Bolillos – Mexican Crusty Rolls

A bolillo or pan francés (which means “French bread”) is a sort of savoury bread historically made in Mexico. It is a variation of the baguette, however shorter in size and is commonly baked in a stone oven. Brought to Mexico City within the 1860s by Emperor Maximilian’s troupe of cooks, its use shortly unfold all through the nation.

It is about 15 cm (six inches) long, in the shape of an ovoid, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside generally known as migajón. It is the primary ingredient for tortas and molletes. A variation of the bolillo is the telera, which is very similar, although it has a more rounded form, is split in three sections, and is normally softer. Other variations include bolillos made of alternate ingredients such as whole wheat, wheat germ, or flax.

  • In Yucatán, they are known as barras.
  • In Guadalajara and Sonora, they are called birotes which are often made with sourdough.
  • In northern Mexico, they are known both as bolillos and pan blanco, whereas in northeast Mexico it is known as pan francés.
  • In Sinaloa, they are called torcido and birote.
  • In Central America, especially in El Salvador, it is also known as pan francés.
  • In Panama, a similar but longer type of bread is known as flauta (flute) while pan francés refers to the thinner, crustier French baguette.
  • In Brazil, a similar bread is made and known as pão francês or pão de sal (“bread of salt”).
Bolillos - Mexican Crusty Rolls
Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Bread Rolls
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 sachet yeast (7g)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  1. Pour water into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle yeast onto it.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Add flour mixture to water a little at a time and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel or cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
  5. 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.
  6. Cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 190°C and brush each dough ball with egg whites.
  8. Score each roll with 5 cm lines along the top, about ½ cm deep.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes.

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