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Identify this pan dulce, por favor

I finally found a panadria I like and I’d like to know the actual names of those breads.

Everyone knows the ubiquitous conchas, but what is some of that other stuff? Here’s what I’ve gleaned to date with pictures. I’d appreciate any other contributions (or corrections) ... picture not necessary, just a name and a description. Are there any books out there about pan dulce?

This was an interesting history of pan dulce which are link to the French ... “. The French influence in Mexico peaked in the early 1900s during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, whose idea of modernizing and refining Mexico included a disdain for traditional Mexican cuisine in exchange for anything and everything French.”

Some of the pan dulce mentioned: BIGOTES (mustaches), ELOTE (ear of corn). OREJAS (ears similar to palmiers). ENCOCADAN (soft coconut buns), OJOS DE TORO (bull's eyes), as well as others mentioned below and pastries unique to certain bakeries.

This site with additional history says, “Estimates of the number of types of breads produced by Mexican bakers number between five hundred and two thousand different varieties.”

So perhaps it is hopeless, but I hope to become familiar with the more common names.

The San Francisco Chronicle had an excellent article a few years ago describing some of these breads.

Another good article

Many of the pictures are from this site which also includes the recipe ... in Spanish though.

The same site has a ton of Mexican desserts with pictures and recipes (gratuitous link)

This restaurant/bakery was a find. It had pictures of it’s pan dulce with Mexican names and English descriptions

There are photos of: PAN DE HUEVO (egg bread, white, chocolate, coconut & yellow), MARRANITO (gingerbread pigs), PIEDRA (spiced raisin cookies with pink icing), CREMAS DE FRESA (strawberries & cream flaky pastry), SEMITA DE ANIS (anise buns), PASTEL (white cake with pink sprinkled icing), GALLETAS (cookies, cinnamon, coconut, oatmeal, peanut butter, cherry center, cherry, pecan, chocolate), REPOSTERIA DE POLVO (shortbread),

These are my understanding ... and there are probably errors in here that I hope people will catch.

BISQUETS – One English forum called these “old fashioned biscuits” found in lots of panadrias in Mexico. Does anyone know what Latinos eat these biscuits with?

BOLILLO: This Mexican roll (by way of the French) is crusty outside and soft inside. It is used for tortas.

CHURRO: Fried dough rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Best hot, but lots of panadrias sell them cold. There’s a really cool churro guy near me who sells big coils that are chopped up into smaller pieces.

COLCHONES: Just the picture and recipe with no more info

CONCHA: The most common sweet roll with a seashell-like pattern cut into the top. See the sea shell pic for comparison.

CUERNITO FINO: These are never flaky like French croissants, but more like a soft sweet bread in the shape.

CUERNO: A larger glazed horn

DONAS: Just the Mexican word for plain old donuts

ENREDOS: These are flaky like French puff pastry.

NINO ENVUELTA: Literally 'wrapped-up baby.' which are jelly rolls.

EMPANADA: Turnovers. The shape and sugaring (or lack of) will sometime indicate what is inside.
Pina / pineapple (pointed
)Crema / custard (sugar)
Manzana / apple (rounded piecrust)
Calabaza / pumpkin (rounded, no sugar)


MOÑOS (bows)


PAN DE MUERTO: "bread of the dead" baked during All Saints and All Souls days, or Day of the Dead. The anise and orange flavored have many fanciful decorations.


PUERQUITO or COCHINTO: Pig-shaped soft molasses cookies

PICONES (jabbers)

POLVORONES: Round crumbly cookies, the Spanish name for dust.

ROSCA DE REYES: A sweet bread in a ring with candied fruit made for Epiphany (Jan. 6), A small doll is baked inside; the person whose slice has a small doll of the baby Jesus, has to throw a party on the Feast of the Candelaria, Feb. 2

TELERA: Like a bolillo, but flatter and softer, the better choice for tortas.

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  1. Colchones are essentially hot-cross buns minus the raisins and the sugar cross.

