All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

portuguese flour rolls- REVISED

I grew up on the Outer Cape - the very tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and then later, two towns over, in Wellfleet. My stepfather was part of the commercial fishing fleet, and was part of the first American born generation in his Portuguese family. His family came from Olhao in Portugal, but in Provincetown you had also had Azoreans and Cape Verdeans. As children, our favorite stop was at the Portuguese Bakery in Provincetown - still there. We would tear apart hot sweet bread and eat it on the wharf, watching the boats come in. The simple white, floury rolls were another treat, and sweet potato turnovers, "trutas". Years ago I picked up a cookbook written by a local woman; I had high hopes of duplicating those joys of my childhood. Unfortunately, none of the recipes work. We've all known cooks that never give out a complete recipe, and I suppose she is one of them. So, slowly, by trial and error, I've been able to come up with a recipe for those white, floury delicious rolls that go so well with Portuguese Kale soup - actually, they go with just about everything. They have a very thin crispy crust, while the inside is fluffy but moist.
27 November 2009 note: I have made these rolls four times in the last few days, and each one came out differently. One was too dry. One was too wet, and spread out more than I'd hoped. Now that I think about it, the kitchen was very cold when I made the too wet rolls. So were all the ingredients. As I made batch after batch, with each one different, the kitchen became, well, almost tropical with the oven at 400 degrees. Maybe that's the secret. The too wet rolls made a nice, soft, perfect- for -fried eggs n' bacon roll. But that's not what I was looking for, though they were delicious. The last batch came closest to the original recipe. So just keep an eye on the dough, which should be pliable and almost like soft Silly Putty ( if you know what I mean?).

To make:
2 cups King Arthur flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. dry yeast
1/2 t. sugar
3/4ths to 1 cup warm water
2 t. canola oil or vegetable oil
In mixer bowl, place the flour and salt.
In a small bowl, add the warm water and yeast, starting with 3/4ths cup warm water. Add the sugar and whisk.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and add the oil. Mix on low, and then switch to a dough hook. If the dough does not form a ball and looks dry, add more warm water, a tablespoon at a time, until it looks more elastic(the same if it is too sticky, adding flour a tablespoon at a time). You can also do this by hand, kneading until the dough is smooth. If the dough is super elastic and somewhat wet, add a little more flour.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot, and let double in size - about an hour.
Oil a baking sheet.
Knead the ball of dough, then cut into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on baking sheet.
Place rolls in a barely warm oven ( or in a warm spot in the kitchen) for 20 minutes.
Remove rolls from oven and set temperature to 400F.
Place a cup of boiling water at the bottom of the oven - make sure it is heatproof! This provides a little steam to the oven.
Sprinkle a little flour on top of each roll and spritz water on the rolls just as you slide them into the hot oven. This insures that crispy, thin crust.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the rolls are golden and light when you pick them up.
Remove from oven and enjoy!


Barb said...

Mmmm - you always come up with some wonderful, delicious-ness that makes me want to give 'em a try. I am definitely making the lemon poppyseed muffins this weekend for Easter! They sound heavenly, as do these rolls, but I am somewhat scared of yeast. Yeast-o-phobia!! One day I'm going to just go for it.

katrina said...

Hi Barb! You'll fall in love with those lemon poppyseed muffins! They are goooood. And I do understand your yeast-o-phobia; it took years for me to get around to bread making. If I miss you, have a great Easter!

Carolyn said...

I grew up in Rhode Island, another stronghold of Portuguese cooking! I loved these rolls. But honestly, when you perfect the sweet bread, send it my way.
Thanks for working so hard on this recipe. I have to try it.

Amanda said...

These look wonderful!

katrina said...

Carolyn - I came close to the sweet bread recipe last year ( at Easter) but it lacked those layers that peel off the shiny crust -Oh, that recipe book drives me crazy! I'll keep you posted on progress. Thanks for coming by!

katrina said...

Thank you, Amanda!

Maria said...

The rolls look so wonderful!

katrina said...

Thank you, Maria! And here's something I found out today about the rolls - if you put them in a plastic bag, the next day they are soft and not at all stale. We always ate up the bread so quickly, I didn't realize that. If I had to describe the taste, it's kind of like a Table Water cracker, except it's bread.

♥ mesa para 4 said...

All great and lovely in this blog...a big hug from Portugal

katrina said...

What a treat to have you visit from Portugal - I only regret I never did learn to speak Portuguese ( so I could read your blog).

Thanks for coming by!

Giff said...

Going to give these a try :)

katrina said...

That's wonderful, Giff! I've made them 3 times in the last two weeks - and they were the first platter to be empty. Lovely rolls. Just found your blog and love it!