11 Jul

Conquering Yeast

I really don’t know why I was so afraid of yeast. Maybe it is an inherited fear because my mom won’t even get close to the stuff. She loves to bake cakes and pastries (she is a puff pastry master) but yeast is one of her biggest fears. For several months now I have been trying to conquer yeast. However, my attempts had been shy and fallen short. Until the last Daring Bakers challenge. I had so much fun working with the Danish dough that I decided to stop worrying about yeast and just start using it more.

Oh, I am so glad I took that decision. For awhile I had been wanting to make bolillos. What are bolillos? They are Mexican dinner rolls, an artisan Mexican bread, almost as common down there as tortillas. Bolillo is the bread used to make the famous tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and molletes. Its shape is oval with a crunchy outside and a soft inside. I am proud of my little babies. they were gone so fast that I almost didn’t take pictures of them.

And as the good kitchen adventurer that I am, I decided to go farther and try a variation of bolillo, something that in Mexico you will probably never see because bolillo is also known as pan blanco (white bread) I dared myself to make whole-wheat bolillos. I used half of the batch for bolillos, which I later used to make tortas, and with the other half I made a chicken and beans pizza.

I was in a baking spree, I couldn’t stop myself so I also made another batch of Danish dough. With that I made two smaller braids, one cream cheese and strawberry jam and one banana jam and chocolate with walnuts. I also made Danish empanadas (I believed I just made that up), stuffed croissants and other cute little pastries. I ended up exhausted, but very satisfied with my creations. I think that was the only way I could have tackled my yeast fear. At least now I will have fresh bread every day and Jon won’t have an excuse to keep buying mass produced bread.

I got the recipe for bolillos at cookingforums.net. I tried to link back to the person who posted it but the link is no longer there. Anyway, here is the recipe from the forums. For the whole-wheat bolillos just use 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 3 cups of whole-wheat flour. I will try more flavors in the future. Stay tuned for that.

Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Makes 14-16
  • * 1 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
  • * 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoon sugar
  • * 1 pkg dry yeast
  • * 1 tablespoon salt
  • * 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • * 1 cup water
  • * 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • * 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • * ½ cup cold water
  1. Combine 1 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bown; let stand 5
  2. minutes.
  3. Combine salt, butter, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; heat until butter melts. Cool to 105 to 115 degrees.
  4. Stir butter mixture into yeast mixture. Add 2½ cups flour; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended. Add remaining 3½ cups flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 10 minutes Cover and let rise in warm place (85 degrees free from drafts, 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch dough down, and divide into 16 equal portions Shape each portion into a 4 x 1½ inch loaf-shaped roll. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. Score tops of rolls with scissors ,making slashes ¾ inch deep and 2 inches long.
  8. Dissolve cornstarch in ½ cup cold water in a small saucepan ,bring to a boil. Let cool slightly. Brush each roll with cornstarch mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

I was going to announce a new event with this post, but I didn’t finish the badge. So I will try to do it tomorrow or sometime next week. (Does anyone want to volunteer to help me with the badge?)

Buen Provecho!

23 thoughts on “Conquering Yeast

  1. Well done, Ben. Your bread looks wonderful and those tortas de pollo look great. I am still afraid to become a member of the Daring Bakers.

  2. Oh Ben. You’ve touched my heart. Bolillos are the perfect bread for any Mexican food. Bolillos and menudo, yum. It’s so easy to get them at the Bowie Bakery here in EP, but I am really going to try and make some. I also grew up with a fear of using yeast, inherent from my mom, but it’s time to try something knew. Thanks Ben.

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