Portuguese Hard Rolls – Bread Machine

Courtesy of Mary Edwards

This recipe has been adapted for the bread machine using regular granulated yeast which requires a slightly different technique. If using instant or bread machine yeast use all ice water and skip the yeast proofing step. Try to avoid using the bread machine preheat cycle – you want the dough to stay cold. These rolls are addictive!

1/2 cup warm water
1 cup very cold (ice) water
1/2 tsp granulated yeast
1 lb 4 oz bread flour (approx 4 cups) (weighing results in consistancy)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt (1 1/2 – 2 tsp regular salt)
oil spray
coarse cornmeal

Proof yeast in bread machine pan using warm water and a pinch of sugar for about 10 minutes. Place 1 cup of very cold water in freezer at the same time.

While proofing yeast, start your bread machine on it’s dough cycle to skip the preheating portion of the cycle. When yeast mixture is creamy add flour/salt mixture then ice water and place in bread machine when it begins it’s mixing cycle. Oil up a bowl or 2 quart plastic container.

Allow the bread machine to run completely through its kneading cycle ( mine takes 35 minutes) and remove immediately to oiled container. Cover, then refrigerate over night.

Next morning, remove dough from refrigerator place in a warm spot (I use my oven with the light on) and allow it to double in volume. This could take several hours at room temperature but it typically takes me about 5 hours in the oven

When the dough has doubled in size, remove from the oven (if using) and begin to preheat it to 500 deg. I use a baking (pizza) stone on the middle rack and an old cast iron skillet on the lower (for steam) while preheating. Preheat for 45 minutes. . Put a piece of parchment on a rimless cookie sheet and dust it generously with the corn meal.

Turn out the dough onto a counter/board that has been dusted with flour. Punch it down then gather it up into a ball. Divide dough in half, then in half again, then into thirds. Use a scale if you have one – just eyeball if you don’t. Roll each piece of dough into a ball using the demonstrated techuique and place on the prepared parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel while the oven pre-heats

Just before baking, score the top of each roll with a serrated knife. Pour a cup of boiling water into the preheated skillet (be careful it will spatter – protect your hands AND the window in your oven door) then slide the parchment off the baking sheet onto the stone. Spray the sides of the oven with water and set your timer for 18 minutes. After 3 minutes, spray the oven again and reduce the temperature to 450 degrees.Continue baking for the full 18 minutes. Slide the parchment back onto the baking sheet and remove. Cool the rolls on a rack.

Yield: 12

Cooking Tips
This is the proceedure that I use. If you don’t have a baking stone or a skillet use ceramic tiles or just a regular baking sheet and an old pan for the steam. Skip the parchment if using a baking pan. These rolls are best fresh within 1 day of baking. They freeze beautifully and taste like fresh baked when defrosted and toasted at 350 deg for about 10 minutes. I usually just freeze up a whole batch and nuke whatever we want till hot.

This recipe can easily be doubled but you’ll need to use a mixer to whip it up.