Monday, January 23, 2012

Portuguese Bread Rolls (Papo Secos)

This month Noor of Ya Salam Cooking is the host of Bread Baking Day #46. She came up with a great theme: Baking from a place you love to visit. Since we moved a few years ago from one great country to another; from the Netherlands to Thailand we don’t travel much. We try to live as basically as possible. Both Peter and I have been to different countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, South and North America, The Caribbean and Australia.

We have seen lots of beautiful people, nature and culture and ate delicious food.
We do have a list of countries we would love to visit (again). We would love to experience the different climates and nature in New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Sit on some Mediterranean beaches in Greece or Italy. Look at a beautiful sunset at Malta or Portugal. Drink tea in the busy Souk of Istanbul or Tunis. See the amazing wildlife of Madagascar and feel the extreme cold and silence of Antarctica

I could go on and on for a while about countries but this is about baking bread. As you see it’s difficult to choose a place we love to visit and bake bread from that place. We decided to go back to Portugal and enjoy their Papo Secos.

In the original recipe I found they made a batter of yeast, lukewarm water, sugar and some of the flour. They proofed the rolls for just 5 minutes and didn’t use steam. I think the best ones are baked in a wood fired oven, but my gas oven will do nicely. 
I changed it to my own way of baking rolls. Next time I will do it their way, because these rolls will be back on our table. The crust is a little crusty and the crumb is very soft, this makes a nice combination. The indent gives the rolls a nice look and at the table you have two small rolls in stead of one.
We ate some of the rolls at breakfast with fresh home made strawberry jam; delicious. Ones you have made your own strawberry jam, you never buy another jar. The only thing you taste is strawberries.

Tonight we eat these rolls with a hotdog. I’m still in the middle of the process of making our own zuurkool (sauerkraut). Otherwise we could have this roll with hotdog, sauce and sauerkraut. I know it’s not the regular hotdog bun, but we don’t care. For us life is also about experiencing and learning.
This is what I used for 10 rolls:
330 grams of All Purpose Flour
5 grams sea salt
5 grams dry yeast
4 grams sugar
18 grams vegetable oil (the original recipe uses margarine)
236 – 315 grams lukewarm water
2.3 grams shortening

This is what I did:
In a bowl combine all ingredients and add 90% of the water. It depends on the flour you use how much water you need.
Mix for about 10 minutes until the dough reaches full dough consistency. When you take a piece of dough, gently stretch it out until you can see a ‘window’ of thin dough. You can almost see trough it. The dough is smooth and feels silky.

Transfer the dough to a slightly oiled container and cover with plastic until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Place the dough on a floured counter. Pre shape each roll, of about 85 grams each, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Shape the rolls. 
Flatten each roll with your flat hand.
Make an indent in the middle of the flattened dough with the side of your hand and fold in half. Now the dough looks like kissing lips.
Place the roll on a floured couche with open side down.
Twist the ends with your fingers to make a small twisted point. Cover with tea towel and leave for 30 minutes to proof. 

Pre heat the oven to 260˚C and prepare for steam.

Place the proofed rolls on parchment paper on a peel, with open side up, and brush with milk.
I baked the rolls 7 minutes with steam and 13 with out, until the rolls have a nice light brown color; this depends on your oven.

I found the recipe at Full bellies (here you also find cups and spoons)
I send these rolls to Noor of Ya Salam Cooking for BBD#46, to Susan’s YeastSpotting and Heather of Bake Your Own Bread 


  1. What a amazing shape. It is new to me and I intend to try it soon. Keep the good work. I love your recipes.

    1. Thanks Gilda, it was fun to make these rolls. I know yours will turn out great too.

  2. Beautiful looking rolls, I really like the way you shaped them!

    1. Thanks Winnie, they are funny. I like the kissing lips.

  3. Are they light and fluffy like they are supposed to be, or dense like the other recipes I have found?

    1. Hi David, as you can see I used steam when baking them, in stead of the original recipe. This gives the rolls a little crusty crust. The crumb is very soft. But, I don't know if they meet your memory of these rolls. I hope you find them.

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  5. Can u please post the original recipe... I'd love to make one coz this very prominent childhood memories...

    1. Hi Anonymous, this is the only recipe I have found, it taste great. Maybe you can try it.

    2. what good is the shape of these rolls because they are not
      good for sandwiches.

    3. Hi Anonymous, there more to life than sandwiches :-)

  6. I cut them on half and use each side for a small roll

  7. Consider using lard instead of shortening for a better tasting product (unless you're a vegetarian then don't substitute).