Mexicans are also bread consumers, mostly of Pan Dulce, the sweet bread variety or Bolillos, the bread roll similar to French bread. Panaderias or bakeries abound in Mexico that they are found even in the small villages. These panaderias sell breads, rolls, cakes, and cookies that are bursting in colors & topped with sprinkles and sugar paste. One may find the panaderia choices quite overwhelming but the taste of the breads, even if they differ in color or design, are surprisingly often just the same. Bread recipes are not exactly cookbook favorites, because Mexicans need not bake breads. They just have to drop by the panaderias, after all.
Bolillo is a type of salty bread that is very similar to the French bread and is considered a variation of the baguette. In fact, it was actually believed that the French inspired the creation of bolillos. Bolillo means bobbin or spindle, and the bread shares the name with a short rolling pin used to make breads. The bread has a crispy, flavorful crust and a soft, chewy crumb. The dough is usually formed into a football shaped roll. Bolillos are often used for the Mexican sandwich called torta. If the bolillo is scored to create three sections along the length of the football shape, then it is called a telera. Traditionally, bolillos are cooked in large rock ovens for that crunchy crust, a feature that makes this kind of bread quite appealing. Freshly-baked bolillos are best and may be consumed at any time of the day. Accompaniments such as eggs and some pan fried meat are suggested but a simple milk or chocolate milk over a split bolillo will already make a hearty snack. A bolillo recipe will need the following:
* 4 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 package yeast
* 2 cups warm water
* 1 egg white, whisked
In a large mixing bowl, pour the water and sprinkle the yeast on it. Get another bowl and mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add this flour mixture to the water and yeast bowl a little at a time and mix until a dough forms. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with towel or cloth. Leave this in a warm place for about an hour to let the dough rise. Remove dough from bowl, punch it down and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into 10 balls. For oval shaped rolls, roll the balls between your palms for about 5 seconds to make a cylindrical shape, tapering slightly at the ends. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush each dough ball with egg whites. Score each roll with two, 2-inch lines along the top, about 1/4 inch deep. Bake for about 30 minutes.
My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats
Pan Dulce is one of the sweet pastries that are famous in Mexico. The name literally means “sweet bread” that Mexicans love to eat during merienda or in-between meal snacks. Pan Dulce does not have preservatives so their shelf life is just short. To make Pan Dulce, one will need:
* 1 tablespoon or one package dry yeast
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup lukewarm water
* 3 1/2 cups flour
* 4 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
And for the toppings:
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup flour
* 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
* optional- food coloring
Start by making the bread itself. Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and yeast into lukewarm water and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cream the shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl and slowly add the eggs, salt and the water & yeast mixture. Add the flour one cup at a time until a dough is formed. Cover with towel or cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Divide dough into 16 pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet with plenty of space between each dough ball. Press each ball slightly to flatten it. Let the dough rise for an hour. Prepare the topping while waiting for the dough to rise. Mix all the topping ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Using the hands, divide the topping into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and roll it out on a floured surface until it is large enough to cover each piece of dough, about 5 inches in diameter. Lightly press the topping onto dough and use a knife to cut a pattern into the topping, but not into the dough. Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the bread is lightly golden.
Breads and Pastries generally make up a nice Mexican meal and can even substitute as smaller and lighter fare. The Mexican’s love for eating and appealing food make breads and pastries a must present on the dining table!
For more bread and pastries recipes, we suggest this great book by Fany Gerson: