A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 26, 2008
Telera (Mexican flat bread)

"Telera” (sometimes misspelled “Talera,” and often given in plural as “Teleras") is a Mexican bread popularly used for “tortas” (submarine sandwiches). It is made from the same ingredients as “bolillo” (similar to French bread), but it is flatter and usually divided into three sections.

Telera bread comes from Andalusia (Spain) and is cited in the early 1800s; the term “telera” also means a carpenter’s pin. In the Dominican Republic, telera bread is often served for Christmas.


Food Network
Q: What is telera bread?—Des Sohn, Mt. Vernon, OH
AskFN: Telera bread is a flat, crusty, white bread—the bread of choice for the classic Mexican sandwich called the torta. It’s also popular in the Dominican Republic, where it’s traditionally served with barbecued pork around Christmas.

Pilgrim’s Pride Foodservice
Telera refers to a Mexican bread similar to a French roll with a scored and flour-dusted crust. It can be found in Mexican markets, where they’re used to make sandwiches called tortas.

El Hornito Bakery (Dallas, TX)
Mexican Bolillos, Teleras & Pan Espanol
Our white bread (Pan Blanco) comes in three different kinds.  Bolillos are the Mexican “French bread”.  Teleras, not as commonly known in the US, are used to make “tortas” - the Mexican submarine.  Pan Espaol is like a buttery dinner roll that comes in different shapes and sizes.

Wikipedia: Bolillo
A bolillo is a type of salty bread traditionally made in Mexico, El Salvador, Portugal, and Brazil. In Brazil it is known as pão francês or pão de sal. It is considered a variation of the baguette. In some places of Mexico it is also known as “Pan de Agua” (water bread)

It is about 6 inches long, in the shape of an oval, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside, known as migajón. It is the main ingredient for the tortas and the molletes. A variation of the bolillo is the telera, which is very similar, though it has a rounder shape, it is divided in three sections, and it is often a bit softer.

Christmas in the Dominican Republic
*A Long, Crusty bread called Pan Telera. This bread is what we wait for. It has such a great flavor we always buy more than we need. It also makes a great crust for pizza toppings

Google Books
Neuman and Barretti’s Dictionary of the Spanish and English Languages
by Henry Neuman and Guiseppe Marco Antonio Baretti
Vol. I
Spanish and English
New York, NY: William Kerr & Co.
1842
Pg. 658:
TELERA sf.
1. A small iron pin, with which the plough-share is fastened to the plough.
2. (And.) A kind of brown bread,

Google Books
March 1850, The Knickerbocker: Or, New-York Monthly, pg. 221:
The window skillfully covered with canvass and blackened paper gave but small ingress to the light which came in with a bright ray, falling upon the face of a ruddy and stalwart peasant, who in a grotesque attitude, exhibited two ranges of teeth, broad, white and sharpened beyond doubt by the bread of ‘Telera,’ feigning a most extravagant and violent fit of laughter that would have infected the most melancholy spectator.

Google Books
Among the Spanish People
by Hugh James Rose
Vol. I
London: Richard Bentley and Son
1877
Pg. 265:
...or the coarse, but nourishing, long rolls of brown bread, called, in southern Andalusia, ”telera.”

Google Books
Mexico: Her Daily & Festive Breads
by Barbara Howland Taylor
Creative Press
1969
Pg. 55:
Technically, a telera is one of the twin parts of a carpenter’s clamp. But the Mexicans are more familiar with the bread than with the object for which it ... 

9 August 1989, Doylestown (PA) Independent, pg. C7:
“You can also make tacos de mole. And in Mexico they make mole torta, a mole sandwich, with French bread or torta bread, which we call telera. You put the mole and a bit of beans on the bread.”

Google Books
The Hinojosa Family: From Meir, Tamaulipas, Mexico to Texas
by Alicia Hinojosa
A Hinojosa Perone
1992
Pg. 19:
The most popular are freshly baked bolillos and teleras (salt rolls).

Google Books
Mexico Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with Mexico
by James L. Nolan
World Trade Press
1994
Pg. 218:
Tortas are the Mexican sandwich, made with a French-style bread called telera or bolillo.

Google Books
The Bread Bible
by Beth Hensperger
Chronicle Books
1998
Pg. 163:
MEXICAN FLAT ROLLS (TELERAS): After deflating the dough in Step 5, divide it into 20 portions. Flatten the ball of dough into an oval with the heel of your hand as a rolling pin. Press twice into the top of the roll with the side of your hand to make 2 indentations. Let rise and press again to re-form the indentations. Bake and cool as directed.

Google Groups: houston.eats
Newsgroups: houston.eats
From: (Jay P Francis)
Date: 2000/03/09
Subject: Eye Opener’s Tour- Awwww...You guys are the best

The types of breads we’ll see here are pan Frances style bolillos (bo lee yos) which are delicous dinner rolls and also the Mexican slang expression for gringos, breakfast breads which are sweet, usually dusted with an egg white/sugar wash, teleras (te le ras) which are used to make torta sandwiches, and various dense, artery clogging lard cookies.

16 January 2002, New York (NY) Times, “Torta at El Torta Partido, NYC” by matt Lee and Ted Lee, pg. F3:
MEXICO has its own version of the hero, a fusion of sandwich and burrito called the torta. South of the Rio Grande, tortas are made with a stuffable, pitalike bread called teleras.

Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, Dining Guide, pg. 2:
Several readers wrote in response to the recent story about tortas.

Daniel Lechon of Houston says there was no mention of telera, a preferred bread for tortas that’s oval and flat with little dough inside. In his opinion, telera is half the torta. Without telera, there is no torta - what you get instead is a “gringo sandwich or hero.”

Houston (TX) Chronicle
5 April 2002, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “El Bolillo Panaderia offers sweet selection” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 14:
Teleras: Similar to French-style bolillos but flat, teleras are often stuffed with savory fillings to make tortas. 

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: “Dimitri”
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 21:09:39 GMT
Local: Mon, Nov 4 2002 4:09 pm
Subject: Re: Mexican bakery?

Nope!  Tortillas are not usually a bakery item.  They are cooked and sold at a tortillaria.  As far as bakery items are concerned you should expect the following some very good crusty rolls with 1 slit on the top called a bolillo and for sandwiches teleras both are great. In addition they should have a good selection of “Pan Dulce” or sweet bread(s) usually a yeast dough and they are served in the morning with coffee and milk.  Very Yummy.

18 November 2002, Idaho Business Review, “Mexican baker Panaderia sees market in Boise” by Steve Martin, pg. A1:
Panaderia makes and sells 50 varieties of Mexican bread, including bolillo (a white, French bread-like bread) and teleras (a white bread for sandwiches).

Houston (TX) Chronicle
2 September 2004, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Sandwiches are surging in popularity” by Dai Huynh, Dining Guide, pg. 8:
Mexican torta

It’s difficult to imagine life without tortas. But it wasn’t long ago when few places in Houston offered the sandwich. Graphic artist Maria Garcia, a second-generation Mexican-American, recalls her first torta.

“I was in my 30s,” she says. “Growing up in Houston, we didn’t eat tortas back in the ‘60s. My mother worked in a Mexican restaurant, and it served tostadas, enchiladas, menudo and caldo de res, but no torta. That was later, in the ‘70s, early ‘80s, when more people started coming from Mexico and introducing real Mexican cooking.”

By the ‘90s, tortas firmly anchored taqueria menus. Houston cooks rely on large, soft, oval-shaped pan de tortas for the south-of-the-border stacker, or they can be made on the bollilo, a crispy, miniature French baguette. In Mexico, the softer, flatter telera bread is preferred.

Standard fillings include grilled fajita beef, chicken, shrimp, roast pork, nopales and tripe. Places will smear their torta with refried beans, crema (Mexican sour cream) and mashed avocado.

eGullet Forums
Jay Francis
May 15 2006, 12:22 PM
Those pictures say it all don’t they? Traditionally the type of bread used is the “telera” not the “bollio”. It is the same dough but pressed flatter with a dowel to crimp the middle. The bread is toasted a la plancha, on the griddle. One side is spread with refried beans, the other with avocado. Mayonnaise is very common. Additionally, as noted above, shredded lettuce, tomato, chile jalapeno and onion.

prandialmusings
Higher (higher) wrote in prandialmusings,
@ 2007-01-03 00:07:00

Bolillo
Country or region of origin: Mexico

Type of flour used: white flour (wheat) - bread flour or all-purpose flour

Description: A Mexican bread, made with a basic dough that is very similar to a French baguette dough. The bread has a crispy, flavorful crust and a soft, chewy crumb. The dough is usually formed into a football shaped roll. Occasionally, the dough is scored to create three sections along the length of the football shape, in which case the bolillo is known as a telera.

Bolillos are most often used for the Mexican sandwich known as a torta, which became popular after WWII. The torta sandwich usually contains mashed avocado, a spread made of black beans or refried beans, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, and onion. There are many versions of the sandwich including many Americanized varieties that have strayed from the original selection of ingredients. 

Metroblogging Austin
Fiesta first day
posted by M.J.L. Kellogg at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2007
It was an Albertsons; now, it’s Fiesta south. (...) The bakery had pan dulce, teleras, bolillos, and pan frances.

Eating Out 411
Thursday, July 12, 2007
CREST DINER – San Diego
Crest Diner has been serving delicious home cooking with a twist in the Hillcrest neighborhood since 1982.

My dear friend, Paul, and I stopped at this colorful diner for a late dinner. I had the Cubana Sandwich. My sandwich was served on a grilled Telera roll stuffed with thin slices of pork and ham, garlicy pickles, and jack cheese. Orange juice vinaigrette added a tropical burst of flavor to this fantastic sandwich. I wish I had a side of this vinaigrette as a dipping sauce; it was delicious, but definitely not needed.

Telera rolls or flat bread rolls are approximately 6” round, generally made from whole wheat flour. These rolls are soft inside and out. Telera rolls are perfect for those who do not want a lot of “bread bulk” in the middle of their sandwich, leaving all the more room to stuff with your favorite sandwich ingredients. 

Houston (TX) Press
The Carnicería Connoisseur: A Glossary
Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 11:50:10 AM
Tortas – Mexican sandwiches usually served on talera bread or bolillos

My Mexican Kitchen
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A Bun For The Money?
We were in Pátzcuaro’s alluring Mercado Soriana yesterday morning, picking up a few necessities (eg, 12 bottle cartons of Cerveza Nochebuena at 2 for 1 pricing) when we wandered over to the panadería section. At that hour there wasn’t much fresh bread available, but there were some French style ”pistolets“ (usually called ”bolillos“ in Mexico, some teleras, the flatter oval rolls with two longitudinal creases, only one seeded baguette, and quite a few round, sesame topped rolls.

Houston (TX) Chronicle
Jan. 23, 2008, 1:14PM
A crumby experience worth repeating
The bread, the meat, the extras give Tortas El Angel its wings
By ALISON COOK
(...)
One of the custom-baked telera rolls commissioned by El Angel’s owners — soft inside, toasty and crisp without — had held a brick-red pork mixture marinated in pastor style, with ripe avocado slabs, iceberg lettuce cut as finely as excelsior, a swab of refried beans and a finishing smear of the house’s signature chipotle mayonnaise.
(...)
For seven bucks each, we had partaken of a memorable lunch. And we had ordered only the $5 “grande” tortas, not the scary-sounding “gigante” sandwiches, which cost around $8 dollars each.

On my next visit — for which I could hardly wait — my friend Jim had to order the Frankensteinish torta “del maestro” gigante. He’s a dedicated carnivore, so it was a matter of honor; the maestro includes roast pork, milanesa-style beef, frankfurters and chorizo, plus all the usual torta accessories. It’s a monster.

“It’s like Everest,” Jim declaimed as hunks of hot dog and gobbets of chorizo escaped from the toasted telera loaf, which was about the size of my laptop. “You eat it because it’s there.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, January 26, 2008 • Permalink