Mexican Sweet Bread 101: A Trip to the PanaderiaRuby Wright
Visiting the panaderia, Mexican bakery, has always been a sweet memory of my childhood. I clearly remember the many times my parents would stop by and pick up warm sweet bread to have in our home. I have forever loved conchas, shell shaped bread. We even made our own homemade pan dulce conchas back home in New Jersey. While they were a hit, nothing compares to the experience of walking into a bakery and smelling the distinct flavors of fresh baked pan dulce, sweet bread.
My kids have tasted Mexican sweet bread before but during our recent visit to the panaderia, I wanted them to learn about the bread. I know an experience like this isn’t one they will have repeated as much as I did. Teaching them about the bread is also opening up a lot about my Mexican heritage. I shared what breads nana loved and what breads grandpa loves. I can’t wait to indulge in a few more pieces and share with them the stories my family shared as they sipped cafecito, coffee, and nibbled on pan dulce.
Here are a few of the things we discussed and learned while we chose our Mexican Sweet Bread at the Panadreia.
A Trip to the Panaderia 1 of 11
The selection of Mexican sweet bread can be overwhelming. I took a trip with the kids and they ran to see what was behind the glass of our local panaderia. Scroll through to see what we learned and talked about during our visit.
Picking Bread Utensils 2 of 11
Our first stop was the Picking Utensils station. All bakeries are different but the majority have silver trays and tongs to use to collect your pan dulce.
Fresh Baked Bread Racks 3 of 11
While all the bread is baked fresh in the mornings, some bakeries place the freshest batch of bread in a rolling rack to cool. Our bakery bakes bread mid day as well and we arrived just in time for some of our favorite bread. The bread is fluffy and warm. It is definitely a treat.
Galletas or Cookies at the Panaderia 4 of 11
My son rushed to the Galleta section. His favorites are the sprinkled ones but their are jelly happy face ones and chocolate chip style ones too. The part of the bakery had all the cookies. While they are mostly round in shape and as big as our hands there are other shapes. One of the most popular shapes is the Cochinitos, piggies. These are dark in color and very tasty.
Conchas or Shell Shaped Pan Dulce 5 of 11
Conchas are the shell shaped sweet bread. They come in various sizes and flavors. From chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to Large medium and tiny, the selection always has us picking 2 of each.
Fillings and Toppings 6 of 11
Our bakery had a nice selection of bread with fillings and toppings. Some of the popular fillings are fruit jellies and custard. There are a variety of options of sugar coated bread and one special slice of loaf with a butter and sugar spread. This is one of my family favorites.
Seeing Familiar bread at the panaderia – Donuts 7 of 11
The kids spotted the donuts on a top shelf at the panderia. Mexican Donuts have a very distinct flavor. The chocolate glaze is one of our favorites and I like that our bakery also carries a white glaze. Their is also the option of sprinkles or sugar coating. This was a very familiar bread for the kids.
Learning what our bread is called 8 of 11
Every piece of bread has a name. While some of the names are obvious others are not. The kids and I decided to learn the real names of some of the bread we had purchased
Pan Frances con Mantequilla y Azucar- a french bread with a spread of butter and sugar
Magdalena de maiz- a corn muffin with a sweeter buttery taste
Cochinito- a ginger bread shaped pig
Nino envuelto- a coconut and strawberry jelly roll
Cuernito de crema- a custard filled flaky bread with powdered sugar
More bread names 9 of 11
We had almost a whole tray of conchas the shell shaped fluffy bread. We also got one Galleta- sprinkles cookies and one empanada- a flaky triangle filled with pineapple jelly.
Learning the textures of pan dulce 10 of 11
At home we broke apart pieces of our Mexican sweet bread. The kids discussed the soft and hard textures as well as which were smooth or bumpy. We talked about which had the most crumbs and which didn't have any. Some were creamy and others were filled with jelly. We agreed they were all sweet and delicious.
Tasting our Mexican Sweet Bread 11 of 11
We enjoyed every last piece of bread. The outing was a total hit! The kids now ask when we will be going to the panaderia again and we no long call it Mexican sweet bread we've officially called it Pan Dulce.
Do you have a favorite childhood food? Ever tried some Pan Dulce?
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican