Pan de Jamón Is a Sweet, Salty and Totally Unexpected Holiday Bread

Pan de Jamón Sliced

If you’re wanting a holiday bread that’s a little more salty and sweet, introducing: pan de jamón. This unique bread is a traditional holiday treat in Venezuela, and made by baking ham, olives and dried fruit right into the dough. When topped with powdered sugar, it’s *chef’s kiss*

Pan de Jamón

Yield: 1 loaf (about 12 servings)


For the Dough

  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Powdered sugar, for serving (optional)
  • For the Filling

  • 10 ounces (one jar) pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained
  • ½ pound sliced ham
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (see recipe note)
  • Instructions

    1. Combine the milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the butter has melted. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast, and let mixture sit until the yeast begins to bubble slightly.

    2. Combine the milk mixture and eggs in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is cohesive, then knead for 3-5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or 5-7 minutes by hand, until a smooth, soft dough forms.

    3. If needed, incorporate a bit more flour (work 1 tablespoon at a time). Cover, and let rise for 1-2 hours, or until puffy. 

    4. Gently deflate the dough. Gather it back into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes — this makes it easier to roll. Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough into a 15″ x 13″ rectangle, about ½” thick.

    5. Space the ham slices evenly over the surface of the bread and scatter the olives and dried fruit on top.

    Jelly Roll Pan de Jamón

    6. Roll the bread like a jelly roll, starting with the shorter side. Press the seam to seal. Place the bread, seam-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Poke a few times with the tines of a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 60-90 minutes, or until puffy. 

    Baked Pan de Jamón

    7. Near the end of this rising period, preheat your oven to 350 F. Remove the plastic wrap. Brush the bread with your egg wash, and then put the pan de jamón in the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. 

    Sliced Pan de Jamón on Plate

    Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for several minutes. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing and serving. 

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