On December 12 millions will gather for processions, prayer, song, dance and community to celebrate La Reina de Mexico (The Queen of Mexico) on her feast day. The Celebration of the Virgin Mary begins on December 3 and ends on her dedicated day the December 12.
This day is set aside to honor the day she appeared on Tepeyac the pre hispanic site of the temple Tontanslin where her imaged appeared on Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) as he consulted with the Bishop Zumárraga.
Every year on this day my mom and I arrive to mass service at 4am. The day begins with Las Mananitas to the Virgin Mary and services follow. After services we head off to the pandaeria (bakery) to buy fresh bolillos then head home for a hearty breakfast.
This celebration will continue all day until the evening. The finale, where the community gathers downtown and the youth including my niece leads the procession to the Cathedral with the Matachine dancers for the final service.
On this busy day we often make a quick mollete or torta with our bolillos for lunch. In the quietness of our lunch my mom shares with me how her family celebrated this day in Mexico. She speaks of how her family along with many of the town walked to the nearest shrine to celebrate. They would spend the entire day at church meeting friends and family along the way.
My grandmother never worried about what she would feed her five children or any family member who joined their celebration. On the morning of the celebration she would stop and pick up fresh bolillos to the trip, knowing along the route she would find vendors selling fresh queso fresco, pollo rostizado or aguacates. These stories are some of my most treasured memories. I am overjoyed that my girls now have the honor to spend this celebration with their grandmother and bolillos.
Bolillos are small crusty loaves that are used in Mexico to make tortas, molletes or served alongside the daily meal. Bolillos can be purchased in every corner in Mexico and now can be found relatively anywhere. They are easy to make, little fuss and taste like heaven warm from the oven slathered with butter. A simple roll that has left an enormous impact on my life. Enjoy!
- 4 cups flour
- 1 pkg active dry yeast
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ cup warm water
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 egg white
In your stand mixer or large bowl combine 1 ½ cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and warm water.
Beat on low to medium speed 30 second to combine ingredients. Scrape down side of bowl.
Turn up mixer speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Add remaining flour and mix on low until most of the flour is incorporated.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead in remaining flour. Continue to knead dough until smooth about 7 minutes.
Lightly grease your mixer bowl. Shape dough into ball and place in bowl, turning once to grease both surfaces.
Cover, let rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 1 hour to 1 ½
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Turn out dough to lightly floured surface, punch down and divide into 10 equal portions with knife.
Shape each piece and pull ends under. Place on baking sheets and using a sharp knife cut a slit about ¼ inch along center of each bolillo.
Combine milk and egg white and milk. Brush tops and sides of each bolillo.
Bake bolillos for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with egg wash. Return to oven and continue to bake another 12-15 minutes until rolls are lightly golden.
elizabeth c. says
Making these again today 🙂 they are SO amazingly easy and delicious…perfect. Thanks so much for sharing!
Stephanie Alasabarca says
Hi, I just wanted to say i love your website! i’ve tried some of your recipes and boy my husband loves them he is salvadorian and he has never tried mexican food until he met he! im trying out this recipe as im typing and im so excited.i just had one question does it matter what kind of cornmeal it is? i only have the yellow one. and i used all purpose flour does it matter what kind you use?
Thank you for your kind words, so glad your hubby is enjoying the recipes~LOVE it~ No, it does not matter what cornmeal you use. The cornmeal helps to prevent the dough from sticking while they rise kinda like when you make pizza. Please let me know how they turn out, we love Bolillos and make them often. If you can send me a picture I’d love to see how they turn out~take care
Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says
Such wonderful traditions. It’s great that you’re passing them on to your children. The rolls look fabulous.
Malli's Mint and Mimosas says
What a lovely tradition and awesome bollilos!
Woop! Finally a recipe for bolillos! I can’t wait to try out this recipe!
5 Star Foodie says
The bolillos look scrumptious, I would love to try one! And how wonderful to learn about this tradition, thanks!
Eva Smith of Tech.Food.Life. says
OMG! I want to learn to make Bolillos — I can can’t wait. I love the aroma of a fresh bolillo from the bakery.
Ive never had these but they sound amazing. Warm bread with butter…yum!
[email protected] says
Love small and crusty rolls. They are very popular over here in Germany.
This is a nice post – lovely story and interesting information about the bollilos. I’ve seen them this time of year in the SW but didn’t know the story behind them. I’ve never made them, but they do look easy, so I might have to change that!
Lovely post and delicious recipe. I love Mexican bread, will try this one. Thanks for sharing.
Patty at A Day in My NYC says
What a very interesting story and tradition. Thank you for sharing.
i love learning things about other cultures, especially when those things are to do with food! these little breadlets look great. 🙂
Jes Sofia Valle says
I love to eat bolillos with Hot Abuelita Chocolate. Yum!
Thanks for sharing a little culture here 🙂 Interesting.
I love the aroma of fresh bread from the oven. Too bad I don’t bake…
It sounds like such a wonderful celebration! I’ve never heard of bolillos- these look delicious!
Yvette ~ Muy Bueno says
I LOVE the smell of freshly bake bolillos. My daughter would have been in heaven in your home. She LOVES bolillos. Your story and photos are beautiful. Great job amiga!
Thank you for sharing the story and the recipe! Very interesting!
Simply Life says
I’ve never heard of these- they look amazing!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
I’ve never had bolillos before, but that looks so drool-worthy 🙂
These look yummy! I’ll have to ask some of the women in my office who are Hispanic about this dish.
Such beautiful bread!!! This feast day is much more subdued around here…but love hearing about your tradition 🙂
Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says
What a lovely story and fabulous rolls! You can’t beat a beautiful crispy roll straight from the oven, especially with lashing of cold butter melting into them.
Thanks for passing from my blog and it’s a pleasure to meet you. I love reading about the traditions in various countries and those boililos look just perfect. I will subscribe to your blog and follow you on twitter and Facebook.
Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie says
Those look BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m lucky enough to have freshly baked bolillos delivered right to my door every morning, but I don’t know if I can wait that long. 😛
Love your mom’s and grandmother’s stories of how they celebrated El Dia de La Virgen de Guadalupe. 🙂
Carolyn Jung says
I can never resist good homemade bread. And these rolls look perfect for anything and everything.
So important to remember and share our culture and family memories. These bollilos look beautiful. We are making tamales (we do it every year the week before Christmas) with our dear friends the Molina family. It has become a treasured tradition in my family even though we have adopted this tradition. I’ve bookmarked the rolls.
I loved reading this post especially the part about not worrying what to feed the children as you walk through the town and all the vendors are right there. I will have to try your recipe for homemade Bolillos, they look so good!
I remember buying these in the pandaeria the last time we were in Playa, making sandwiches before heading to Chichen Itza for the day, they were the best sandwiches ever… maybe ’cause we worked up such an appetite but we stopped back at Vallodolid and bought more (they were not as good).. we ended up given them to some children in the square… thanks for the recipe and for the great read of your family’s custom…
Heather @girlichef says
You know I’m gonna say that I love Bolillos, right? Cuz I really do. Although, I can eat them far quicker than I can make them, so I usually buy them…but making them is a very special treat. Yours look beautiful 😀
Thanks Heather, you know your my fav bread baker, so any compliment from is you is awesome!!
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
I enjoyed reading about the culture and these rolls look really delicious! I wish I can eat bread out of my oven. It must be so nice to smell and taste fresh bread right out of the oven!
That’s a nice story :] How you and your family spend time together in this celebration and eat something so foreign to me–but is always a part of your life.
Amazing and gorgeous rolls!! The colour is fantastic and they look very tempting.
Belinda @zomppa says
Good reason to celebrate here!! Beautiful!
wonderful celebration. i love the rolls.
Beautiful and tempting rolls! Perfect for making sandwiches.
looks so good and always fun to learn your culture
I am trying this recipe today. I have been dying to try bollilos and I trust you, amiga.
Hey Jessica, you will love them…let me know if you need anything.. abrazos!!