Including ‘French bread’ (Pan Frances) and ‘sweet bread’ (Pan Dulce) on the table is one of the strongest culinary customs in Guatemala and Antigua Guatemala is no exception. The French Bread accompanies some of the typical dishes of Guatemala, especially the well known Tamal (Tamale).
Although not as important as corn tortilla, French bread is one of the most popular foods in Guatemala. Traditionally you can find it toasted, golden and crispy on the outside, but it soft on the inside, and with a strong smell of fresh wheat.
The original French Bread from Guatemala is made in a wood-fired oven and dates back to the late 1800s, inherited by the Spanish culture but transformed over time by the local culture of Guatemala. Unfortunately, nowadays there are few bakeries that can be found baking with wood-burning ovens.
The Guatemalan French Bread is especially favorite at breakfast and dinner in Antigua Guatemala accompanying the traditional 'eggs and beans with fresh cheese' dish.
The French Bread recipe is very simple, but even so, the taste varies depending on the bakery and the technique used to make it.
Nowadays, in cities such as Antigua Guatemala, you can find handmade French Bread that is still made in a wood-fired oven and the dough is prepared by hand, just like the real home-made bread should be made, the traditional Guatemalan bread that preserves the flavor and quality.
Other industrial bakeries like the well-known SAN MARTIN and other smaller bakeries prepare the French Bread and bread in general using industrial techniques, in industrial ovens and the dough is prepared with machinery, the flavor of this bread is very far from the traditional and real flavor that you would find in a traditional typical Guatemalan bakery.
Accompanying the Pan Frances, you can also find in the bakeries of Guatemala, the Pirujo Bread (oval or elongated shaped bread) and the Deshabrido Bread (round shape bread, very similar to the Pan Bola *), both are a variety of French Bread. Unfortunately, the Deshabrido Bread has almost disappeared in the bakeries of Guatemala, this bread is ideal to fill it with some salty food.
It is traditional that the French Bread (Pan Frances) is always accompanied at the table by the famous “Pan Dulce de Guatemala”. The popular culture of Guatemala has a strong tradition that revolves around this Guatemalan Sweet Bread, and this is to have a cup of coffee (called Cafecito) in the mid morning around 10:30 am and in the mid afternoon and always accompanied by the Sweet Bread (Pan Dulce). This is a common and very traditional daily Guatemalan snack.
This is a bread based on milk, eggs, flour and vanilla, in addition to other ingredients that vary depending on the bakery and type of sweet bread. There is a great variety of sweet bread, made with different shapes and flavors. Most of Guatemalan “Pan Dulce” are complemented by toppings that give an additional touch to the special flavor which is characteristic of Guatemalan bakery, some have chocolate, sesame seeds, anise and others only a sugar glaze. Each bakery and family has its secrets in their recipes.
Among the great variety that exists to choose from, we can mention: muffins, conchitas, cachitos, champurradas, hojaldras, sweetened and others.
This is Our Daily Bread in Guatemala.