    1. RW - Empanadas can also be savory, stuffed with eggs, sausage and the like for breakfast or with meats for other meals. I have had empanadas in Brazil prepared like this. I don't know if they were borrowed from Mexico or vice-versa.

      Another interesting topic!

      6 Replies
      1. re: ZinGal

        Empanadas are a staple of Argentinian cuisine (and I only see them in Argentinian specialty eateries here in southern California). Were you in southern Brazil when you had them? There's a lot of crossover in culture in the Río de la Plata region of South America.

        1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

          Empanadas are a staple of every Latino cuisine. It's just a turnover. Even Filipinos have empanadas. Any panadria has the sweet version of the Mexican empanadas. I've ready the Mexicans have some savory versions but I don't think I've seen them personally even in Mexico City.

          1. re: rworange

            Yep-- after all, that's what the name expresses, something "breaded" (i.e., a filled flour pastry). The meat and savory veggie-filled empanadas appear more regularly on Argentinian menus in my experience.

            Having said that, I recall a Spanish dish called empanada gallega-- a specialty of Galicia. Instead of the individual filled turnovers, it was a family-sized two-shell free-form pie filled with tuna and onion and tomato. It's classic «comida casera española», but makes for very tasty tapas.

            1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

              Yes, there are lots of different kinds of empanadas/empanadillas in Spain. Empanadas are usually a whole tray with the pastry on the top and on the bottom. Empanadillas are the little filled pastries. My favorites are empanadas filled with seafood: octopus, scallops, tuna, even bacalao and apple or raisins.

              1. re: butterfly

                Very cool - octopus empanadas. I want to go to Spain now ... munch empanadas and shop for sardines.

              2. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                empanadas originated in Galicia Spain, they are a Galician symbol with a high quality flat pastry pie made from a yeast risen dough

        2. Ola rw! Me gusta el cocodrillo! Es el mas delicioso! Perdoneme por el espanol muy malo.

          1. Beautiful post!! :)

            A little more about Pan Dulce, typically Pan Dulce is enjoyed at night (It can be used at breakfast but as an accompaniment. Mexicans, of all classes, enjoy HEARTY breakfasts), that is why typically Panaderias are open till later in the evening. They are to be enjoyed with Coffee (Mexicans drink tea in the morning, coffee at night) and have a 'heartier' texture so they can be dipped, and a spongy texture so they can soak up a nice amount of Coffee (Or hot chocolate if you perfer).

            The Biscuits (one of my favorites! :)) are enjoyed the same way. They are there for those who perfer something less sweet. It seems like EVERYONE has favorites, that is why there is such a variety. There are Concha People, there are Oreja people and there are Biscuit people! :)

            There are some regional breads and seasonal breads through out Mexico. Hojaldra's are typical for Day of the Dead and the Rosca is our version of three kings cake. My ABSOLUTE favorite is the Hojaldra from Yucatan. A Pizza sized flat pastry, sprinkled with sugar on top and stuffed with Ham and Cheese. It's the BEST Ham and Cheese "Croissant" EVER... :)


            2 Replies
            1. re: Dommy

              Yum, that Hojaldra sounds good. I've got a place in San Francisco I'm going to ask if they will make it for me.

              Well, its good to know that when I was working in Mexico City I was eating my pan dulce at the correct time. Those fifteen hour plus work days I was putting in sometimes got me back at the hotel after room service turned off. My backup dinner was pan dulce bought earlier.

              1. re: rworange

                The flat one I describe is from Yucatecan. So if you got a Yucatecan bakery/restaurant that is your best bet. Holadras come in many shapes and forms depending on the region. :)


            2. are there any corn flour-based pan dulce out there?

              I reccomend the Oaxacan Pan de Yema if you can find it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kare_raisu

                Little corn muffins (Slightly sweet and delicate in texture. Not overly dry) are very popular... :)

                There are also denser drier cookies that are shapped like corn.. :)

              2. I am having a Pan Dulce I picked up yesterday with my coffee, which I believe might be a polvorone but I am not sure. It has a crumbly, biscotti or shortbread texture, with either a wonderful nut or anis flavoring and is in the shape of a round wreath. It's yellow and was described to me as being corn-based -which i asked for- but I dont think it is.

