The Juiciest Birria Torta Sandwich (With Cheese Crust)

Tortas are simply a perfect sandwich, but this takes it a step further. Perfectly juicy birria, homemade telera bread, and a consome so good

Tortas are simply a perfect sandwich, but this takes it a step further. Perfectly juicy birria, homemade telera bread, and a consome so good you could practically drink it, which you probably will.


INGREDIENTS:

Telera Bread:

  • 1 tablespoon (14g) instant yeast

  • 375g water

  • 1 tablespoon (17g) honey

  • 4.5 cups (675g) All-purpose flour

  • 1.5 teaspoons (9g) fine sea salt

  • 1.5 tablespoons (23g) lard or bacon grease

Birria:

  • 1 lb (454g) boneless chuck roast

  • 3 short rib

  • 1.5 lbs (680g) oxtail

  • 5 ancho chilies

  • 5 guajillo chilies

  • 2 chilies de Arbol

  • 2.5 quarts (2.36 L) rich beef stock

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon (5g) toasted coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon (8g) toasted black peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped

  • 1 tablespoon 12g tomato paste

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • salt to taste

Yum Yum Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (185g) mayo

  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream

  • 2 teaspoons (5g) chipotle powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1g) cumin powder

  • 3 cloves grated garlic

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) Cholula hot sauce

  • salt and pepper to taste

Assembly:

  • 4 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese

  • 1 sweet onion, finely diced and rinsed

  • 1 cup very finely chopped cilantro

  • 2 tomatoes, sliced thin

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, very finely sliced

  • 2 avocados, sliced 2.5.”

  • yum yum sauce


INSTRUCTIONS:

Telera Bread:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Whisk the yeast in the water (95F) till dissolved, let it sit for five minutes, then whisk in honey and reserve.

  2. In a separate bowl mix, flour and sea salt. Add the yeast mixture to your stand mixer bowl and set the speed to medium-low; then add your flour, one full spoon at a time, until you add it all.

  3. Once it begins to form a dough, add lard, and let that mix for five minutes or until you get a smooth dough, give it a couple of kneads by hand, roll it into a ball, place on a greased bowl, wrap with plastic wrap and rise for one hour or till double the size.

  4. Punch down your dough to degass, place on a lightly floured surface, and cut into six even pieces. Form those pieces into balls and let them rest for 5 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.

  5. Roll each ball into a rough cylinder (about 7” in length), tapering the ends, then using a greased straw, press two indentations length-wise, evenly spaced apart into the dough.

  6. Place your finished dough on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper, and repeat with the rest of your dough.

  7. Cover with an inverted baking sheet, wrap with plastic wrap, and let it proof at room temperature for 25 minutes or until puffed and nearly doubled. Spray with water and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

  8. Let them cool at room temperature on a wire rack.

Birria:

  1. Start by removing the stems and seeds of ancho and guajillo chilies, as well as chilies de Arbol.

  2. Season all the meat generously with salt. In a large oiled pot heated over medium heat, add the meat in batches and sear 2-3 minutes on all sides. Once seared, take out the meat and leave it on the side.

  3. Add a bit more oil to the pot back on medium heat and add chopped onions. Saute until just softened.

  4. Once softened, add tomato paste and cook down until paste darkens.

  5. At which point, add sliced garlic and saute until fragrant, and add rich beef stock. Finally, mix and add in chilies.

  6. Add the meat back in.

  7. Separately in cheesecloth, add black peppercorns, toasted coriander, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Fold together and tie tightly.

  8. Toss the spice bag mixture into the stock, bring a light simmer, and cover. Braise for 1-hour, stirring occasionally.

  9. After 1 hour, remove the chilies and place them into a blender with a bit of stock liquid and blend until smooth.

  10. Pour back into the stew and bring back to a simmer—cover and braise for 90 minutes.

  11. Remove the meat (and any bones) and shred using a fork.

  12. Season the rest of the broth with salt and place to the side.

Yum Yum Sauce:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a small-size bowl and reserve.

Assembly:

  1. Season your avocado slices with some flaky (ideally smoked) and lime juice.

  2. Heat a non-stick 12” pan, sprinkle enough cheese to coat the bottom of the pan, let that melt, and continue to cook, fluctuating the heat up and down as needed until the underside of the cheese is brown and crisp (2 to 4 minutes).

  3. Sprinkle a line of your diced onion, a line of cilantro, then layer in enough beef or one sandwich, roughly in the same shape as your telera bread.

  4. Then wrap your cheese around the meat to fully encase it (almost like a burrito).

  5. Get your telera, cut it in half, brush the cut sides with your birria beef fat, toast it in a pan till crisp, spread a generous amount of your “Yum Yum sauce” on both sides of the bread.

  6. Add your avocado slices and a nice stack of lettuce to the bottom piece, add a few tomato slices (seasoned with salt) to the other side; then add your wrapped cheese birria and finally crown your torta with the top piece of telera bread.


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