For me, one of the best pleasures in life, is eating fresh baked bread and then spread a little bit of butter on top. ¡It’s simply awesome! The best bread to do that with is definitely Colombian soft bread, which isn’t really a Colombian recipe, but it’s so famous in Colombia that we claim it as our own.
But it’s true, this bread is so basic and so delicious that you can find it in many other countries. Here in the U.S. we just roll them into small balls to make dinner rolls that are served with all kinds of food. In Colombia, we simply roll them in and many times we fill them with cheese and every now and then we’ll also add some guava paste.
You can serve this soft bread at any time of day and with any kind of food, you can even serve it with Colombian tamales!
Yields 8 rolls
1 cup warm water (100ºF-110ºF)
2 teaspoons dry yeast (or 1 packet, which is approx. 7 g)
¼ teaspoon white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour (480 g) or all-purpose flour (420 g)
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg beaten
Mozzarella cheese cut into 4-inch pieces (optional)
Guava paste cut into 3-inch pieces
Using a Standing Mixer:
1. Mix water, dry yeast and ¼ tsp of white sugar in a small container and let it stand for about 5-8 minutes or until a foam forms on top indicating that the yeast is activated.
2. Add the the melted butter and stir.
3. Add flour, white sugar and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk well.
4. Add the yeast mixture. Start mixing with the mixer’s dough hook at low speed, then increase to medium speed and let it work the dough for about 8-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Process continues in step 5 below.
Kneading Dough By Hand:
Follow steps 1 & 2 above.
3. Add flour, white sugar and salt to a large bowl and whisk well.
4. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a flat, floured surface and knead with the palm of your hand for about 8-10 minutes. **To knead the dough, fold it over and push down with the heel of your hand. Repeat this process during the entire kneading time. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic.
Process continues in step 5 below.
5. Grease a large bowl with the oil.
6. Shape dough into a ball and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
**Tip: You can turn on a microwave for about 1 minute to warm it up and then place the dough inside. This will help it rise better.
7. Place the dough on a flat surface and loosely shape it into a log measuring about 16 inches long. Divide it into 8 equal pieces measuring about 2 inches (5 cm) each. Shape each piece into a small ball and roll it flat with a rolling pin until it’s ¼ inch thick. Cut off about ½ inch from the bottom with a knife and press the edge with the rolling pin. Roll in the dough starting at the top for form a bread roll. You can also stuff the bread with mozzarella cheese and/or guava paste by placing each piece at the top of the dough before rolling it in.
8. Place each roll about a ½-inch apart, seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. **You can use the microwave method to help them rise.
9. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg and bake at 350ºF for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.