Monday, July 9, 2012

Portuguese style rolls

I'm not a purist, I play, futz and make up recipes.  I have become remarkably adept at making bread.  I do it every other day.  My husband doesn't like any of it and smiles politely when he walks in.  Kiddo and everyone else I know is a fan.  It keeps me going, "culinarily" speaking.

I have had a hankering for good, real, Italian and Portuguese rolls.  I have searched Austin, Texas and can't find anything worth the money to buy.  I have flour, yeast, some bread knowledge and the inclination.  I worked at paying with amounts, times, processes and how the dough feels...BINGO; I've mastered the Portuguese style roll.  I don't claim it's authentic, regionally or historically correct.  It is, however, the most delicious bread I've ever made. I'll put it up against any similarly named/described bread in Austin and considering I'm eternally insecure, and get all my support online, that's quite a statement out of me.

Get a pen, here we go;

Tracy's Portuguese (style) Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup warm water
1 cup a/p flour

2 Tbsp lard
2 Tbsp margarine
2 tsp salt (kosher, 1 1/2 tsp if you use *shudder* freeflow or table salt)
3 cups a/p flour

1+ cup warm water

Combine water, yeast and honey in bowl, leave to proof and get poofy about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup warm water and 1 cup flour.  Combine to a batter like consistency.  Leave to proof and get puffy and lump looking, about 10 minutes.

Add lard, margarine, salt and flour and combine using dough hook on KitchenAid.  Add warm water to make it a soft dough.  I use about 1 cup, it might take more depending on your flour, it might take less.  Add it a little at a time.  Turn the mixer on high and knead for 10 minutes. It will clear the side of the bowl and become smooth and a little shiny.  It is a very soft dough.

Remove it from the KitchenAid and knead briefly on a lightly floured board.  Really, this isn't entirely necessary I just like to feel involved and as though it needs me.

Form into a smooth ball and toss back in the mixing bowl, no need to grease.  Cover with a damp towel and put it somewhere warm (I put mine in the garage!) and leave it to rise to at least double (set timer for 45 minutes and check).  You'll see from the beauty shots below mine was substantially more than double and it took 32 minutes.

Turn on the oven to 475, put a pan of water in the bottom of your oven and heat it at the same time.  I use a small cast iron skillet because it fits, use whatever you have.  Don't use too large a pan or else you may have soggy/underdone bottoms and that's no good.  The other alternative is throwing some ice cubes into the bottom of your oven to create steam.  This dough loves a very steamy environment!

Remove and gently deflate the dough.  Divide it into 12 balls.  Leave it to rest about 5 minutes.  Yes, this part matters.

After 5 minutes, flatten the balls and make a crease down the middle with the side of your hand.  Fold the dough in half and put it folded side down on a board (or towel) and cover it.  Leave them to get puffy and a little wobbly, about 10 minutes.

Flip them right side up, gently, on a floured sheetpan and spritz them liberally with water. Put them in the preheated oven and spray them again at the 3 minute mark (without removing them, just open the door and spray some water on them, avoiding the oven bulb!!)

Bake them at 475 for 18-20 minutes.  Check them at 12 minutes then and spin the sheetpan if you have to, then bake them about 6 minutes longer.

Remove them to a rack to cool, take them off the sheetpan.

EAT!  They have a hard, crisp bottom and a slightly crispy top.

They are light but dense and have a fantastic flavor.  As I said, the best things I've ever made.  Here's the play by play and gratuitous beauty shots.

Mix the water, yeast and honey then add some flour and water to make a batter...let it rest.
After 10 minutes
Drop in the margarine, lard and flour, mix with hook...
After a minute or so... I let it go to see if it needed flour... I ended up adding 1/8 cup...
After 10 minutes!  perfectly clean bowl,  what a soft, smooth dough! A quick knead and back into the bowl to rise.
Before... and AFTER! WOW!  32 minutes! 
Pull it out and deflate it gently.  Divide into 12 and roll into balls, leave them 5 minutes to relax.
After a little rest, they're a little puffy. Roll into a slight oval and press flat with fingertips.
Crease the middle with the side of your hand, fold and put on a board or towel upside down.
Leave them to rest, covered about 20 minutes. Flip them fold side up on a floured sheet pan (cookie sheet)
Bake, 475 for 18 minutes or so...  beauty shots!
more beauty shots...

There are a lot of steps but they're easy steps and they're absolutely definitely worth doing! 

Here is a teaser video of when Connor and I sliced into them! 

Seriously, go make them!



  1. These look amazing! I can't wait to try this recipe! My husband and I are from New Jersey, and could get Portuguese rolls any time. In fact, growing up, we had a Portuguese bakery deliver them to our door step ever morning! (So spoiled I was!).
    Now we live in Belize, Central America, and I make almost everything that we eat. I can get ingredients, but many of the things we're used to are not available here. I bake loaves of sandwich bread, make pizza dough and dinner rolls, but I have not come across a decent sandwich roll recipe. This one jumped out at me and I am going to have to do this.... SOON! :)

    1. I can't wait to hear what you think of them!! Please be sure to let me know!! /tracy

  2. Made these today for the fisrt time. They came out really good. I don't think they rose enough but the flavor is just how I remembered at the Portuguese bakeries near home. The outsides where nice and crispy and they were really easy to make. I will keep trying until I perfect them. Thanks so much for the recipe and I am looking forward to more of your blog and trying more of your bread recipes....thanks again.

  3. Hi Tracy! These look amazing! Have you ever tried making the dough in a bread machine? Would the texture be the same?

  4. Hi Tracy! These look amazing! Have you ever tried making the dough in a bread machine? Would the texture be the same?

    1. Hi Katia

      thanks! I don't like the texture of dough from a bread machine, try it though and let me know! :D

  5. Mine turned out perfect. Thank you gor the recipe!

    1. THAT simply delights me!!! try my new telera rolls recipe, I think I might prefer it!

  6. I'm from TERCEIRA Portugal, My grandma used to make our everyday bread on Mondays, with a friend of ours. The house smelled so good. I have made my grandmother's recipe, but I am going to make yours to see the differences, to me it looks wonderful. Thank you for trying our rolls. I have Boughton them in stores, but they don't even come close to the recipe. You're look amazing.

  7. These rolls are absolute perfection! Thank you soooo much for sharing this recipe.super easy to make and they smell and taste even better than the store bought!!!! I will never buy rolls again!!!thank you, thank you!!!!

  8. In Portuguese and live in Austin. I work at a bakery in Leander it’s Portuguese/Brazilian/American and I make these there.