Pan fino is a Mexican bakery staple. The sugary, soft dough, which has a distinctly cinnamon flavor, is often shaped by hand; therefore, it comes in a wide array of figures and shapes.

Jose Perez of BakeMark explains the detailed process of shaping pan fino dough into various shapes. Elotes are one of the most familiar types of pan fino and are shaped like an ear of corn. Some may not realize there are two popular versions of elotes – a traditional shape and a fancier style.

Perez of BakeMark demonstrates how to produce a variety of pan fino in a series of videos available on Click on Your BakeMark, then on BakeMark Media Room to view the BakeMark videos.

To make the traditional shape of elotes, start with a piece of pan fino dough and roll it out with a small rolling pin. Use a scraper to cut small ridges into the dough piece to resemble an ear of corn.

Finally, add a piece of yellow pasta inside and roll it into the dough. Then proof and bake.

To create a fancier version of elotes, which Perez points out is “not as hard as it looks,” start with a piece of pan fino dough and roll it out into a circle.

“For this shape, you don’t want it too long,” Perez says.

Use a scraper to cut ridges into the dough piece. Then, fold a small piece of yellow pasta into the middle. Fold the dough over both ends. Stretch one end of the dough piece longer than the other, allowing the yellow pasta to show on the opposite end.

Use a scraper to cut the yellow pasta on the opposite end into the shape of an ear of corn. The final baked product will appear to resemble an ear of corn on the husk. This shape is more dramatic and eye-catching.

Another colorful and popular type of pan fino is shaped like a sunflower, and is called girasoles.

To make this product, start with two pieces of dough and put them together on your workbench. Spread the dough a little and roll it out with a rolling pin. Add a piece of yellow pasta into the middle and add a little flour, if needed. Roll the pasta and spread it out, working the dough into a long piece.

Use a scraper to cut the edges of the sunflower and cut the dough piece in the middle, lengthwise. This will give you two pieces of dough. Make each dough piece into a circle. Then add a piece of chocolate pasta in the middle and form the pasta into a circle, serving as the brown center of the sunflower. Proof for 45 minutes and bake at 14 minutes at 325°F.

Perez says that by using BakeMark’s Trigal Dorado Pan Fino Mix, you will be able to make many shapes and sizes of pan fino with relative ease by following specific steps for each type.

“Our pan fino dough is yeast dough with a cinnamon taste that is very easy to work with on the table,” he says. “We typically use four different color pastas (pink, yellow, white and brown). The pasta is made of shortening, sugar and flour. A lot of people add flavor to it to add a distinctive taste.”

Other types of pan fino that you can make with ease in your bakery include barquillos, or ice cream cones. This type of pan fino can be a great addition to your merchandising case during the summer months and is particularly popular among children.

To make barquillos, start with two pieces of dough and roll them together into one flat piece of dough. Make small ridges in the dough piece using scraper, going one direction and then the other. Flip over the dough piece. Then use any color of pasta for the center and fold the dough piece around it. Flip it over and cut in the center.

Finally, to create the appearance of an ice cream cone, place three different color pastas on top of the dough piece – chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Flatten the colored pasta so that each color shows as a distinctive layer on top of the cone.

Troncos, or lugs, are another unique shape of pan fino that can be prepared in minutes, prior to proofing and baking.

Start with two pieces of dough together and roll it out. Add a chocolate pasta piece in the center and roll it into the center of pan fino dough. Cut the dough piece in the center, and then cut each half in the center again, leaving a small part uncut at the ends.

Finally, fold open both dough pieces to create a dramatic look.

These tips and techniques will help you stay on the cutting edge of innovation and are sure to please your customers who are looking for a variety of flavorful products.

Bread Shaping Tips

Shaping is largely governed by the interaction of stress and tension between the hands of the baker and the work bench. Firstly, the dough must be well made in that it exhibits the correct balance of elasticity and extensibility. Too much elasticity and the dough will resist shaping and either yield small tight loaves or will tear as the baker tries to force it into the proper shape. Too much extensibility and the dough will not hold its shaped form.

Secondly, the dough must be ready to be shaped. If the dough has not relaxed enough, the dough will tear upon shaping. Assuming both of the above requirements have been met a baker will begin by gently flattening a dough piece into the desired shape. If an open crumb structure is desired then the whole shaping process must be performed gently. After flattening, the dough is next folded into to a pre-shaped form approximating the final shape. This will result in a rough shape with a seam.

The final stage requires the most skill, and in it the baker uses the strength of his hand and arms to seal the seam and then, either pushing or pulling the dough against the surface of the work bench to create a taut surface on the outside of the shaped dough piece. This piece is then transferred to a floured basket, tray, or linen and allowed its final proof.

Hispanic breads and pastries can be made with ease using the Trigal Dorado line of Hispanic products from BakeMark. Using traditional ingredients and authentic recipes, Trigal Dorado brings you one step closer to becoming the Hispanic bakery destination in town.