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Three Semitas de Yema on a wooden board with a coffee cup.

Semitas de Yema

A recipe for Semitas de Yema from the cookbook, New World Sourdough, written by Bryan Ford. This semisweet, dense pastry is topped with a crumbly, coconut oil-based crust for a wonderful contrast in texture and flavor.
Course Bread
Cuisine Honduran
Keyword bread, Honduran, Honduras, pastry, sourdough
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16 Semitas


Levain Build:

  • 100 grams mature sourdough starter
  • 150 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 200 grams warm water

Final Dough Mix:

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams egg yolks
  • 250 grams granulated sugar
  • 250 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100 grams water
  • 350 grams levain
  • 5 grams salt

La Cubierta:

  • 200 grams all-purpose flour plus more as needed
  • 150 grams coconut oil
  • 100 grams granulated sugar


To build the levain:

  • In a tall jar or medium bowl, mix the mature starter, flours, and warm water until incorporated.
  • Cover with a lid or clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours until doubled. You can use your levain immediately, or refrigerate it for 12 hours to use later or the next day.

To make the final dough mix:

  • In a large bowl, mix all the final dough mix ingredients, squeezing them with both hands until a dough starts to come together.
  • Cover the dough with a clean kitchen cloth or plastic bag and let ferment at room temperature for 6 hours.
  • Refrigerate the dough for 12 hours.

To make la cubierta:

  • Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter while you make la cubierta.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, coconut oil, and granulated sugar.
  • Whisk rapidly until you have a soft, crumbly mixture. You want it to be more dry than wet, so, if needed, add a bit more flour. Turn the mixture out on to a work surface and gently knead it into a ball. Set aside.

To shape and proof the dough:

  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Divide the dough into 120-gram pieces (about 16) and shape each one using the balling up technique.
  • When you divide the dough, on a lightly floured surface (note here that too much flour may make it impossible to create tension in the ball of dough), gently pat the dough pieces down.
  • Fold the corners into the middle and flip the dough over. Now, use the palm of your hand and your fingers to roll the ball back and forth until you have a small ball of dough and a smooth surface. Do not let the surface of the dough tear, which means you have shaped it too tightly. If you don't want to waste the torn dough, let it rest for a while and try to shape it again.
  • Take a small handful of the cubierta mixture (around 20 grams, but you don't need to measure); make a flat disk with the mixture and place it on top of each rounded dough ball. Place the dough rounds on the prepared sheet pan.
  • Proof the dough at room temperature for 4 hours (create a warm environment by covering the dough with a large plastic bag that doesn't touch the dough) or until you see some cracking in the cubierta and growth in size.
  • You'll know the dough is ready to bake when the cubierta is cracking; however, it may not always crack. Use a razor blade or knife to cut some designs into the cubierta before baking, as desired.

To bake the bread:

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  • Bake the semitas on the sheet pan for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Let cool for 15 or 20 minutes to ensure they are cooked all the way through before eating. Remember, these are best enjoyed with your favorite cup of coffee. Dip it in and enjoy.