One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is how it opens my eyes to a whole range of foods I would never have known about otherwise. It not only introduces me to ingredients that were previously foreign to me, but also introduces me to new places to eat in. I’m not sure if I’d have discovered some of my favourite places to eat (Byrons, Pearl Liang, Koya) if not for the blogosphere. Which is why I’ve been hesitant to blog about these buns.
If you’re Malaysian, chances are that you’ll know what these are. For anyone else, you’re probably thinking what on earth “Mexican buns” are. Well, I must admit that I have no idea why these are called Mexican buns – I don’t know much about Mexican food, but I’m pretty sure these buns don’t originate from Mexico. But when the buns taste as good as they do, frankly, I don’t really mind what they’re called. They’re basically a soft and fluffy bun, with a crunchy coffee crust and a melting buttery filling. Utter perfection, especially when eaten warm.
I still remember when these Mexican buns first burst onto the bakery scene back home, and how much I used to love eating them. The most “famous” buns were sold by a company called Rotiboy (where “roti” = bread, “boy” = boy), which is why these buns are also known as “Rotiboy”. This company seems to have been founded in my hometown of Bukit Mertajam, Penang. I must say I never knew this, as I didn’t know of any Rotiboy outlets in BM or Penang at the start of the Mexican bun craze. We even used to buy a whole lot of buns from KL (that’s Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia) when we were there, and would freeze them for err… times of need. And now I find out they were founded in BM?! Ah well, nevermind.
But I was talking about how I had been hesitant to blog about these. Why? Well, I learnt how to make these in a baking class. As such, I didn’t feel that it was polite to share the recipe for the buns on the blog. And so these photos sat languishing in my backlog pile, whilst I tried to decide if I wanted to blog about them sans recipe. In the end, I emailed the lady who teaches the classes, who said that I could share the recipe for these buns via email (but not on the blog as her other students might get upset!). Which I felt was a fair request.
As always, I made some minor changes to the recipe. Instead of making only the “traditional” bun with a coffee crust and buttery filling, I made some with a matcha/green tea crust and a black sesame filling. The matcha version turned out well, but I must say that my loyalty still lies with the original coffee/butter combination.
These buns are made with a “sponge and dough” method, which consists of two stages. The first stage is the making of the “sponge” which is left in the fridge to slowly ferment/rise overnight. The second stage is when the “sponge” is added to all the other ingredients = forming the “dough”. Having made bread and buns with both the normal straight dough method (which is the conventional method you see in many recipes) and the “sponge and dough” method, I find that the latter produces softer and fluffier bread. An added plus is how the bread stays softer for longer.
These buns also freeze well, and it’s always nice to have a stash in your freezer for a quick fix when a craving hits! All you need to do is to heat it up in a hot oven (I usually use 180°C) for about 10 minutes until it’s heated through. Yummy buns that are freezable. See what I mean by perfection?
If you’re interested in giving these Mexican buns/Rotiboys a try, drop me an email and I’ll send the recipe to you.