Thursday, July 16, 2020

Torpedo Rolls With The Babes

July is always a challenging time to be a Bread Baking Babe because there are usually hot spells that make it unlikely that I'm going to be all jolly about heating up my kitchen to bake bread. This month was no exception, but fortunately I found a brief window with cooler temperatures and made the bread. It did mean that I used the fridge some to get the timing right and I baked the rolls in the evening when it had cooled down some. Sweetie ate one while it was barely warm...I think it was about 10 pm...and he pronounced it delicious.

Our Kitchen of the Month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, chose delicious Mexican Sourdough Rolls, or Birotes Salados, for our July bread.

She says," Birotes Salados are Guadalajaran, or Tapatio, which is what Guadalajarans call themselves. The bread is used for Tortas Ahogadas, which are sandwiches made with carnitas, pickled onions, refried beans, and two sauces, one for spicing things up, and one for drowning/dunking the entire sandwich."

You start with some sourdough starter (if you don't already have one, you can create your own first - with the pandemic, there are lots of places on the internet to find out how to do that...just Google sourdough starter!), make an expanded starter, then use a portion of that for the actual dough. I used the remainder of the expanded starter the next day to make sourdough waffles and they were delicious!

Back to the rolls. These have beer as well as the sourdough starter. I used Corona because that's what we had on hand. With the pandemic we have tried to use what's on hand as much as possible since most grocery shopping is being done by our kind neighbors.

 It's kinda fun to make the dough because you mix it up with your hands, squishing the more solid and the more liquid elements together...sort of like making mud pies as a kid, and then do the stretch and fold, returning the dough ball to the bowl a few times, with spaces of time in between. Eventually you will see the dough turn into a smooth mass.

Karen has a suggested timeline. The rolls take 20-30 minutes to bake. Here is the rest:
10:00 am - Feed your starter to wake it up. If your starter is already very active, you can skip this step.

8:00 pm - Prepare the final feed of your starter and let it rest at room temperature overnight.

Day 2:
8:00 am - Mix and knead your final dough, including a few stretches and folds.
9:15 am - Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled.
11:15 am - Shape the rolls and let them proof until puffy.
12:30 pm - Score and bake the rolls.

Of course this is an approximate timeline since the conditions in your kitchen/home can make it take longer or, a bit, shorter. If you use the fridge to store the dough between any one of the steps it will take longer but you'll be able to heat up the oven and bake when it is least likely to overheat your home.

I really enjoyed these rolls, although I didn't make the traditional sandwiches. The crumb was somewhat airy and mine were nicely moist, but not too moist. Because I was baking them on a preheated baking stone with an overturned foil roasting pan over to create a mini-oven, I had to bake these in my regular oven, unlike what I bake in my counter top high-end convection oven. I rarely get a good crust or deep brown color in my big oven unless I dry things out, so my rolls weren't as crusty nor brown as I would like, but that meant that they weren't bone dry, nor did they need to be dunked, either.

I filled them with pulled pork and coleslaw...non traditional but delicious. The rolls also were fine split and toasted and spread with non-dairy butter. I liked the slight saltiness of them, too.

If you'd like to be a Buddy, bake these and post about them by July 29th, then send Karen an email with a short description of your bake and a photo. She'll send you a badge.

Be sure to check out the other Babes to see what their birotes look like. Stay safe and healthy!

Birotes Salados - Mexican Sourdough Rolls

Wake Up Feed for Your Starter

200 grams (7 ounces) sourdough starter. Because you will be feeding it twice, it doesn't matter what hydration it is to begin with.
200 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purposed flour
120 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm water (90 degrees F)

Mix the "wake up feed" in a clean bowl with your fingers, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel, and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours.

Final Feed

20 grams (1 tablespoon) of the "wake up feed"
270 grams (2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) of all-purpose flour
175 grams (3/4 cup) Mexican lager beer (I used Modelo)

Mix the final feed ingredients with your hand until well incorporated. Cover and let ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

Final Dough

430 grams (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
20 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
18 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon) salt
All of the starter
212 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) water

Extra flour for dusting

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or dough rising bucket. Divide the starter into small pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Add the water and blend everything together with your hands. "Stir, squeeze, and pinch" the dough ingredients together until the dough comes together. You can use your dough scraper to help incorporate everything. This process should take about 2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and stretch, fold, and flip the dough about 5 times.

Form the dough into a rough ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough, seam side up, onto the surface. Gently flatten the dough into a 2 inch thick circle. Stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides."

Flip the dough over and form it into a ball, return it to the bowl, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Repeat the stretch-and-fold process three more times at 15 minute intervals.

After the final stretch and fold, place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface with the smooth side down. Gently flatten until the dough is about 2 inches thick. Gently stretch and fold one side of the dough about half way over the dough. Turn the dough, and repeat from all four "sides."

Flip the dough over, seam side down, and form the dough into a ball.

Return the ball to the bowl, seam side up, and cover until doubled, about an hour.

Lightly flour your work surface.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, about 150 grams each. Form each piece into a ball. Press each ball into a rough rectangle and then fold fold each "side" over each other to create a cylinder. Using your hands, roll each cylinder back and forth until you have an eight inch long roll with tapered ends.

Heat your oven to 475 degrees F with a baking stone and steam pan.

Place the rolls, seam side up, side-by-side lengthwise, between the folds of a couche or flour dusted tea towel to proof. Cover with plastic wrap or another towel for about 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy and airy, but not doubled.

You will probably need to bake these in two batches unless you have two ovens.

Place the risen rolls onto parchment paper on top of a pizza peel, seam side down with space in between. Add 2 cups of boiling water to your steam pan and close the oven door to let it get steamy.

Score the rolls with a sharp knife or lame the length of the roll down the center with the blade at an angle.

Place the loaves on the stone, along with the parchment, and close the oven door. If you like, you can also spray the oven with more water to get it extra steamy.

Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes. They should be deep golden brown and hollow sounding.

Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the rolls.


  1. What a great shape! They remind me of the bahn mi rolls that are French bread but make such delicious Vietnamese sandwiches (ours are seasoned tofu, pickled carrots, jalapenos, and a little soft cheese. They're addictive). We hadn't succumbed to sourdough throughout this whole confinement, but we're about there... I've become mildly obsessed with light, chewy, crunchy bread. These look like a keeper!

  2. These look great! I'm glad you had a brief cooler spell so you could make them.

  3. Torpedo rolls! :D Yours have turned out lovely. I made sandwiches too, vegetarian Torta Ahogado style, but without the "drowning".

  4. Babes just make things work and these rolls look perfectly gorgeous. Looks like you got a wonderfully soft airy crumb! I do enjoy my counter top convection oven as well.

  5. Love the sandwich..... great shape to your rolls!

  6. Well done, you, for braving the heat! Your rolls look wonderful. They look especially good with pulled pork and cole slaw!

  7. Yum! That sandwich looks great! This was definitely a hands on project.

  8. I just love how plump your rolls turned out!