Bolillo, Mexico’s Favorite White Bread

Bolillos.

The Spruce

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Rise: 90 mins
  • Servings: 10 servings
  • Yields: 10 loaves
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
58 Calories
1g Fat
8g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 58
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 183mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 4g
Calcium 26mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In spite of the (well-deserved) international fame of Mexican sweet bread, bolillos may well be the most Mexican bread of all. A bolillo is a small loaf of plain white bread, crusty on the outside with a soft interior. It is the type of bread most often used to accompany Mexican meals, and it is an integral part of the everyday food scene in Mexico.

Bolillo is the bread most often used for making molletes and tortas, and is routinely cut into slices and served in a basket with a meal. The soft, doughy insides of a bolillo are known as the migajón. The migajón is often pulled out and discarded when turning a bolillo into a torta or when using the bread to push food around on a plate, leaving the firmer outside layer of the loaf to do the job.

Despite its popularity, most Mexicans don't make their own bread at home; both sweet and savory loaves are often acquired from local bakeries, supermarkets, or directly from people selling it door to door. Bread baking is definitely both a science and an art, and it can take years to master it at home. These bolillos are a good beginner recipe—they're very simple to make with just six ingredients and only a bit of kneading.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg white (beaten)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bolillo ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the water.

    Yeast for bread-making.
     The Spruce
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar.

    Dry ingredients for bread.
     The Spruce
  4. Add the flour mixture to the yeast and water a little at a time, mixing until a dough forms. If a cohesive dough does not form with this ratio of flour to water, add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

    Mixing wet and dry bread ingredients.
     The Spruce
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel or cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

    Bolillos dough resting.
     The Spruce
  6. Remove dough from bowl, punch it down, and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, until smooth.

    Kneading bolillos dough.
     The Spruce
  7. Divide dough into 10 balls.

    Bolillos dough divided.
     The Spruce
  8. Cover with a towel and let loaves rise again for about 30 minutes. For oval-shaped rolls (the usual bolillo shape), roll the balls between your palms for about 5 seconds to make a cylindrical shape, tapering slightly at the ends. Place pieces on one or more baking sheets.

    Bolillo dough balls.
     The Spruce
  9. Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C. ​Brush each dough ball with egg white. Score each roll longways on the top about 1/4-inch deep.

    Homemade Mexican Bolillos
     The Spruce
  10. Bake loaves for about 30 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and eat warm or let cool completely and store tightly covered.

    Mexican Bolillos