                1. I went to El Tigre Market where I saw a Pan called "Libros" any ideas as to what this is?

                  1. "Dommy replied...
                    They are to be enjoyed with Coffee (Mexicans drink tea in the morning, coffee at night) "

                    Its true that they are to be enjoyed with coffee, but I dont know how you got the idea that Mexicans drink tea in the morning and coffee at night. A Mexicans breakfast starts out with just a plain and simple coffee with bread, or a concha. Mexicans tend to drink coffee all day long. Although there are those that do not enjoy the taste of coffee and perhaps drink tea. I see my mom everyday drink coffee in the morning for her breakfast with some sort of bread. My aunt too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ripkisses

                      You are right, I should not have put it so simply, but in my Yucatecan family we were ALWAYS given tea for our health in the morning. And Dinners were always capped off by a cup of coffee... The reason I point this out is that often my American friends are amazed I can drink coffee at night and not get buzzed... LOL! But you are correct, Coffee is available and enjoyed in the morning.


                    2. I picked up a Pan that I have never before seen from my favorite Panaderia, a Oaxaqueno in Escondido, CA. I have no clue as to its name, maybe you guys can help?

                      It consists of two ultra thin cake-pan-shaped crisp yellow (corn-tortilla colored) cookies, encasing a canela-tinged meringue with shreds of coconut.

                      Utterly Delicious.

                        1. re: kare_raisu

                          Wow. Thanks alot. I've been going to a place near me just because they have some of the names attached. Interesting those cookies are the Mexican version of polvorones. Now I have to try one. I've been snubbing them. Also need to get a fresh novia ... heh ... cute name.

                        2. I am searching and searching for information on the Mexican pastry called " NOVIA". I would like to know it's origin and the story behind it and maybe the recipe. I am told the pastry/bread represents the wedding brides dress or hair. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

                          1. About empanadas: Savory flaky empanadas are very common at least in Mexico City with fillings like tuna in tomato and caper sauce, ham and cheese, rajas con queso, picadillo con pasas and chicken with mole. In the state of Hidalgo, pastes are part of daily diet. Pastes are traditionally filled with potatoes, leeks, parsley, ground beef, and lots of black pepper and are believed to be the legacy (along with the first soccer league in the country) of several British mining companies and their workers, who came mostly from Corwall in 1824 and brought their Pasties. Now you can find many dififferent fillings for the pastes, but the original one is always a favorite.

                            And about bisquets: People eat them in many ways, with a pat of butter and strawberry jam, refried beans, red mole, honey, dunked in hot café con leche in a "cafe de chinos".

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mjs

                              Interesting ... thanks.

                              One thing I'm finding ... usually you can't go wrong with anything with rajas and cheese.

                            2. I recently returned from a road trip around the Yucatan peninsula where I had the must delicious "pan" but I can't figure out what it is called. i haven't been able to find it in the bay area. Let me describe it and maybe someone can point me in the right direction.
                              It was basically and sweet soft bread topped with cheese and ham, then finally covered in a sugary glaze. It was delicious! I found it in both Merida and Cancun in a grocery store. I've asked some people at bakerys that specialize in these kinds of treats but no one knows what I'm talking about. Help please..

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Brew Beared

                                Post over on teh Mexico board and ask the name there. Start a new topic with a title something like "Need the name of ham and cheese bread from the Yucatan.

                                1. re: Brew Beared

                                  That is a Yucatecan Hojaldra. Sadly it's a yucatecan speciality and you can only get it at Yucatecan bakeries... sometimes you even have to special order it.

                                  Also, depending on the neighborhood, it can take different shapes. The one in the neighborhood I'm from makes it like roll....


                                  The Yucatecan Bakery near my home in Los Angeles who's family comes from more of the outskirts of Merida makes it flat like a pizza (although they take special orders and instruction on how to make them... ;)