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Mexican Bolillo Recipe – How to Make it in 13 Simple Steps

With a crispy, crunchy exterior and a soft, delicious interior, the Mexican Bolillo is a traditional Mexican bread that natives of Mexico will eat at any time of day. You can make these tasty rolls at home, but be sure you use water to create steam in the baking process.

These are pieces of Mexican Bolillos on a wooden table.

Most people are familiar with the tortilla as a traditional form of flatbread eaten in Mexico and other Central American countries. However, next to the tortilla, the Mexican Bolillo is one of the most popular breads eaten in Mexico. These oval shaped rolls have soft, tender insides and crispy, crunchy crusts.

These are pieces of Mexican Bolillos on a wooden table.

Mexican Bolillo Recipe

April Freeman
The Mexican Bolillo is popular because it is so very flexible. People eat these tasty rolls for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are eaten toasted for breakfast with coffee, filled with meat, mayo, and veggies as a lunch sandwich, and are paired with all kinds of dishes like birria or mole for dinner. 
Prep Time 4 hrs
Baking Time 25 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 25 mins
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10 Rolls


  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Stand Mixer
  • Baguette Pan
  • Sharp knife
  • Wire Rack


Starter Ingredients

  • ¾ cup Water
  • ½ teaspoon Yeast
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour or bread flour

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour or bread flour
  • teaspoons Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ cup Shortening melted and cooled
  • 1 cup Warm Water


  • The night before you plan on baking the bread, you will want to prepare the starter. Stir together in a small bowl the water, yeast, and flour listed for the starter.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid and let the bowl sit out on the counter in a warm spot overnight. When you begin with a starter like this one, your bread will have greater flavor. The next morning the starter will have grown in volume and have plenty of bubbles.
    The starter dough has risen after hours.
  • The next morning, using a large bowl, stir together the starter from the night before with the flour, salt, yeast, and the melted shortening. If the humidity is high, you may need slightly less water than one cup.
    The starter and flour are mixed in the stand mixer.
  • Now you will need to knead the dough. You can do this by hand, or you can use a stand mixer that has a dough hook. To knead with a mixer, you should knead it for about 7 or 8 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, it will take about 15 minutes. The dough will start to pull together into a ball and have a smooth, elastic texture when it is fully kneaded.
    The dough of the bread is formed in the stand mixer.
  • Use a paper towel dipped in oil or shortening to grease the interior of a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and roll the dough ball around so that it is greased all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot for two or three hours or until the dough ball has doubled in size.
    The dough has doubled in size in the large bowl.
  • After the dough is risen, punch the dough down by pushing your fist into the center of the dough ball. Press the dough into a ball, pushing all the air out.
  • On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into about 10 pieces. Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. This will help the dough to be more elastic and workable.
  • Press each piece of dough into an oval shape. Fold the long side of dough down by one third, and then fold the bottom up by a third. Press the edges together to seal them in a sort of football shape. Repeat the process until you have a roll with slightly pointed ends and the seams pressed tightly together. You may need to roll the dough on the work surface to shape them. Place each roll on a lightly greased baking pan, seam side down. If you have a baguette pan, these pans are ideal to help the rolls keep their shapes. 
    The dough is cut and shaped into small ovals.
  • Cover the rolls lightly with greased plastic wrap or waxed paper and let them rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes.
  • About 20 minutes before your rising time is up, turn your oven on to 450 degrees to preheat. Place a metal pan in the bottom of the oven as it is heating. 
  • When the rolls have doubled in size, use a sharp knife or a razor blade to slash the tops of the rolls with one long cut. 
  • Spray the rolls with warm water and put them into the preheated oven. Add a cup and a half of cold water to the pan in the bottom of the oven. The steam will help the rolls bake up with a lovely crisp crust. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool them on a wire rack. Store in a plastic bag that is tightly sealed. The rolls will keep for several days at room temperature. You can also freeze them for up to a month. 
    The oval bread pieces are browned in the oven.
  • To reheat frozen rolls, thaw the bread slightly and spray them with a bit of water. Put the slightly thawed rolls in a 400-degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they are warm and crispy. 
    This is a close look at pieces of freshly-baked traditional Mexican bolillos.


The Bolillo was created during a time when the French nation had a great presence in Mexico. The natives took the classic French bread recipe and adapted it to create the Bolillo. Like French bread, the Bolillo has a soft, tasty interior, and a crispy exterior. 
Keyword Breakfast, Mexican Bolillo, Recipe

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