Homemade Bolillos (Mexican Sandwich Bread)

These homemade bolillos are so easy to make with only 6 ingredients. This fluffy Mexican bread has the perfect amount of chew and a thin crust that makes it ideal for sandwiches.

If you have never tried a bolillo before you are in for a treat because this simple bread makes the best sandwiches. It slices well, has the perfect balance between chewy and fluffy, and has a thin, crispy crust that’s just plain satisfying to bite into. You can use bolillos to make tortas, turn them into bread pudding, or serve them with eggs. Another popular way to eat these is by dunking them in hot chocolate.

What Are Bolillos?

Bolillos are a kind of savory bread roll from Mexico. They are not “traditional” Mexican food in the sense that this kind of bread was introduced to Mexico in the mid-1800s by Emperor Maximillian’s cooks during the French intervention. Bolillos are similar to a French baguette and are shaped like a small football. The word “bolillo” means “spindle,” which refers to the rolling pin that you use when making this bread.

How to Make Bolillos from Scratch

Proof the yeast. Mix the yeast with warm water and sugar. Lightly stir and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.

Make the dough. After your yeast has been proofed, add the flour, salt, more warm water and the oil to the same bowl. Mix until a dough forms, then switch to your dough hook and knead for 4 minutes on low. You can also knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop with your hands. If the dough is still too sticky after 4 minutes, slowly add more flour until the dough is just pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 8-10 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic in texture.

Let rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size as shown above.

Cut the dough into pieces. After the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Shape the bolillo rolls. To form the rolls, work with one piece of dough at a time. Slightly press the dough down on your surface to create a thick disk shape. Fold 1⁄3 of the dough towards you and press down to tightly seal. Fold the dough again and repeat sealing tightly until a roll forms. To shape the rolls, use your whole open cupped hand to gently press on the dough. Roll the dough back and forth, using the edge of your palm to shape into the traditional bolillo football shape.

Second rise. Place each roll seam side down on an oil brushed parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly cover with an oil-lined plastic wrap and let rest again for an additional 60 minutes. With the edge of a sharp knife, score each bolillo down the center. Don’t cut too deeply.

Bake the bolillos. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Tips for Success

Bolillos are super easy to make, but I do have 3 important tips:

  • Be gentle with your yeast. By this I mean, don’t kill it with hot water. When you add the water to the dry ingredients it should be just warm. Not sure if it’s too hot? Do the baby bottle test by dabbing a small amount of water on the inside of your wrist, where the skin is sensitive. If the water feels hot to you, then it’s too hot for the yeast!
  • Use bread flour. Although I usually use all-purpose flour for baking, it is important to use bread flour for these Mexican rolls. This kind of flour will give you the chewy texture that is essential for a good bolillo.
  • Don’t rush. As with most yeasted breads, giving the dough the full amount of time to rise will create fluffier, more flavorful bread. Make sure you do both rise times completely.
Homemade bolillo made into a sandwich with carnitas
A torta ahogada served with lime wedges!

Ways to Use Your Mexican Sandwich Bread

Where to begin? There are as many ways to use bolillos as there are to use a baguette. I sometimes eat bolillos warm from the oven with a slice of good cheese as a snack. I know that is incredibly simple, but it’s also super satisfying. In Mexico, people often dunk bolillos into Mexican hot chocolate for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Bolillos of course make incredible sandwiches. Whatever your favorite kind of sandwich is, swap a homemade bolillo for your usual bread and you’ll instantly elevate your meal to something extra. And if you really want to go all out, you can make tortas ahogadas (drowned sandwiches) with these rolls. These are sandwiches smothered in sauce, and they are so, so good.

I have a few kinds of meat recipes that would be fantastic stuffed into a bolillo:

  • Birria Meat – Use extra meat from my birria tacos for sandwiches.
  • Pot Roast – This Instant Pot Pot Roast recipe makes incredibly tender and flavorful meat that would be amazing with bolillos!
  • Carnitas – This pork carnitas recipe is literally the perfect match for bolillos. This is what I use to make tortas ahogadas.
  • Chicken Thighs – Remove the meat from these juicy chicken thighs, shred it, then stuff it into a bolillo.

How to Store & Freeze

  • Counter. Let your bread cool completely, then store it in airtight containers on the counter for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. Wrap each bolillo in saran wrap then place the wrapped bolillos in an airtight, freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw on the counter for a few hours when you’re reading to use a bolillo.
Print

Homemade Bolillos (Mexican Sandwich Bread)

Homemade bolillos on a wood cutting board
Save Recipe

These homemade bolillos are so easy to make with only 6 ingredients. This fluffy Mexican bread has the perfect amount of chew and a thin crust that makes it ideal for sandwiches.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Rising Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 bolillos
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

  • 3 1/24 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil, plus more for greasing

Instructions

Proof the yeast. Mix the yeast with warm water and sugar. Lightly stir and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to proof.

Make the dough. After your yeast has been proofed, add the flour, salt, more warm water and the oil to the same bowl. Mix until a dough forms, then switch to your dough hook and knead for 4 minutes on low. You can also knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop with your hands. If the dough is still too sticky after 4 minutes, slowly add more flour until the dough is just pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 8-10 more minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic in texture.

Let rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size as shown above.

Cut the dough into pieces. After the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Shape the bolillo rolls. To form the rolls, work with one piece of dough at a time. Slightly press the dough down on your surface to create a thick disk shape. Fold 1⁄3 of the dough towards you and press down to tightly seal. Fold the dough again and repeat sealing tightly until a roll forms. To shape the rolls, use your whole open cupped hand to gently press on the dough. Roll the dough back and forth, using the edge of your palm to shape into the traditional bolillo football shape.

Second rise. Place each roll seam side down on an oil brushed parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly cover with an oil-lined plastic wrap and let rest again for an additional 60 minutes. With the edge of a sharp knife, score each bolillo down the center. Don’t cut too deeply.

Bake the bolillos. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Notes

How to Store 

  • Counter. Let your bread cool completely, then store it in airtight containers on the counter for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. Wrap each bolillo in saran wrap then place the wrapped bolillos in an airtight, freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw on the counter for a few hours when you’re reading to use a bolillo.

Keywords: bolillo bread, Mexican bread, bread rolls, sandwich bread

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe & leave a comment to let me know. 🙂

Please don’t screenshot or copy/paste recipes to social media or other sites. But I’d LOVE it if you shared a link! 💖

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links to products that I use, which can earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating