Posted by: smortimer | 2009/05/21


Last night my wife made Pandebono which is a really yummy Colombian bread.  Apparently there are two stories of the origin of this bread.  One story has an Italian baker in Cali selling “pan del bono” (Italian) which means good bread.  A second history claims the bread was made at Hacienda el Bono a site between Dagua and Cali.  The bread was called, Pan del Bono,(Spanish) meaning Bread from El Bono.

There is a Colombian bakery that sells these at $1 each, and so armed with a printed out recipe we hit the grocery store last night.

The recipe called for tapioca flour, and all we could find is tapioca starch.  Since we were not sure this is the same thing we opted for this mix, all we had to add was the cheese, egg and milk.  Eggs and milk were no problem, but the cheese. . . The mix calls for 3 cups of grated queso fresco or farmers cheese.

Getting to the cheese and deli counter I was very happy to find queso fresco almost immediately.  However it was a soft water packed cheese.  No way we could grate that.  So we enlisted the aid of the ladies working behind the counter.  Eventually we discovered that they had farmers cheese, and so we got 750 grams (approx.) of farmers cheese.  And home we went.

My wife does not often decide to just cook something, and it is even rarer that she should try something that neither of us has ever made before.  But last night she was on a mission!  We were going to have pandebono come hell or high water.  So she grated three cups of cheese, mixed it with the mix, added an egg (ok I added the egg, her hands were covered in cheese and flour), and then the milk.  She kneaded the dough and then formed it into 2″ diameter balls and then pressed them into 1″ high disks.

Our newly formed balls of cheesy-doughy goodness were then treated to a 15 minute rest before being thrust into a hot (400 degree) oven.  18 minutes later our kitchen was awaft with the aroma of freshly baked bread.

I didn’t grab any pictures of the bread, but we tried it and it was well worth it!  Of course since I didn’t do the kneading/mixing my opinion may be a little different than Carol’s.  🙂  The rolls are not exactly the same as from the bakery, we think the cheese we got was not as salty.  So we either need to change that or add some salt in the dough.

The rolls from the bakery are 1$ each, and we paid $13 for the cheese, and $2 for the mix (all figures approx.) and ended up with 20 rolls.  So unless we can find a better place to get the cheese it is not a great savings.  But there is something very wholesome and organic about baking bread.  It doesn’t have to be a significant saving of money to be worth it.  The whole process of mixing the ingredients, forming the dough and kneading it all is very . . . human.  It cannot be a coincidence that every society has their own “bread”

There are few things in life that can evoke the same feeling that the smell of fresh bread baking does.  I can remember driving downtown with my parents early in the morning and passing the Weston bread factory.  Just driving by would bring me out of my early morning drowse and wake me right up.

We will definatly be making these again!



  1. You can buy queso blanco (caribe), which works just as well and can be shredded (and isn’t too salty) at Costco. I don’t know where you are, but maybe any whole sale place like Sam’s would sell it. I buy two big blocks of it for roughly $6. This youtube video really helps–
    I make pandebono and buñuelos. I found the best way to make pandebono is to use part queso blanco and part queso cotija (it’s like a dry mexican parmesan cheese that is salty–it evens out the two cheeses and I don’t even have to add salt to it. You could maybe find these cheeses in any mexican tienda (store). Good luck!

    • Thank you Felisha, I will look for the queso blanco. I live in Toronto and I have never seen this at Costco, but there is a Colombian bakery near my house that also carries some grocery items. I will check it out!!

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