Top 10 Mexican sweet breads
The origin of sweet bread in Mexico dates back to a few years after the Spanish conquest. The Spanish people introduced wheat bread and the first bakery businesses. To make wheat bread a successful product on the market, they added an extra ingredient to it: Sugar.
Soon after, the French and Italian influence in the 19th century and the opening of coffee shops were the basis and inspiration to create new varieties of sweet bread in Mexico, and coffee became the perfect pairing that continues nowadays.
Velas Magazine’s Top 10 Favorite Sweet Breads
According to the National Chamber of Bakery and Related Industries of Mexico (CANAINPA), today we have around 1,200 varieties of sweet bread! So, instead of randomly choosing the sweet bread types that would make up this list, we decided to make an internal survey at Velas Magazine, answered by people who have lived with a bag of bread on their tables for all (or almost all) of their lives.
Without further ado, we present our selection of the best 10 Mexican sweet breads:
This is the sweet bread par excellence. The “conchas” (shells) are called like this because they look like seashells due to their decoration, which is made with sugar, butter, and flour. They are fluffy and come in various flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. There are gourmet bakeries that extend the offer to more exotic flavors such as Oreo cookie, cajeta, Nutella, chai tea, carrot, among others.
Fact: In Velas Magazine, the favorite is the chocolate ‘concha’.
2. Dona (donut)
Although the origin of this bread is not exactly Mexican, it is one of the favorites of all families and you can find it in any bakery in Mexico, with its popular toppings such as chocolate, cajeta with walnut, or simply frosted in sugar.
Fact: In Velas Magazine, the favorite is the chocolate donut.
This cute little pig-shaped bread is a classic of old bakery ovens. Its consistency is more like a cookie and its peculiar flavor is given by the main ingredient, the ‘piloncillo’. A true delight!
Fact: these bread pieces have existed since Colonial times.
Bread with butter and sugar has been a perfect accompaniment to coffee for centuries. This tradition was adopted by Mexican bakeries, which created the classic slice that we know today.
Fact: A few decades ago, butter was believed to be unhealthy for children, and this is why ‘rebanadas’ were consumed almost only by adults.
The ‘picón’ is originally from Jalisco state and the favorite of many Jalisco citizens. This sweet bread has several appearances that vary depending on the area in which it is prepared. In many places, is similar to the ‘concha’ but less sweet and less common.
Fact: The municipality of Poncitlán in Jalisco is one of the greatest exponents in the elaboration of this bread.
6. Roles de canela (Cinnamon rolls)
These delicacies were born in 1920 in Europe. It is a sweet tradition that came to our country and has been adopted. Mexicans have added their special touch to them, just like the three-milk cinnamon rolls.
Fact: October 4th is celebrated as National Cinnamon Roll Day in Sweden and Finland.
The dough of the ‘elote’ (corn) is firmer. Lard is one of the main ingredients that gives it softness and a different texture from many other sweet breads, in addition to cinnamon, which provides a very special flavor. They can be filled with jam or ‘cajeta’.
Fact: It is an almost extinct bread and very easy to make.
8. Ojo de buey (Eye of an ox)
The combination of the best of two worlds: The soft and the crunchy. Its center is soft and is surrounded by a puff pastry covered with sugar.
Fact: The name is inspired by the eye of an ox, but it is also known as “Eye of Pancha”; a very common name among women of that time.
Sweet and very fluffy. The bun is said to be a Mexican version of French bread. If you are a lover of sweets, this piece is ideal for you.
Fact: The first moños were filled with jam or chocolate. Now they only are covered in sugar.
10. Beso (Kiss)
The ‘beso’ —also called in some parts of Mexico as “yoyo” (like the Mexican toy)— is a round bread made up of two sponge-like tapas, joined by a layer of jam or cajeta. The tapas are buttered and dusted with sugar.
Fact: The sweetness of this bread is rumored to be the inspiration for its name.
There is an infinity of sweet bread that we left out of this list (we didn’t want to but we needed to). If you are on vacation, do not hesitate to visit a home bakery. It is the perfect opportunity to discover unique flavors that you may not have known about!
PLUS: The seasonal favorite
There are two typical seasonal sweet breads in Mexico: Pan de Muerto and Rosca de Reyes. The Velas Magazine team voted and the big winner was Pan de Muerto.
This bread has a very interesting history and is an essential element in the Day of the Dead’s celebration. Here is a post where you can learn more about it.
Fact: There is nothing better than Pan de Muerto’s delicate orange flavor, accompanied by a hot chocolate!
Always present in the Mexican proverb
Bread is also part of Mexican’s everyday sayings. Here you have some examples with their deep explanation:
- “Como pan caliente”
“Like hot bread”: A saying widely used to express that something is in high demand, for example: “It was sold like hot bread”. After all, who can refuse freshly baked bread?
- “Es pan comido”
The synonym of “It’s a piece of cake”, which means when a task is simple and does not involve much effort to carry out (yep, eating bread turns out to be quite easy).
- “El pan de cada día”
“The daily bread”: It refers to a job or a daily task, most of the time, for which you are paid.
- “Es más bueno que el pan”
“Is better than bread”: This is used to say that someone is a very good person. It is a real compliment because to be better than bread is something to be admired.
“Las penas con pan son menos”
“Trouble times with bread are lesser”: And yes. Sweet bread is happiness. Period.
Now that you probably craved a sweet bread —and before you run for one— tell us in the comments which is your favorite!