Pan Casero Costa Rican Homemade Bread

Beans and rice, fried egg, and pan casero together on a wooden tabletop.

Pan casero from Costa Rica is a homemade white bread made most traditionally in wood-burning ovens. Made with white flour, sugar, salt, margarine eggs and yeast, this bread is slightly sweet and totally delicious.

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About Costa Rican Pan Casero

Pan casero is a strangely traditional Costa Rican recipe. I say this because everyone loves it but very few people actually make it.  Pan casero literally translates to homemade bread (casero/a means homemade in Spanish), but people buy it all the time. Ironic, right? I’m going to tell you a little bit about Costa Rican bread traditions, and also a little bit about why people don’t make bread at home in Costa Rica. 

Costa Ricans generally eat bread when they drink their morning or afternoon coffee. It’s tradition to invite people over for coffee- the host supplies the coffee and the people who arrive bring the bread. We literally break bread with our friends and neighbors on most days. 

But- most Costa Ricans don’t have ovens in their homes as we do in the United States. Most ticos cook on a gas stove that sits on the counter. More traditional homes may have a wood-burning oven, and the smaller countertop ovens are becoming more popular around the country. However, the electric ranges with an oven are not as common in Costa Rica as they are in other parts of the world. This means that people don’t bake as much as here.

Add that to the fact that there are literally tons of delicious bread stores on every corner that sell fresh, hot baguettes at coffee hour for around $0.80, there really isn’t a need to bake unless you really love to. (Or unless you own a bakery.) Ironically, many bakeries sell pan casero. However, when you find true pan casero, it’s delicious and everyone loves it. 

Pan casero is relatively easy to make, and a traditional Holy Week recipe, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share it with you. The original recipe calls for 12 cups of flour and makes a ton of bread, so I’ve modified it to make one loaf. 

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups of white flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar + 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/3 cup water + 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Kitchen Tools:

  • Mixer
  • 2 Baking pans- round or square

Instructions:

Combine 1/4 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast and 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small cup or bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine water, milk, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil on medium heat and add margarine. Once the margarine has melted, remove from heat and bring to room temperature.

Place the milk mixture in a mixer and add flour to it until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. 

Make a hole in the middle of the dough ball and pour the yeast mixture in the middle. Cover, and begin to knead until well combined. 

Divide the dough ball into two parts and place them in your greased baking pans. Allow to rise for a half-hour in a warm place (like next to a warm oven or in the sun.) Knead each one a little bit and then allow to rise for another half hour.

Bake at 350 degreed Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. 

Additional Costa Rican Baking Recipes:

Substitutions

None.

Variations

Some people make this bread with three times the amount of sugar so that it becomes as sweet bread. There are as many ways to make this bread as there are bakers. Some people add anise seed or raisins to the bread. 

Serving Suggestions

Cut the bread into equal servings and serve warm. Ticos will generally serve this bread with white cheese, butter, cream cheese, guava paste, fruit jam or pate. 

This recipe is often served at breakfast with gallo pinto.  Serve with hot beverage of your choice- coffee, tea or agua dulce.

FAQ

None.

Our most popular Costa Rican recipes:

Printable Recipe

Yield: 2 loaves

Pan Casero Costa Rican Homemade Bread

Beans and rice, fried egg, and pan casero together on a wooden tabletop.

Pan casero from Costa Rica is a homemade white bread made most traditionally in wood-burning ovens. Made with white flour, sugar, salt, margarine eggs and yeast, this bread is slightly sweet and totally delicious.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups of white flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar + 1/8 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/3 cup water + 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Kitchen Tools:
  • Mixer
  • 2 Baking pans- round or square

Instructions

  1. Combine 1/4 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast and 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small cup or bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine water, milk, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil on medium heat and add margarine. Once the margarine has melted, remove from heat and bring to room temperature.
  3. Place the milk mixture in a mixer and add flour to it until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers. 
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the dough ball and pour the yeast mixture in the middle. Cover, and begin to knead until well combined. 
  5. Divide the dough ball into two parts and place them in your greased baking pans. Allow to rise for a half-hour in a warm place (like next to a warm oven or in the sun.) Knead each one a little bit and then allow to rise for another half hour.
  6. Bake at 350 degreed Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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