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Bolillo
Bolillos rolls.JPG
Alternative names Pan francés (El Salvador)
Type Bread
Place of origin Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
Region or state Americas

A bolillo or pan francés (meaning "French bread") is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico, but also made in Central America. It is a variation of the baguette, but shorter in length and is often baked in a stone oven. Brought to Mexico City in the 1860s by Emperor Maximilian's troupe of cooks, its use quickly spread throughout the country.

It is roughly 15 centimeters (5.9 in) long, in the shape of an ovoid, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside known as migajón. It is the main ingredient for tortas and molletes. It has a slash on top made with a slashing tool or bread lame, this permits the exhaust of steam and the expansion of bread without stressing its skin. A variation of the bolillo is the 'telera', which is very similar, but in this case, is usually softer and as a current trend sweeter. Other variations include bolillos made of alternate ingredients such as whole wheat, wheat germ, or flax.

Names

The bolillo is a variation of the baguette, and thus often has names in the local language reflecting this. 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"). In the Philippines, another similar baguette-derived bread is known as pan de sal (also "bread of salt").

Slang

Bolillo is a slang term used in some parts of Mexico and the United States to refer to Anglos or, more generally, any pale-skinned person. The usage is similar to the word gringo or gabacho and may or may not be a pejorative slur depending on the region and social context.

A more common meaning is used when a person says the expression "puro bolillo" (lit. "only French bread"), which is equivalent with the English slang word zilch.

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