teleras are the original bun for tortas (Mexican sandwiches.)
Mexican Buns – Bolillos y Teleras
Ingredients (for 8 buns)
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 envelope (8g) instant active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water, approximately
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil, plus more for brushing
Quick-rise instant yeast does not need to be pre-mixed, but I always like to sprinkle on a little warm water to make sure it is still working. In the photos below, one quarter of a cup of lukewarm water and one envelope of yeast (left); yeast sprinkled on and mixed with the water (centre), and mixture bubbling after one minute (right):
Form a ring with the flour in a large bowl, and pour yeast mixture and one more cup of lukewarm water in the centre; incorporate flour gradually with a spatula (photo below, left). After about one cup of flour has been incorporated, sprinkle salt around the ring (photo below, right):
Continue incorporating flour towards the centre, and add two tablespoons of oil (photo below, left). Using hands or a spatula, bring all the flour to the centre, and incorporate with the liquids (photo below, right):
Dump the mixture on a clean working surface, and add more water, a little at a time, as needed, if the mixture is too dry (photo below, left). It should become sticky, and now it is time to knead vigorously, turning and pounding on the working surface; in the photo below, centre, the dough after five minutes of kneading, and right, after ten minutes:
I added half a cup of water, so the total water used, including 1/4 cup (with yeast) and 1 cup (at the beginning), was 1 3/4 cups; this will vary according to local weather conditions (temperature and humidity.) Once the dough is smooth, gather dough around and pinch to form a ball, and place in a greased bowl with seam facing down (photo below, left). Brush lightly with more oil, cover and let rest in a warm spot away from drafts for ten to fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper; set aside.
The dough will not double its volume in this time, but it will grow a little and will become much softer and manageable (photo below, right):
Cut the dough in half, then each piece in half and repeat, to obtain eight pieces (photo below, left). Take one piece at a time, pinching around to form a ball, then rolling on the working surface with one hand, until smooth (photo below, right):
To make bolillos: flatten one ball into a slightly oval patty, about 1 cm (0.4 inch) thick (photo below, left); fold two small triangles at the top (photo below, right):
Roll towards the front forming a cylinder (photo below, left); before finishing rolling, fold two triangles at the bottom (photo below right):
Finish forming into a tapered cylinder, rolling back and forth with extended fingers, and place on prepared baking sheet (photo below, left); brush lightly with oil, and then slit the top lengthwise along the centre of the bun with a very sharp knife (photo below, right):
To make teleras: flatten ball as before (photo below, left); place on prepared baking sheet and mark two grooves lengthwise with the handle of a wooden spoon (photo below, right):
Brush with oil.
Let buns rest in a warm spot away from drafts until they double in volume, between one and two hours, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room. In the photos below, bolillos before resting (left) and after 1 1/2 hr. (right):
In the photos below, teleras before resting (left) and after 1 1/2 hr. (centre). Note how the grooves almost disappeared due to rising of the dough; re-trace the grooves very gently again with the handle of a wooden spoon (photo below, right):
Place a shallow pan or tray with one cup of water in the oven, and pre-heat to 425°F (225°C). The water will evaporate to form steam, so carefully open the oven and place the baking sheets on two shelves (photo below, left). Allow to bake at this high temperature for ten minutes; the buns will rise and start to turn brown (photo below, right):
Lower the temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue baking for another ten minutes. Rotate the trays so the front faces the back, then check every five minutes until buns are crusty and golden brown. In the photo below, the buns after 20 minutes at the lower temperature:
Remove from the oven and transfer to cooling racks. Let them cool down for a few minutes before slicing. In the photo below, one telera and one bolillo:
In the photos below, a bolillo, whole, and a sliced one, showing the nice, fluffy crumb:
In the photos below, a telera, whole, and sliced in half lengthwise, ready to be filled for a delicious torta:
I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #433 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.