A Venezuelan Christmas with pan de jamón

pan-de-jamonVenezuelan Christmas Ham Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 1/2c lukewarm milk (can use any milk)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 c flour, plus more as needed (can use whole wheat if desired, but adjust amount accordingly)
  • 7 T butter, melted (can use olive oil)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c dark raisins
  • 3/4 c light raisins
  • 1/2 lb ham, prosciutto works wonderfully
  • 1 c sliced pimento stuffed olives
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp milk for egg wash

In a large bowl, combine the milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of the flour and set to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

After one hour is up, whisk in 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, 2 eggs, and the salt. Add 2 cups of flour and mix well. Continue to add the remainder of the flour and mix until you have a soft and sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a well floured workspace and knead until smooth and elastic adding more flour as needed.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a buttered bowl. Roll the dough in the bowl to coat all sides with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours. *Hate to knead? Mix until the dough is soft and sticky then allow to rise for one hour. After that, pop it in the fridge to rise overnight. The next day, follow the remaining steps.*

While the dough is rising, soak the raisins in hot water and cover until plump (about 15 minutes).

When doubled in bulk, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 14″ x 18″ rectangle. Brush with the remaining butter and layer the ham, raisins, and olives. Starting on the long edge, roll the dough up (like a jelly roll) and place seam side down on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 F. Before placing in the oven, brush the bread with the egg wash. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cover with a damp kitchen towel for 15 minutes.

Eating Berlin

kaeserieLa Soupe Populaire – tops my list of best restaurants in Berlin. The unique setting enhances the dining experience and the details alone are enough to keep you entertained. Service was as thoughtful as the food, wines were excellent, and if you’re wondering about the cover charge, it’s totally worth it! Menus in German and English.

La Kaeserie – once you’ve entered, you won’t want to leave. If there are free tables, stay for a cheese plate that will not disappoint! I wanted to bring back all the cheese and unpasteurized butter…

Street food Thursday at Markthalle Neun – outstanding street food night!! Bao, jams, fish and chips, New York pastrami sandwiches, smoked fish, Aussie meat pies, wine and cheese plates and I could go on. If you’re around on a Thursday evening in Berlin, this is the place to be.

Aguevo – yummy Mexican spot

Rembrandt Burger – solid burgers and fries

Burger Meister – honestly, I didn’t picture myself waiting for a burger underneath a train station, let alone eating there. I did both. It’s the Berlin version of Shake Shack and yes, it’s tasty.

Brezel Company – because you want a pretzel, because they have pretzels stuffed with cream cheese (genius!).


Silo – super cute cafe, Australian owners, great coffee and deliciously fresh eats.

Five Elephant – good coffee, not many food items, friendly service.

Am Ende der Welt – near Hamburger Bahnof museum, small selection of food.


Hopfenreich – craft beer, local and imports, selection rotates often. Drafts are available in different sizes.

Bier Lieb – craft beer store, fun selection!

Die Apotheken Bar – crazy good cocktails (board games too)

Heiden Peters – some of best local beer I had

Hops and Barley – popular local brewery, good stuff, constantly rotating selection