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!