This classic bread is used in a wide array of Mexican dishes. Cousin of traditional Italian-style bread, it is also great for your lunch sandwich. Enjoy the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread that will linger in your house for a few hours.
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/2 cup of cold butter
In a large bowl combine sugar, yeast and water, mix well and let rest for 5 minutes. The yeast will start activating and form a foam-like coat over the water, wait until the foam rises about 1 cm.
In a bowl, or a food processor with knead blade, mix flour and salt. Cut the butter in small cubes and mix them with the flour. If you are mixing in a bowl use your hands to pulverize the butter and integrate it well with the flour, which should have a ‘sandy’ consistency. If you are using a food processor, add butter cubes and mix on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
Once the yeast is fully activated mix it with the dry ingredients, add 1/3 cup at a time and mix well until flour reaches a ‘shaggy dough’ consistency. When mixing in a food processor use low speed for approximately 4 minutes (use a silicone scraper to remove any flour stuck on the sides) dough should start integrating and forming a ball, keep mixing, your processor bowl should look almost clean of flour.
In a clean working table or countertop sprinkle a bit of flour and gently knead your dough for about 5 minutes: extend it, fold it and roll it. Once your dough is smooth, soft and malleable form a ball and place it on a greased bowl. Cover it with a cloth, then put over a plastic bag and close it tightly. Place it in a warm spot of the house.
Leave the dough rest and ferment for 1 to 2 hrs. depending on room temperature until it triples its size. Add more flour on countertop, press dough to remove air and flat it with your hands forming a rectangle. Divide in 6 equal parts. Take one portion of dough, flatten it with your fingertips then start folding into the center, flatten it again and repeat folding. Turn facing the folded part to the countertop and while gently holding the ball with your hand forming a claw start making circular movements, this will help the folded part to expand and unfold. Place the balls on a greased baking pan or add parchment paper. Sprinkle a little flour and cover again with a clean cloth, if possible cover again with plastic to accelerate proofing. Buns should at least double its size which can take 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven at 400 F, add a pan with boiling water on the oven rack below. Before putting bread in the oven make a small incision in the middle, spray them with water. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until the bread is nicely brown and crispy. Preferably every 10 minutes open the oven and spray the breads and sides of the oven with water then close the oven door fast to avoid steam to escape.
To give your bread a nice brown colour spray them on top with cooking oil or brush melted butter. This should be done in the last 5 minutes of cooking and not only will help the bread acquire a nice brown color but also make the crust crispier.
Once fully cooked, remove from the oven and let them cool down on a rack or a cutting board for 15 to 20 minutes.
When cold cover your bread with a plastic bag and freeze it, will last for 2 weeks.