Recipe: Bolillo de Pimiento Asado y Cilantro

Bolillo is a small, baguette like bread that was brought to Mexico in the 1800s and spread like wildfire throughout Central America. These crispy, often stone oven baked breads have different names and uses throughout our land. In El Salvador, you might hear them called pan frances. In Panama, flauta is the word of choice. In Guadalajara, a derivation of this bread is called birote and is usually made with sourdough and baked darker. My birote recipe is included in my forthcoming book, New World Sourdough, which you can pre-order here today. Bolillo are typically made with white flour and baked light, to main the crisp softness that is desired for different sandwiches. Naturally, I wanted to create a fun flavor profile that could enhance the taste of the bread eaten alone as well as any sandwich made from it. I decided to roast peppers and cilantro to add a little bit of spice and Central American familiarity to the dough. The smell coming out of the oven during this bake was absolutely divine.

What You'll Need (for levain build)

100 grams mature sourdough starter

50 grams whole wheat flour

150 grams bread flour

150 grams warm water

What You'll Need (Final Mix)

500 grams all purpose flour

350 grams water

50 grams granulated sugar

100 grams canola oil

250 grams levain

10 grams Kosher Salt

1 whole red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed

1 whole jalapeno pepper, roasted and skin removed

1 whole hatch or banana pepper, roasted and skin removed

15 grams chopped, fresh cilantro

What You Need To Do:

  1. Combine 280 of the water in a bowl with your levain.

  2. Add in the flour, oil, and sugar, and mix until there is no dry flour left. Make sure you do not let the oil clump up.

  3. Let 30 minutes go by and add in the rest of the water with the salt. Squeeze it into the dough, but don't tear it.

  4. After 30 more minutes, we are going to incorporate the chopped roasted peppers and cilantro into the dough. Chop the peppers and mix together with the cilantro in a separate bowl.

  5. Spread half this mixture on top of the dough and stretch the sides of the dough over the mixture. You will do this 5-6 times and then flip the dough upside down. Let the dough rest another 30 minutes.

  6. After the second resting period, spread the rest of the mixture on the dough and repeat the stretching and folding of the dough. Prepare another bowl or tub with oil and transfer your dough, flipped upside down again.

  7. Let the initial rise continue for 4 hours on the countertop. After these 4 hours, transfer your dough to the fridge for a 10 hour cold fermentation.

  8. After the cold fermentation, divide your dough into 6 pieces, about 200 grams each.

  9. Take each piece and roll into a little log. Try to apply as much tension as possible when rolling it. Once you have a little log, start from the middle with both hands and roll it back and forth while pushing your hands outward to create a uniform shape. It should be about 6 inches long.

  10. Prepare a cloth, couche, or cutting board with semolina and place your dough accordingly to proof for 3 hours in a warm environment.

  11. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. We will be baking on a sheet pan, so no need to use cast iron in the oven.

  12. Each regular sized sheet pan can hold 4 bolillo at a time. Dust your sheet pan with semolina and flip the dough out of your proofing vessel. You can lightly score or bake seam side up, with no steam. We are not looking for any "ears."

  13. Bake your bolillo for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and enjoy!

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