We’re back traveling around the world through my kitchen, today we’re going to be trying Bolivian Marraquetas, these soft and chewy bread rolls are traditionally eaten in Bolivia, Chile, Portugal, and even as far as Hong Kong with coffee as a breakfast dish or served as a larger loaf that can be separated into rolls. The roll is traditionally meant to have a very crunchy crust on the outside and is made using only flour, yeast, salt, and water. These were really fun to make and their unique leaf shape was a challenge to create but there are a few tips and tricks I researched for this recipe along the way so I’ll share those with you too!
Makes 8-9 rolls
540g Plain Flour
1 Packet of Dried Yeast
600ml Warm Water
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
To start with add 250ml warm water and yeast to a small bowl, do not mix! Let this sit for around 5 mins to let the yeast fully activate then add in the sugar and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
In a large bowl add all the flour and salt. Gently mix this together.
Pour in the yeast and water and mix with the flour until the water has been absorbed. Keep adding more of the leftover warm water in 200ml increments until the dough has absorbed it, you may not need the full amount. Keep incorporating the water and dough until you have a large sticky dough.
Tip the dough out into a floured, clean surface and knead for about 10 mins until it's formed into a ball shape and no longer sticky, you may need to add more flour as you knead.
Put the dough ball in a floured bowl with a damp tea towel on top and leave it to rise in a warm place for 60 mins.
Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface then shape into a long log. Separate this long into 10 segments.
With each segment, shape this into an oblong ball then pinch each end to form little tips, the end result should look like a leaf or a conch shell. Place each roll onto a greased baking tray or silicone baking mat.
Cover the rolls with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again for 30 mins, in the last 10 mins preheat your oven to 200C/ 180 Fan/ Gas Mark 4.
After the rolls have risen, take a sharp knife and score each roll from one pointed tip to the other, making sure it cuts into the dough. At this point, one bit of research suggested taking 150-200ml of warm water and 1 tsp of salt, mixing this together until the salt dissolves then brushing this mixture over each roll before putting them in the oven, I had this ready to go and then stupidly forgot to do it, the research said the saltwater can help form a crunchier crust when baking so I would definitely give it a go next time.
Now, bake the rolls in the oven. To help form that crunchy crust we can also put a pan of boiling water on the oven shelf below our rolls, I did this for about 10 mins and my rolls did come out lovely and crunchy on the crust, I just used a loaf tin full of boiling water, placed the rolls on the top shelf and the water on the shelf below, allowing the steam to rise around the rolls as they baked.
Once the rolls are in the oven, lower the temperature to 180C/ 160 Fan/ Gas Mark 3 and let the rolls bake for 15-20 mins until they’re golden and crunchy.
To test if they’re ready, take a roll and tap the bottom of it, they should sound hollow. Leave the rolls on a wire rack to cool for 10 mins before eating!
In my opinion, I think these look great! The shape wasn’t quite as neat as I’d hoped but I think you get a general idea. I cut one open for the picture and you can see the aeration in the rolls (the holes in the dough), the bread was lovely and soft but I would say that these need to be eaten on the day they’re baked as they will go stale by the next morning, I’m still eating them now about 3 days later but I do have to toast them to soften them up a bit.
I love this Marraquetas recipe, not least because the basic ingredients make it fully vegan but I also think it's a great recipe to use when you want some little dinner rolls or rolls to have at lunchtime, there may be a little bit of practice needed to perfect that leaf shape of each roll but that will come with time.
I hope you enjoyed this next World Series recipe and I hope you’ll find time to try it for yourself.
The next country we’re off to is Canada!