Pan De Jamon – Ham Bread

Pan de Jamon is special dish is eaten in Venezuela only during the holiday season in December.  It originated back in 1905, in Caracas, by the Ramella Bakery; it is a 100 percent original and exclusive Venezuelan recipe.  It was created as a way of using bits and pieces of leftover holiday ham (imported from Spain at the time) sold to customers.  These pieces were marinated in spices (wine, cinnamon, pineapples, cloves, sugar cane), rolled in a soft dough, and baked.  Later on olives and raisins were added.  Nowadays people add bacon instead of ham, or use other fillings such as salmon or turkey.  But the traditional recipe is ham (the higher the quality, the better the result), raisins and olives, with a sugar cane glaze to give it a shiny finish and sweet touch.

Pica Pica decided to introduce the Pan de Jamon to our holiday offering because we found a gluten free flour that yields very similar results to the original recipe, both in texture and taste.  We are using Thomas Keller’s C4C gluten free flour.  Although the name of the product implies that it is the same, cup for cup, to wheat flour, I strongly recommend you test your recipe and adjust as needed.  In the case of the dough for this bread, I found that the wheat flour absorbs much more liquid (water/milk) than the C4C flour (corn, rice and yucca based). You can get the C4C flour at Williams-Sonoma, online and in most or their stores.

A word about recipes. I have found that it is always hard to replicate a recipe when making it outside of its origins.  Has it ever happened to you – you take your great-aunt’s delicious chocolate chip cookies recipe to find that although very similar, your results are not exactly the same?  You must take into consideration that  ingredient products change over time, that temperatures and altitude can create differences in results (especially with baking) and that measurements some times don’t always translate.


Alejandro Espinel - Adriana,

Since recently when I was told I could not consume gluten, Ive been wondering what on earth am I gonna do when Christmas comes around. Pan de Jamon is my favorite holiday food and I’ve been wondering if I could make it gluten free! Thanks for the recipe!!! I’m so stuffing myself now haha!

Adriana Lopez - Fantastic! I am glad your Christmas will not be ruined! We will be posting the recipe soon, not too hard to make. I hope you enjoy it. If you make it please send me photos! Let me know what flour you use, etc. I would like to know. Thanks!

Janice - Just made 70 Hallacas 50 with a chicken and pork guiso and 20 vegetarian using seitan/tofu. Your YouTube videos were excellent. I haven’t made them in years and now (at your suggestion) my husband has become the banana leaf expert. He is the Venezuelano in the family but our son was the third in the assembly line so he knows how to make them as well.
Just going to use your recipe for pan de jamon (one regular flour and one for my son’s girlfriend who is Celiac. Do you also have an ensalada de gallina recipe??? Someday, I hope to make it to Pique Pique but it is a long way from Toronto!

Adriana Lopez - I am delighted that you ventured into making hallacas this year! How was it finding the key ingredients? Each year we will be adding a new dish to add to the traditional venezuelan dinner- hen salad and green papaya dessert included! Feliz Navidad y Ano Nuevo, Adriana

Maria Zanganeh - Hello:

I found an image of pan de jamon on your website, and wonder if might be able to source this image from you to run with a story on our website? We could credit the photographer as well as Pica Pica

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you,


Marisa Zanganeh
Consulting Photo Editor, AARP Media
601 E St., NW
Washington, DC 20049
Office: 202.434.6756
Cell: 202.441.4486
Twitter: @mzphoto

Adriana - Thanks Marisa, we are excited to see the photo published!!

The Nomad Cook - Hello,
I’d like to thank you for your video. I made gluten free Pan de Jamon and added the recipe to my Healthy Venezuelan Cooking cookbook available on amazon, btw. I’ll try to send you a picture of it on twitter, thanks again!

Donna - Hola Adriana, que rico se ve ese pan de jamon! Donde esta el link para descargar la receta? Solo me aparece el video mas no la receta. Saludos y gracias!

Doris - Made 30 Hallacas/15 Bollos, Here’s a tip to help making Hallacas with frozen bananas leaves which crack and tear easily, use parchment paper on the outside to keep them together better and from water getting in, I’ve been using this method for a few years with a lot of success, They look a bit strange but the final product is great

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