Pan de maiz (Dominican Cornbread)

Pan de maiz (Cornmeal bread)

Lost in translation: It isn’t only an acclaimed movie that I could not bring myself to like.

The language barrier is one of the biggest problems we have when writing articles, and even more so when developing and writing recipes.

Not only do you have two people here who speak different variants of English, and for whom ingredients and methods can have different names, but we also have a global audience that, sometimes within the same country, does not use the same words for the same things. This is why we are revisiting the recipe for this traditional Dominican cornbread.

Pan de maiz (Cornmeal bread)

One of our solutions has been simply to try and use American English as much as possible (after all most of our audience hails from the USA). Another is to try hard to describe rather than name things. This has solved some of the problems, but not all.

Take cornmeal, for example. It’s called harina de maiz in Spanish, a not quite literal translation. On top of that if you study the supermarket aisle you will find several products labelled “cornmeal”, and they don’t all look the same.

Pan de maiz (Cornmeal bread)

The cornmeal that is equivalent to the Dominican “harina de maiz” and that we use throughout our sites is not the coarse one that is used in some Southern US cuisines, neither is it the fine one used in Venezuelan cachapas, for example. Both would produce results far from the intended ones. So how do we solve this dilemma?

harina de maiz

Let’s try this: If you are unsure, and you have never seen the ingredient used in our cuisine, please feel free to ask. Not only will I try to find the answer (I’m not familiar with every brand, obviously), but there might be somebody from your neck of the woods who does know the correct brand or name. Deal?

And by the way, our cornmeal has roughly the texture of cane sugar (finer than polenta).

Pan de maiz (Cornmeal bread)

Pan de maiz (Dominican cornbread) is served with non-dairy cocoa or coffee as a snack, or as dessert after a meal. It is easy to prepare and very popular in the Dominican Republic.

Keep in mind that this is not as sweet as a regular cake, and its texture is drier/rougher than cakes made with wheat flour. This is why is best served alongside your favorite drink. Give it a try.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Pan de maiz (Cornmeal bread)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of softened butter
  • 2 cups of evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 2 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of raisins (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for covering the pans)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300ºF (150ºC)
  2. Mix milk and cornmeal. Let it rest for an hour (this is an optional step, but I have found it results in a more tender cornmeal bread).
  3. Pour the cornmeal mixture into a large bowl.
  4. Add eggs.
  5. Add butter (leave just a bit for covering the pans).
  6. Add cornstarch, salt, raisins (if you are using them), baking powder, cinnamon and sugar.
  7. Mix all the ingredients by hand or mixer until all the ingredients have been incorporated.
  8. Butter and flour two small (9") loaf pans (or whichever shape of pan you choose, cake pans will produce a moister result).
  9. Pour the batter into the baking pans making sure to stir while doing so, otherwise the solids will fall to the bottom of the mixing bowl (do not worry if it is too runny, that is OK).
  10. Bake for 35 minutes or until you insert a knife and it comes out clean.
  11. Cool before removing from the pan.
  12. Serve with hot cocoa, coffee or hot drink of your preference.
Notes
Do not expect something that has the texture of a cake. Dominican pan de maíz is drier, more dense and less sweet than your regular cake. For a result closer to a cake substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cornmeal (skip the resting time).

Originally posted Dec. 2005. Revised Sept. 2011.

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{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Missionary Mom March 25, 2014, 7:00 PM

    Excited about your site & all the yummy recipes! My family is gluten free & this looks delicious :-) We planning to move to the DR at the end of this year as we are going to be missionaries there. So glad I came across your site!
    Muchas Gracias
    Missionary Mom recently posted..Fun in the Dominican RepublicMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara March 27, 2014, 6:38 PM

      Have a great time in our small piece of island. And enjoy every bite of your stay here.

  • Cathy Jensen January 30, 2014, 1:29 PM

    I just mixed milk and cornmeal, and it’s more of a dough than a batter. very dry and hard to mix. Is this right? I thought it would be a batter. I am using harina de maiz.
    thanks!

  • Estefani December 24, 2013, 1:52 AM

    So easy to make & it came out like my mami used to make! Best of all, no need to substitute ingredients to make it Gluten Free!!! Love it!!!!

  • Iris May 17, 2012, 9:21 AM

    Hola, yo quisiera saber donde pongo el pan en el centro o en la parte de abajo del horno?

  • Nikki April 19, 2012, 12:56 PM

    You should specify how large the eggs you used are because large eggs and x-large eggs produce different results. Did you use large eggs?

    • Aunt Clara April 19, 2012, 1:26 PM

      Large is fine. And if you Xlarge there won't be any appreciable difference anyway.

      • nikki April 19, 2012, 7:57 PM

        thank you but I do think it makes a difference

      • Nikki May 31, 2012, 12:33 PM

        Sorry if I came off as rude, I always hear that it does make a difference and was upset that my cornbread didn't come out like the dominicans make it the first time

        • Aunt_Clara May 31, 2012, 1:57 PM

          Don't worry. I have used both without much of a difference. I use whatever eggs I have at the moment.

  • Nikki April 17, 2012, 10:05 AM

    hi, can you tell me if the eggs you used are large or x-large for this recipe?

  • Lucia Mancilla April 14, 2012, 2:34 PM

    Can i get to use these pictures that i have for a presentation because they are not letting me copy the pictures.

  • Eileen January 18, 2012, 8:28 AM

    I made this for my son's world language class and it didnt seem to come out right….it is very buttery….is is supposed to be this way? I followed the recipe exactly but the oil from the butter is oozing out. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    • Eileen January 18, 2012, 8:37 AM

      I see what I did wrong…i left out the baking powder as the instructions do not specifically say to add it…so I missed that. Will try again. Thanks.

      • Aunt Clara January 18, 2012, 9:05 AM

        Hi Eileen. On step 7 it says to mix all ingredients, but you were right it did not mention baking powder by name. I clarified that.

        If you want to cut on the butter you could, but bear in mind this is not a cake, it is not supposed to be all fluffy and soft, it is a "bread" that is supposed to be served with some liquid, just in case you wonder about the results later. The butter helps it make it more moist.

  • Tim October 28, 2011, 7:59 PM

    Is the Goya amarilla fina right?

  • Elisa A October 18, 2011, 1:43 PM

    Hola Clara, wondering if arina maseca can work for this. Let me know what you find out.

    Thanks

    Elisa

    • Aunt Clara October 20, 2011, 5:42 AM

      I will check time I got to the supermarket and let you know.

    • Pat bush November 24, 2011, 9:00 PM

      It worked fine for me, I served it for thanksgiving.

  • Ari October 3, 2011, 12:45 PM

    I'm wondering, is this the same as Dominican Arepas?? That's what I grew up having in the Dom Rep with 'Chocolate Caliente' – and no, not as a dessert, sometimes breakfast. I was just texting with my sister telling her how it brings me back to being a kid. The ingredients look very similar to what my family use, but they instead of soaking they will first mix the ingredients on stove top and cook it in a sauce pan for a few minutes before baking. I've never tried making it because its such a process, but I think I can give this a try. Have you ever tried making this with flaked coconut?

  • naama peled September 29, 2011, 7:44 AM

    wow! gorgeous cake.

    i love the pictures.

    happy new year from tel aviv.

  • leaf (the indolent c September 29, 2011, 6:10 AM

    Oh, this looks nice and easy! I'm not familiar with Dominican cuisine but you have certainly piqued my interest.

  • Yadsia @ShopCookMake September 28, 2011, 3:27 PM

    Gorgeous! Love the photos.

    You're right about corn meal. i live in Puerto Rico, we have different types of harina de maíz, each is used for something different.

    • Aunt Clara September 28, 2011, 3:52 PM

      Thanks, Yadsia.

      I would think than other than the DR, Puerto Rico is the next easiest place to replicate our cuisine.