The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Portuguese Rolls

BakingFrenzy's picture

Portuguese Rolls

Hi, I'm a very novice baker who seems to have found a love for making breads recently.

For a while now I've been trying to perfect Portuguese rolls, living in Jersey in the Channel Islands we have a large Portuguese community and these rolls are readily available and fantastic!, so I really wanted to be able to make my own fresh.

You would think that would mean the recipe was readily availble, but it certainly isn't. It seems to be a closely guarded secret :)

After trying many recipes, most which seem to be American versions using fat and shortening, I found the following (fatless) recipe from a Portuguese bakers blog which after trying certainly seems to be correct:

500 grams flour

20-25 gram fresh yeast

300ml lukewarm water

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Unfortunately it seems to be impossible to get fresh yeast here, so I have been using dried yeast (correcting the amount to match).

The given directions for the recipe are very simple, mix all dry ingrediants in a machine (using a Kenwood Chef with dough hook), add water, machine knead for five minutes, leave for 45 minutes to rise, knock back for one minute.

Divide the dough, flatten with the palm of the hand, flour, chop almost in half with the side of the hand, fold and place (fold downwards) for 30 minutes before placing fold up on a baking sheet, generously covering in flour then baking at 210c for 20-25 minutes, then brush off the flour and cool.

I think I'm 80% there, the taste is spot on, but the texture of the rolls is still not correct, far too dense and heavy. The dough doesn't seem to quite double in size during the first rising, and does very little in the second rising / rest period.

I'm wondering if it's the use of non-fresh yeast?, that I'm knocking it back to far, or if the machine isn't putting enough air in to begin with?

Any advice is greatfully recieved! :)


pmccool's picture

you are better off to watch the dough and let it tell you when it is ready, instead of watching the clock.  Since you describe the first rise as not doubling and the final rise as "very little", you need to give the yeast more time to do their thing and inflate the dough.  The other thing to consider is temperature.  Up to a point, warmer = faster rise and cooler = slower rise.  So, if you want to push the fermentation to occur within a given amount of time, you will need to keep the dough at a temperature that will facilitate the yeast's growth at the desired rate.  That will take some experimentation.