Hold up wait a minute! I recently revamped this recipe. Check it out! Mallorca Bread: Soft Puerto Rican Bread Rolls
I don’t think I can count all the happy and fun memories this bread brings up. Every time I go home to visit I have to get my hands on a warm buttery mallorca. In Puerto Rico every small town has at least one large bakery with an array of delicious pastries and breads and you almost always find mallorca. If there is one weakness I have when I visit Puerto Rico it’s the bakeries. I go on a all out carb gorge when I visit, picking up bread in the morning for breakfast and pastries to have with my after dinner cup of cafe con leche.
Mallorca bread is a sweet, fluffy and buttery egg bread. It is perfect to have sliced and buttered with a cup of coffee or you can also have a savory sandwich version with a slice of ham and Swiss. Pan de Mallorca (mallorca bread) originates from the Ensaïmades bread from the Spanish island of Majorca, which is why we call it Mallorca.
If there is one place that I MUST go visit when I am home in Puerto Rico, it is La Bombonera. La Bombonera is rich part of Puerto Rico’s culture. It is on Calle San Francisco in Old San Juan and was established in 1902, four years after the island was ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War. My mother would take my sister and I when we were young to La Bombonera on Saturday mornings and she would tell us about how she use to come with my Grandfather when she was little. When you walk in it is like entering a time warp, the waitstaff is very friendly and they wear white shirts with bow ties and red vests and the “decor” hasn’t been updated since at least 1950. There are all different kinds of people who visit La Bombonera, you will find people who have been coming there for years sometimes decades and tourist who just got off the cruise ship and are rosy red from all their time in the sun. Most of all La Bombonera is famous for their mallorcas. They sit in the window, plump, buttery and dusted with powdered sugar just begging you to come in and eat one. If you ever visit you must try a mallorca with a cup of cafe con leche, which is made from an espresso machine, that has to be the same one they have had since it opened. The machine looks like it has seen its share of battles but it makes a mean cup of coffee. (Visit Tasting Memories for pictures of La Bombonera)
Another memory that comes to mind and makes me chuckle, is sitting out en el balcon (on the porch) early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I could hear from a block away a megaphone with a lot of static announcing “el panadero…el panadero”. Eventually the sound would approach my house and a car would drive by with a megaphone rigged (I am sure coat hangers where used) to the roof of a beat up old car announcing “el panadero…el panadero” , which mean “the breadman….the breadman”, calling out to the neighborhood letting everyone know that he had fresh bread for sale. People would come out of their homes in their robes and flag him down to buy bread for breakfast. I remember on a few occasions picking out a bag of mallorcas and some pan de agua. It was great since you didn’t have to get all dressed up to go to the bakery.
It is funny how when you live in an area where certain ingredients are easy to come-by (ie. Florida and Puerto Rico) you take it for granted but ever since we moved out to Oklahoma I have been more driven to tie into my culinary roots. Late last week I got in my head that I would try to make some mallorcas. I went hunting around on the Internet and first came across this recipe. I gave it a try and although they were good it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, they weren’t fluffy or sweet enough. Also it used a rolling and slicing technique instead of a coil and it just didn’t translate in my brain. When I see a mallorca it looks like a big fat coil, not like a plain cinnamon roll. The next day I hit the Internet again determined to find a satisfactory recipe. I could have tweaked the one I already had, but I am not confident enough in my baking skills to go and tweak a bread recipe. After a short amount of searching I found this recipe on The Recipe Link. It had more eggs, more sugar, more rising and it used the coil technique, I was in.
On Sunday after church I decided to give this new recipe a go. It was easy although a bit time consuming since it has to rise 3 times, 45 mins. to an hour each time, but it was worth it. They had all the elements that I wanted in a mallorca. They were just a little sweet, very soft and fluffy and ohhhhh so buttery. The smell of the bread baking was intoxicating. At one point Obed (a.k.a Hubby, which I will now call by his name) came into the kitchen and declared that it smelled like a Puerto Rican bakery. He then did his signature “dance” of excitement, slapping his hand together, rubbing them together, while doing a little hop/skip thing that he does. You have to see it to get it.
These mallorcas were divine and for just a moment they transported me back home, during my childhood when I would tear pieces off bit-by-bit and lick the butter and poweder sugar off my fingers. That night we each had one for dessert with a glass of milk and then one in the morning with coffee. I took the rest into the office, ergo avoiding a mass consumption of mallorca when I got home from work. Otherwise it would have taken every ounce of my being to not eat them all in one sitting.