Slideshow: Behind the Scenes: Buñuelos at Mekato's Colombian Bakery

Buñuelos
Buñuelos
Everyone should have the pleasure of eating a fresh-from-the-fryer buñuelo at least once in their life. Luckily this is an easy thing to cross off your bucket list as Mekato's makes fresh buñuelos every single morning between 7:30 and 8am. If you score a fresh buñuelo, the first thing you may notice is its heft. This is one serious baseball-sized piece of fried dough. But once you break into the chewy, cheesy crust, you're rewarded with an airy, steaming interior that's similar to the moist deliciousness that is the inside of a freshly-baked baguette.
Old School
Old School
The dry ingredients in a buñuelo include white flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, corn starch, a touch of sugar, and a proprietary blend of five different kinds of cheese. All of the dry ingredients are added one on top of the other to one side of an old-school balance scale.
Cheese!
Cheese!
What gives the buñuelos their distinctive savory flavor: a blend of five different cheeses.
Portioning the Dough
Portioning the Dough
Dough is portioned by hand and then given a quick roll into a round ball before getting dropped into the fryer.
Double Up
Double Up
The ball of dough will nearly double in size after several minutes in the fryer.
Quick Hands
Quick Hands
During the holiday season—especially December—John said they make thousands of buñuelos a day. His baker will spend almost the entire day at the fyer so it's clear that he's a pro. As he drops a ball of dough into the oil with one hand, the other is already portioning out the next ball.
Big Batch
Big Batch
In order to get through the massive portion of dough quickly, partially cooked buñuelos are moved into another fryer to finish cooking in order to free up space in the first fryer for more dough.
Pile o' Bunuelos
Pile o' Bunuelos
The buñuelos are pulled out when they reach just the right golden brown color. John explained that many things can go wrong in the production process; if the wrong cheeses are used, if not enough cheese is used, if the recipe is a little off, or if the oil is the wrong temperature the buñuelos can come out greasy or misshapen or may just not taste right.
Steamy and Chewy
Steamy and Chewy
John cracked open (and yes, the crust is so substantial, you literally crack into one) a fresh buñuelo to show me the steamy, moist interior. This girl has never had anything quite like it with its pleasantly chewy and crispy crust that contrasts well with a light cheesy interior.