Sweet baked goods brighten our lives, whether it’s for breakfast or as a treat in between. This also applies to the Hispanic specialty Pan Dulce. Read where dough comes from and how you can make Pan Dulce yourself.
What is sweet bread and where does it come from?
In literal translation, Pan Dulce simply means “sweet bread”, but the Hispanic specialty is much more than that, since many varieties are summed up under the name. A pan dulce in Mexico is sometimes prepared very differently than a pan dulce in Venezuela. There are simple recipes that only need a few ingredients, like our Brazilian pralines brigadeiros, and complex double-dough versions. The variety is due to the origin of sweet bread: sweet bread was brought to the New World by Spanish immigrants and influenced by many other culinary cultures, such as the French. In Mexico alone, it is estimated that up to 2,000 different varieties of Pan Dulce have been created!
Prepare the sweet bread yourself and enjoy it with spreads
What all baked goods have in common is great flavor and versatility. You can enjoy the lightly sweetened Pan Dulce neat as a particle with a cup of coffee or spread with jam or honey in the morning for breakfast. A particularly suitable spread is the Latin American dulce de leche: smooth cream with caramel. As a basic recipe for Pan Dulce, for example, the following is suitable:
- Mix 1 kg of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 20 grams of dry yeast, 1 tablespoon of anise and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Whisk together 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
- Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients until a smooth paste forms.
- Let the dough rise for 45 minutes and then knead gently.
- Form balls with 100 g of dough, place them on a baking sheet covered with sugar and wait for them to double in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees and bake the panettone for about 15 minutes.
You can add sugar icing or Pan Dulce filling, which looks like a bun.
Create your personal Pan Dulce
In addition to the described recipe for a fairly simple sweet bread, there are also preparation options similar to panettone. Then butter, dried fruits and spices are added to the dough. Or you can use food coloring to make a colorful, cookie-like panettone—the creative possibilities are almost limitless. If you want to make a vegan Pan Dulce, you can use vegetable substitutes instead of milk and eggs. Good results can also be obtained with aquafaba, canned chickpea water.
Whichever variety of pan dulce you choose, enjoy pan dulce on its own or as a dessert after a South American main course like our Mexican chicken fajitas.