My first experience with cemitas is the pan dulce(sweet bread) from la panaderia(bakery). That delicious sweet bread, is similar, but not. Not always, but the sweet variety may have sesame seeds on top. But this is not the case all of the time. The more savory cemita rolls are typically noted for the sesame seeds on top and traditionally baked for preparing tortas(sandwiches). Not just any sandwiches, but these oversized tortas that could feed a family of four! The famous cemitas poblanas are filled with a variety of tasty fillings, but my favorite is the one prepared with milanesa. Chicken or beef, I am not fussy! When you bite into that fresh baked bread and crispy breaded milanesa, it’s so delicious!
Now, you must understand that any of my Mexican bread recipes are a homecook’s version of the commercially baked breads found in the big panaderia’s. Instead of wishing I could be enjoying a cemita Poblana, I will try my best to recreate those flavors and textures that I crave. It’s the closest thing I can get, unless I fly directly to Puebla, Mexico! I wish!
Cemitas (Mexican-Style Rolls)
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (115 degrees)
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil lard, manteca de puerco
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all bread flour
- 1/4 cup Milk to brush rolls
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
In the bowl of the stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the sugar and oil. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- With mixer on low speed, mix in the egg and salt. Gradually add in enough bread flour until dough pulls away from the sides of bowl.
- Turn out onto work surface and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 equal portions and shape into balls, placing on greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with hand.
- Cover loosely with light kitchen towel and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.
- Ten minutes before the hour is up, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the tops of cemitas with milk and quickly garnish each one with toasted sesame seeds.
- Bake on bottom shelf for 9 minutes. Transfer to top shelf and bake for 3-4 more minutes.
I had leftover toasted sesame seeds from preparing the cemitas, so I just added them to the milanesa cracker meal. Click Here to see beef milanesa recipe. The cemita below is layered with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickled jalapeños, beef milanesa and avocado.
This one is more in the style of the cemitas Poblanas. Filled with Chicken milanesa, quesillo(queso Oaxaca), avocado, papalo leaves, chipotles in adobo and , onion. Papalo leaves are not that easy to find, so sometimes I substitute with baby spinach and cilantro leaves. The rolls were not brushed with milk. They were brushed with salt water and this will yield a lighter colored roll. The milk will yield a darker colored roll.