Monday, August 24, 2015

Mexican Cemita Buns - We Knead to Bake 30

This month we are baking an interesting bread again. It so happened that Aparna and Nandita had baked them for a project and shared the pictures on facebook. Some members of the We Knead to Bake group expressed their interest in baking them and so it was chosen for this month.
Aparna shares,
"Mexican Cemita Buns are used to make a sandwich which is very popular in the Puebla region of the country. There they make the Cemitas Poblana, which is a sandwich is filled with sliced avocado, meat, panela cheese or sometimes quesillo cheese, onions, a herb called pápalo and red sauce.

These buns may look like regular sesame topped burger buns but they’re nothing like it. The Cemita, which is the name given to the bread and the sandwich made with it, is made with a brioche-like enriched dough that has a crunchy outside but is soft inside.

Kenji Lopez-Alt whose recipe we have adapted, describes the Cemita as “sweet and savory flavor with a dense-yet-light crumb that can stand up to stacks and stacks of toppings without disintegrating or losing its tenderness". "
These buns are usually made with lard or butter, but Kenji Lopez-Alt used heavy cream for the same. I could only find Cooking Cream that has 30% fat where I live and thus used it. i also substituted for the two eggs with 1/2 cup extra milk. They turned out just as good, not using eggs did not affect the texture.
I proportioned the ingredients to 2/3rds of the below given recipe. So I made 4 buns that was quite a lot for just the two of us. We had them like pav with bhaji and again as sandwiches. They tasted great either way.

Mexican Cemita Buns

Adapted from
Makes 6 buns

2 & 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour ( I did not need all of the 3 cups, but a little more than 2&1/2 cups)
1/2 cup cream (I used 30% fat cooking cream)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs (I substituted with 1/2 cup of milk)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 tablespoon sugar
A little milk for brushing on top of the buns
1/3 to 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

The dough is quite sticky to handle, you may choose to knead by hand or with a machine.
Place 2 and 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, yeast, cream, milk and the eggs (the extra milk in my recipe) in a mixing bowl and knead to a dough that is sticky and somewhat difficult to handle. If the dough is too batter-like add extra flour. Try not to add too much flour. The dough is supposed to be sticky.
Knead in the processor just until the dough climbs the blades. If doing by hand, knead until a soft yet sticky dough that is not so difficult to handle.
Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it. The original recipe does not call for spraying the bowl with oil, but I lightly oiled the walls and turned the dough in the oil.Let it sit at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours until it has risen to 1&1/2 times its initial volume.
Take the dough and turn it on to a floured work surface. Sprinkle some flour on the dough also so it is manageable. Lightly knead the dough and make it rope like. Divide this into 6 equal parts.

Roll each portion into a smooth rounded roll by stretching the top to make a smooth 'skin'.
Place the prepared rolls in a baking tray lined with parchment. Leave some space between each allowing them to expand while they are proofing.
Cover the buns and let them rise again at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. They would have expanded quite a bit.
Brush the buns with milk and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Gently press the sesame seeds to stick well. sprinkle coarse sea salt on top.
Bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated 230 degree C oven.
Cool on wire rack before storing/ serving.

They are soft, mildly sweet and salty from the sprinkling of salt. They make great sandwich buns.
While the above recipe makes 6 buns, I sized down the ingredients to make just 4.
A click away from here to Aparna's post will show you links to other members' posts. Please check them out too.