This Pan de Agua recipe, the ‘water bread’, is a staple in Latin American kitchens. Revel in its fluffy texture and satisfying density – an effortlessly simple bread that promises to be the easiest loaf you’ll ever bake!
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What is Pan De Agua?
Pan de agua, which translates to “water bread” in Spanish, is a traditional Puerto Rican bread with a unique texture and flavor. It is characterized by its thin, crisp, and golden crust that encases a soft and airy interior. The name “water bread” originates from its simple ingredients, which primarily include flour, water, yeast, and a touch of salt. This bread is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine.
There is something cathartic about baking bread. If you want some of my other favorite bread recipes then you have to try my Easy Rustic Olive Bread, Savory Irish Soda Bread, and Honey and Herb Bread.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Pan de Agua has that crisp outer layer that gives a satisfying crunch, balancing the soft interior.
- Just flour, yeast, water, and salt – it’s back to basics with ingredients you likely have at home.
- No fancy techniques needed, making it a joy for bakers of all levels to create.
- It’s the ultimate comfort food, conjuring up the warmth of a family kitchen.
- All-Purpose Flour: This provides the structure and body of the bread.
- Active Dry Yeast: This is the leavening agent that helps the bread puff up and get that lovely, airy interior.
- Salt: It’s crucial for flavor and also helps control yeast fermentation for the perfect rise.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Herb Pan de Agua: Mix in Italian seasoning and garlic powder for an aromatic herb-infused loaf.
- Cheesy Pan de Agua: Incorporate shredded cheddar cheese and a hint of cayenne pepper for a spicy cheese bread.
- Sweet Cinnamon Pan de Agua: Add sugar and cinnamon to the mix for a sweet, breakfast-style bread.
- Olive Oil & Rosemary Pan de Agua: Blend in olive oil and fresh rosemary for a fragrant, Mediterranean touch.
How to Make Pan de Agua
Step #1: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in hot water and let it sit for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step #2: Next, add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture.
Step #3: Then, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it reaches an elastic consistency.
Step #4: Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Then, punch it down and let it rise for another 45 minutes.
Step #5: While it is rising the second time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).
Step #6: After it has risen, shape your dough into a loaf, cut slits in the middle, and bake on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Finally, serve with butter and enjoy!
- Egg Wash Shine: For an extra glossy finish, brush the dough with an egg white wash before baking; this will lend the crust a stunning, shiny golden appearance.
- Water Temperature: Ensure warm water is between 105-110°F (40-43°C) for optimal yeast activation; water that’s too hot can kill the yeast, while water that’s too cold won’t activate it.
- Cornmeal Dusted Baking Sheet: If you have cornmeal in your pantry dust the baking sheet with it before placing the dough on it. This will help it keep from sticking to the sheet. If you don’t have cornmeal, then just use some extra flour.
- Sharp Cuts: Use a very sharp knife or razor to cut slits into the dough; this helps in even expansion and prevents tearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it can easily be made by hand or with a standard mixer with dough hooks.
Absolutely, it toasts well and becomes extra crispy, perfect for spreads or toppings.
It should have a golden-brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
It’s often served as a side for meals, used for sandwiches, or enjoyed with coffee.
Pan de Agua has a thinner crust and a softer crumb compared to the chewier texture of a French baguette.
To keep Pan de Agua fresh, store it at room temperature, wrapped in a cloth inside a plastic bag for two days. For extended storage, freeze the sliced bread wrapped in plastic and then in foil for up to three months. To warm up a whole loaf of bread or slices, heat them in an oven preheated to 350°F (about 175°C); it should take roughly 10-15 minutes.
Pan de Agua Recipe
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in hot water and let it sit for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Next, add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture.
- Then, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it reaches an elastic consistency.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Then, punch it down and let it rise for another 45 minutes.
- While it is rising the second time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).
- After it has risen, shape your dough into a loaf, cut slits in the middle, and bake on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Finally, serve with butter and enjoy!