Three mexican semita bread rolls in a basket on a light blue background
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This sweet and tender semita bread is designed to be eaten with your morning café de olla or a cold glass of your favorite plant-milk. Piloncillo, raisins, cinnamon, orange zest, and anise are studded throughout the semita, making it an incredibly fragrant and delicious Mexican pan dulce.

Flour, water, yeast in a large stainless steel bowl

Origin of Semita Bread

In the 16th century, a group of Semitic Jews came to the new world, brought by Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva to settle what is now the state of Nuevo Leon, escaping the Spanish Inquisition that was in full force at the time. This Jewish community colonized the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and parts of what is now Texas, and continued to practice their faith in secret. It is thought that this community ate bread during Passover very similar to what we consider semita bread now, with the exception of the piloncillo and raisins. The origin of this bread, however, can be traced back to Spain and Islamic North Africa.

Dough for semita bread mixed in a stainless steel bowl

Semita vs. Cemita

Semita is not the same as cemita, and to confuse things even more sometimes they are both spelled the same. Semita is the sweet bread recipe I have for you today, made with piloncillo, raisins, and sometimes nuts. Cemita is a savory roll, with sesame seeds on top, that is used to make tortas, huge tortas that are very famous in Puebla.

ball of dough in a stainless steel bowl with dough hook in it

Our Vegan Mexico Project

This recipe is part of an amazing project called Our Vegan Mexico, where 32 talented cooks will be showcasing, right here on Dora’s Table, 32 vegan Mexican recipes. Each recipe will be representing one state of the Mexican union.

dough hook stretching the dough to show the texture

With this project, I am hoping to encourage the Mexican community in the U.S., and the people of my country to take a chance and make the change to a plant-based diet. This recipe, which is representing the state of Chihuahua, is the creation of the talented Liliana Arellanes from @veganocosmico and here she is sharing her story with us.

Ball of dough resting in a stainless steel bowl

Liliana’s Story

My Name is Liliana Arellanes; I am from Chihuahua Mexico but have been living in Los Angeles, CA for the last 30 years. My path to Veganism began 25 years ago, for two fundamental reasons, respect, and compassion for all living beings, and respect for myself. Understanding above all, that it is not necessary to kill another living being in order to eat. In this way, we will be nourishing ourselves with Light and not death.

Pecans, raisins, orange zest and pilincillo are added to the dough in the bowl

 

I share the recipe of the famous “CHORREADAS DE PILONCILLO” a typical bread of the region, with a delicious flavor reminiscent of “small town” comfort food. I have added my personal touch, with raisins, nuts, and fragrant orange zest. It is an exquisite handmade sweet bread, with a spongy crumb that you can enjoy fresh out of the oven with a café de olla or a glass of almond milk.

 

dough mixed well and shaped into a ball again

The Recipe: Mexican Semita Bread (Semitas Chorreadas)

  • These semitas are the best when eaten still warm right out of the oven. If you eat them the next day be sure to warm them up before eating.
  • You can use ½ whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour to substitute the bread flour.

four balls of dough on a parchment lined sheet tray

  • The nuts and raisins are optional, but I think they add a special touch.
  • You can substitute the coconut butter with vegan butter.
  • You can use plant milk instead of water in the recipe, just make sure it’s warm.

basket of mexican semita bread and a white plate with slices of semita

a closeup of a piece of semita bread being held in a hand

Three mexican semita bread rolls in a basket on a light blue background
5 from 3 votes
Print

Mexican Semita Bread (Semitas Chorreadas)

Mexican Semita Bread, studded with pecans, raisins, orange zest and piloncillo.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pan dulce, semita bread, vegan mexican breakfast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 4 Medium sized rolls
824 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cup Bread flour
  • ½ cup Dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Ground anise seed
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground cinnamon (Ceylon)
  • 1/3 cup Coconut butter, about 3 oz
  • 1 ½ cups Warm water
  • ½ cup Chopped pecans
  • ½ cup Raisins, soaked in the juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp. Orange zest
  • 1 tsp. Active dry yeast
  • 3.5 oz Piloncillo (about ½ cup)
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients flour, sugar, anise, cinnamon, yeast, and salt
  2. Add the warm water and coconut butter to the bowl and knead.
  3. I use the hook attachment on my mixer at medium-low speed for 4-6 minutes or until the dough has come off the sides of the bowl and is stretchy but not sticky.
  4. If you don’t have a mixer you can knead by hand for 10 minutes or until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for an hour.
  6. To prepare your piloncillo, place it in a plastic bag, and crush it with the help of a hammer until finely ground.
  7. Separate the crushed piloncillo un half. Place half of the piloncillo in a small bowl and mix with 1 tsp. Flour. This will be used to top the semitas before baking.
  8. Once the dough is done rising, add the reaming half of the piloncillo, pecans, and orange zest and knead until all the ingredients are mixed evenly throughout.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. Divide the dough in four, roll the pieces tightly into rounds, and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Press down on the rounds lightly. Brush the rounds with your favorite plant milk, and top with the piloncillo and flour mixture. Press down slightly on the piloncillo topping with your hands.
  11. Cover the sheet tray with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.

Chef's Notes

  • These semitas are the best when eaten still warm right out of the oven. If you eat them the next day be sure to warm them up before eating.
  •  You can use ½ whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour to substitute the bread flour.
  • The nuts and raisins are optional, but I think they add a special touch.
  • You can substitute the coconut butter with vegan butter.
  • You can use plant milk instead of water in the recipe, just make sure it’s warm.
Nutrition Facts
Mexican Semita Bread (Semitas Chorreadas)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 824 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Sodium 263mg 11%
Potassium 381mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 149g 50%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 50g
Protein 16g 32%
Vitamin C 3.8%
Calcium 8.2%
Iron 17.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
1 reply
  1. Choclette
    Choclette says:

    Ooh, this is so interesting. Love finding out about new bakes and where they come from. I’ve not heard of semitas before, but they sound delicious.

    Reply

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