A bolillo (Spanish pronunciation: [boˈliʝo]) or pan francés (meaning "French bread") is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico. 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 about 15 cm (six inches) long, in the shape of an ovoid, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside known as migajón (Spanish pronunciation: [miɣaˈxon]). It is the main ingredient for tortas and molletes. A variation of the bolillo is the telera, which is very similar, though it has a more rounded shape, is divided in three sections, and is usually softer. Other variations include bolillos made of alternate ingredients such as whole wheat, wheat germ, or flax.
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").
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.