How to Make Papo Secos (Portuguese Bread Rolls) Step-by-Step

  • 01 of 09

    Papo Secos (Portuguese Bread Rolls)

    Papo Secos
    Pochove/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Papo Secos are hard and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, as are most breads that were originally baked in brick ovens. They are used sandwich-style for Vinha D'alhos, sliced linguiça, or other meats, and are also great all by themselves, as a side for soups and stews. I like them sliced in half, toasted and slathered with butter.

    Growing up, Portuguese Bread Rolls were something I looked forward to having every time we visited my grandparents in New Bedford, Massachusetts. You...MORE simply couldn't get them anywhere else at that time, and it still isn't easy to find them unless you are in a Portuguese community. Fortunately they are not hard to make at home!


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  • 02 of 09

    Prepare the Yeast

    Stir the yeast into warm water. Wendy Ponte

    Place 1/2 cup of water in a small glass or ceramic bowl. It is important that the water be room temperature or slightly warmer. Gently stir in 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a package of yeast (not the quick-rise kind).

    Allow this to sit undisturbed until it begins to foam (about 10 minutes).


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  • 03 of 09

    Make a Batter

    Mixing the batter. Wendy Ponte
    Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl. Slowly mix in 4 1/2 to 5 cups of flour (bread flour, white flour or unbleached organic flour), a teaspoon of salt, 2 more cups of room-temperature water, and 2 tablespoons of soft butter. You should have a soft batter at this point. If the butter is not completely mixed in, don't worry. When you knead the dough later, it will become incorporated.


    Place the batter in a warm spot and cover it with a dishtowel. Leave it to rise for about an hour. It...MORE will almost double in size.

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  • 04 of 09

    Knead the Dough

    Knead the dough. Wendy Ponte

    Turn the batter onto a floured surface. With floured hands, begin to knead another cup of flour in. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You may find you need more or less than one cup of flour to create a good dough. It should feel smooth and not overly sticky on your hands.


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  • 05 of 09

    Make Ball of Dough

    Roll the dough into balls. Wendy Ponte

    Break the kneaded dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll gently between your hands to create balls.

    Place the balls on a lightly floured dishtowel placed in a warm spot. Cover with another dishtowel and let the dough balls rest for about 30 minutes.


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  • 06 of 09

    Shape the Rolls

    Flatten and shape the dough balls. Wendy Ponte

    One at a time, flatten each of the balls into a disc shape. With the side of your hand, karate-chop style, place a crease in each of the discs.

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  • 07 of 09

    Brush with Milk

    Shape the rolls. Wendy Ponte
    Fold each of the discs in half. Then pinch and roll each end. Brush them lightly with milk.


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  • 08 of 09

    Prep the Oven

    Use a pizza stone to bake the rolls if you can. Wendy Ponte

    Turn your oven on to 425°.

    If you have a pizza or baking stone, this is really the best surface for baking your rolls. You will end up with a thicker, crustier outside and a better taste. Otherwise a cookie sheet will work. Place this on a middle rack in the oven.

    Put another shallow pan on a lower rack. Allow both of these pans to heat up with the oven.

    Boil some water in a pan on the stove. You will be pouring this into the bottom pan in the oven when you put the rolls in to bake. This will...MORE create steam in the oven, which duplicates the effect of a brick oven.



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  • 09 of 09

    Take the Rolls Out of the Oven and Enjoy!

    The finished rolls!. Wendy Ponte

    When the oven has pre-heated, take out the pizza stone or pan. Arrange the shaped rolls on the pan and place in the oven.

    Immediately pour boiling water into the lower pan, to about a one-inch depth. Shut the oven door.

    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the rolls are golden brown on top. Remove them from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes.