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Want to taste a beloved Christmas dish from Venezuela? You're in the right place! This pan de jamón is a delectable treat that's easy to make with this straightforward recipe. It's packed with sliced ham and juicy olives, and even has a touch of sweetness from the raisins. (I know, it sounds strange to combine raisins and ham, but trust me--it's delicious!)
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The dough for pan de jamón contains basic ingredients, and the filling is quite simple. Make sure to use bread flour for a soft, chewy texture and a good rise as the loaf bakes. Using fast-action yeast instead of active dry eliminates the need to proof the yeast.
The original pan de jamón filling consisted only of ham, but now the traditional version contains ham, green olives, and raisins. See the "Variations" section farther down in the post for additional ideas in changing up the flavors in the filling.
What is pan de jamón?
This is a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread that was invented in December 1905 by Gustavo Ramella. It originally only contained ham, but over the years, olives and raisins were added. Pan de jamón is a widely popular and delicious combination of sweet, salty, and savory, all in one simple loaf.
How do you pronounce pan de jamón?
Pan de jamón is prounounced as pawn day ham-OWN. In Spanish, the j makes the h sound.
How many calories are in pan de jamón?
If the loaf is cut into 12 pieces, each piece contains 315 calories, 10.5g of fat, 40.3g of carbs, and 14.3g of protein. Scroll to the bottom of the recipe card to read the full nutrition facts.
How do you store leftover pan de jamón?
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, as long as it is well sealed. However, the bread will stay fresher if it is frozen rather than refrigerated. Pre-slice if desired, and freeze it in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month.
Defrost frozen pan de jamón at room temperature or in the microwave.
How to Make
Gather the pan de jamón ingredients.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and mix in the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.
Mix in the sugar, butter, and eggs until well mixed, then trickle in the milk while the mixer runs. Add just enough liquid to create a sticky dough.
Switch attachments to the hook and knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
Cover and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle. Spread out the ham slices evenly, then sprinkle the olives and raisins on top.
Roll up the dough from one of the long sides and pinch the seam and ends to seal. Place on large cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let the pan de jamón rise until the dough is springy to the touch, about 30-45 minutes. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake the pan de jamón at 400 F for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 F on a meat thermometer. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice the pan de jamón and enjoy with family and friends!
- Use turkey and cream cheese instead of ham.
- Try using puff pastry instead of the bread.
- Swap out the manzanilla olives for kalamata, or add capers, almonds, or walnuts along with the olives.
- Add half a pound of sliced Gruyere, Havarti, or Provolone cheese along with the ham.
- Do half regular raisins and half golden raisins.
- Make two smaller loaves rather than one large one.
- Dough rising too slowly? Fill a casserole dish halfway with boiling water and place it on the lower rack in a cold oven. Put the pan de jamón on the shelf above and close the oven door.
- Need to make this in advance? Let the dough do its first rise in the fridge overnight, then proceed with the recipe as written. Note that the second rise will take longer.
- Pat the olives dry to reduce moisture and cut them in half to make it easier to roll up the dough.
- Let the pan de jamón cool completely before slicing.
- Store leftover pan de jamón in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. It cannot be stored at room temperature due to the meat inside.
Looking for other Christmas breads to try?
- Julekake (Norwegian)
- Panettone (Italian)
- Stollen (German)
- Vánočka (Czech)
- Kanellängd (Swedish)
- Cinnamon Rolls (American)
These other savory breads will get your mouth watering!
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Your whole family will love pan de jamón, a delicious olive and ham bread! Learn how to make a loaf of this popular Venezuelan Christmas bread with this easy recipe.
For the Dough
- 4 ⅛ cups bread flour (500g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 teaspoons salt (10g)
- 3 tablespoons sugar (37g)
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (84g)
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed to 115 F (240 ml)
- 1 large egg, for glazing
For the Filling
- 1 pound thinly sliced ham (453g)
- ¾ cup large manzanilla olives, cut in half (110g)
- ½ cup raisins (75g)
- Tip the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. It's important to keep the salt away from the yeast, or it may kill it.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and add the sugar, eggs, and butter. Stir on low speed until blended.
- Warm the milk to 115 F in the microwave or in a small saucepan, then slowly trickle it into the flour mixture as the mixer runs. Add just enough liquid to create a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, stretchy, and passes the windowpane test. This means you can stretch a lump of dough thin enough to be translucent without it tearing.
- Shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, drain the olives and pat them dry with paper towels. Patting them dry reduces the amount of moisture in the filling, slimming the chance of a soggy result. Cut each olive in half to prevent them from rolling away as you shape the loaf.
- Punch down the dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll it to a rectangle measuring about 15x13 inches, then lay the ham slices on top, overlapping each one slightly. Scatter the olives and raisins on top.
- Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, creating a log. Pinch the seam and ends to seal, then transfer the loaf to an 11x17-inch cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise until the dough is springy to the touch, about 30-45 minutes.
- Bake the pan de jamón at 400 F for 35 minutes. Cover the top with foil if it begins to brown too much. The bread is done when it has an internal temperature of 190 F on a meat thermometer.
- Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Use bread flour for the best texture, and fast-action yeast instead of active dry so you can skip proofing the yeast.
- Don't have a stand mixer? This recipe can be made by hand just as easily. Keep in mind that the kneading will take a few extra minutes, and you'll have to add a little flour as you go.
- Kneading is one of the most important steps. Make sure that the dough passes the windowpane test as described in the recipe instructions to ensure a good rise and texture.
- Be sure to store leftovers in the fridge or freezer since pan de jamón contains meat. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Venezuelan
Keywords: recipe, calories