When I visited Bolivia with my husband, I loved all the foods I tried there. We visited his family in different cities from La Paz to Sucre, from Potosi to Santa Cruz. I tried different regional meals in every city and loved them all. There was no coffee, breakfast or meal I had where the table didn’t have these delicious, crunchy bread rolls called Marraquetas!!
What are Marraquetas?
Marraquetas are bread rolls. The word Marraqueta is pronounced mar·ra·que·ta. Initially I thought they were found only in Bolivia but I realized that bread rolls are called marraquetas in Chile and Peru as well.
- In Bolivia, marraquetas are also called Pan de Batalla (battle bread) or Pan Frances (French bread). In Bolivia, the bread rolls have an oval elongated shape with a cut in the middle. Marraquetas from La Paz were declared cultural patrimony in Bolivia in year 2006.
- In Chile, marraquetas are called also Pan Batido (whipped bread).
- A Mexican friend of mine has a recipe for Mexican Bolillos which seems to be very similar to the Bolivian Marraquetas.
Technically marraquetas are French bread rolls and other countries know them by different names. Shape of the rolls can vary as well from location to location.
How to serve Marraquetas?
The most common way to serve these bread rolls is during afternoon tea with coffee, cheese and butter. They are best served fresh daily, but you can store them covered in a clean kitchen towel for a day or so. I personally love them with breakfast too:).
Tips & Notes
While most bread recipes are finicky and you have to be very precise with quantities, these bread rolls are very forgiving. Follow the recipe but adjust as needed with an extra tablespoon of flour if dough is too sticky or an extra tablespoon of water if dough is difficult to roll together.
- Altitude – altitude makes a big difference in baking. This recipe was passed down to me from my husband’s family who lives in Potosi, Bolivia. That city is almost 14,000 feet above sea level while I live in Miami, FL which is exactly 0 feet altitude. The recipe as it’s described below is how I bake these bread rolls with my adjustments from original. Please keep in mind altitude when adjusting the recipe. This guide is a great resource for baking at different altitudes.
- Yeast (levadura) – yeast is that ingredient that is commonly used in different countries to bake bread but it’s all different brands and types. I use Instant Yeast for my bread rolls to speed up the process.
- Water – it’s important to use lukewarm water for the dough. It helps the dough rise faster and it also helps activate yeast.
- Rising time for the dough – you’ll need to let the dough rise twice. The first time, you’ll need to wait until the dough doubles in size and has become a little elastic. It takes about 1 hr and 15 minutes for this to happen in my kitchen but my kitchen’s temperature tends to run a little higher so maybe it will take a little longer somewhere else.
- Resist the urge to cut on the rolls until 15-30 minutes after you have placed them on the cooling rack. It will give time to the crumb to set well and the outer layer of marraqueta to become crunchy:).
Bolivian Bread Rolls Marraquetas
- Pour yeast in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and mix. Let stand for few minutes to activate yeast.
- Add 4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour to a bowl. Mix half a tbsp of salt with the flour. Finally add the yeast water into the bowl and start mixing with a large spoon. Once the mix has incorporated all the water, then add 1 cup of lukewarm water and mix thoroughly. Use your hands to turn the mix into a dough as demonstrated in the video below. Transfer the dough to a working surface, sprinkle flour to the bottom and top if needed. Work the dough for few minutes.
- Add the dough to a clean bowl, dust the surface lightly with flour. Cover with a wet, clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm area in the kitchen or by a sunny window. Dough will take 1 hr and 15 minutes or longer to double in size. It's important to wait until the dough doubles in size.
- Once dough has doubled in size, pour it in the working surface again. Elongate it and then cut it in about 10 fist size dough balls. Work each piece of dough slightly, then shape and place in a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Cover the rolls with the kitchen towel and let rise for a 2nd time. This time I let the dough rise for about 25 minutes. Towards the end of the rise, pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Score each piece with a sharp knife or razor from top to bottom along the longer side. Prepare 1 cup of cold water with half a tbsp of salt, mix until salt dissolves. Brush with dough piece with this water/salt mix.
- Add baking tray to pre-heated oven in the middle rack. Add a smaller baking dish with boiling water in the oven as well. The steam from the boiling water will help create the bread crust. Lower temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake for about 15 minutes or until breads are golden brown. Turn oven off once done.
- Cool the marraquetas in a cooling rack. Then place in a bread bowl covered with a towel and serve warm with coffee!
- Adjust dough as needed with an extra tablespoon of water or flour as you are working it.
If you would like to save this recipe for later please save the below image to your boards in Pinterest. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions in comments or tag me in social media with your pictures of this recipe. Thank you:).
Other Bread Recipes
I love baking bread and my methods are usually old fashioned compared to more exact industry standard. If you’d like to check out my recipes see below links to my other bread recipes: