Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ruiz Bakery -- Mexican Bakery Par Excellance

As a child, my parents usually took me with them when they traveled -- and we traveled everywhere. From the time I was 8 or 9 until I was 18, we trekked across the remotest regions of Mexico. While I didn't always appreciate all the food, I could always count on a fantastic basket of bread for breakfast. Since then, I've not seen many authentic Mexican bakeries in the US -- and by authentic I really mean that they make bread that trigger memories of breakfasts past.

But last week, I found one right here at home: Ruiz Pasteleria and Panaderia (Pastry Shop and Bakery). From their shop on West Washington, they make cakes as well as an "extenso surtido en ricos pasteles por bodas, aniversarios, 1rs comunion, presentaciones." In other words they make big fancy cakes as well as every day Mexican breads. Now, the average American doesn't always understand Mexican baked goods. Mexican bakers use a lot of evaporated milk and to us (who are accustomed to lots of butter), the texture can be dry. Additionally, "sweet bread" isn't that sweet -- at least not by our Danish pastry standards. What are they best with? Thick Mexican coffee or chocolate.

Now, I hate trial and error as much as the next person and in the interest of trying to help you find your way through the cases of treats at Ruiz, here's a sampling of what I picked up the other night. (And I *so* don't speak Spanish). Photos helpful of the incredible useful directory from Tacos Pepitos in Maryland. They have photos of 40 or more baked goods, so visit their site if you want to find out what you're getting.

These are traditional "conchas" or Mexican sweet breads. You'll often seem them in yellow, brown (chocolate) or even pink (some kind of berry) but beware, they're not sweet at all except for a slight taste to the crust. These are the quintessential breakfast rolls.

Besos -- or any variation of Besos (here "Besos de Chango") are pastries filled with cream or jelly and then rolled in sugar -- usually granular instead of the powdered we're used to. You'll also find variations of Berliners or more traditional jelly donuts in some shops.

Limas -- Ruiz had a lovely selection of these bread rolls. We always comment that they look like luscious, um, girly parts, and I'm sure there's a tradition/name somewhere that reflects their origin. "Lima" means smooth, but I think it's a stretch. Either way, they're deliciouso.

And last but not least, I picked up some orejas that looked just as good as these. "Ear" in Spanish, these flaky pastries are closer to their traditional European cousins.

There were all kinds of shortbread cookies and, of course, doughnuts at Ruiz, as well as the traditional Mexican pastry candy (hard to explain). So go forth and try. Your breakfasts will never be the same.

Ruiz Bakery
2613 W. Washington


Anonymous said...


I'd love for you to share some of the culture you've found at I Choose Indy! (

Look forward to your post and finding out how you chose Indy!

Shelly said...

I can't wait to check this out! Thanks for the info!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a timely article. We just picked up some Mexican pastries at a bakery just south of Jungle Jim's in Hamilton, OH, but had no idea what we were enjoying. Your info regarding the differences in texture and ingredients was very helpful. Sorry - didn't write down the name of the Bakery, but it is located at 6503 Dixie Highway.