Another type of bread that is very popular in Colombia, especially in the region of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, are almojábanas, which is another kind of cheese bread, very similar to pandebonos and pandequesos. I shared the recipe to make pandebonos a while back which are mainly made with tapioca starch and costeño cheese. Almojábanas have a very similar texture but are mainly made with cuajada (another type of white cheese) and cornmeal (to make arepas). Every now and then I’ve seen a recipe where they also make them with tapioca starch, cornstarch and costeño cheese, but if you really think about it, with those ingredients you’re practically making pandebonos and not exactly almojábanas… just sayin’.
And of course, making these almojábabas here in the US is a lot easier for me if I use queso fresco, a white Mexican cheese that I pretty much use on a daily basis. If you have the luxury of being able to find cuajada where you live, or the time to make it, all you have to do is let it dry so that it’s easier to grate. But, in all honesty, they come out just as delicious with the queso fresco.
Many, many people wrote me requesting this recipe ever since I started the blog and I am finally able to share it with all of you. You’ll see that they are much easier to make than you thought and that there is no secret for them to come out with that gorgeous golden brown color and that beautiful spongy texture.
- 1 cup (150 g) pre-cooked cornmeal (For making arepas)
- 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste, depending on how salty is your cheese
- 4 cups (400 g) cuajada, queso fresco, or Colombian white cheese, grated
- 1 large egg, beaten and at room temperature
- Milk, as needed, about 5-6 tbsp
- Pre-heat oven at 450ºF (232ºC).
- In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Then add the grated cheese and mix well. Now, add the beaten egg and start kneading with your hands. Finally, add a tbsp of milk at a time until you get a smooth dough.
- Divide dough into 10-12 equal portions, shape the almojábanas into small discs and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes and serve warm.
Hi, I love your blog Ana YouTube Channel! It is amazing to be able to make food that I miss so much when I leave Colombia! Just a quick question, I tried making these but they were browning too quickly on the center bottom…what could it be?
Hi there! It could be because your baking sheet was too thin and that usually lets the heat go through. If you don't have a thicker baking sheet, you can use two baking sheets, one under the other, to protect the almojábanas from burning. Also, if you're using dark baking sheets, they tend to absorb the heat longer, darkening the underside of most things you bake. Another thing you can try is position the baking sheet towards the top halfway through the baking process, just in case your oven is not distributing the heat evenly.
Make sure to use the second from top rack in the oven. For clarity, halfway up from center is best.
Hi! Everyone’s oven is a bit different. I bake them at 410 Convection, which translates to 430 “regular”. Sounds like your oven is running a bit hot like mine :-). I like the double cookie sheet idea from “Sweet y Salado” above. Good tip!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I am Colombian and I live two hours away from a Colombian bakery, it's a treat when we go to eat there. Now I can make them at anytime. My whole family truly thanks you for sharing the recipe with all.
Hi. Is it possible to substitute mozzarella cheese for the queso fresco as you did in the pandebonos V.2 recipe?
Hi, I have never made them with mozzarella cheese but you could try. I imagine the texture would be a bit different but not horrible.
Hi! Guess what?? I make it with Ricotta which is QUESO CUAJADO or “cuajada”! Just buy a good brand (preferably from an Italian food shop) and strain it a bit more by leaving it drain away in a sieve for an hour or so. I use a 3:1 ratio of Ricotta to Mozzarella. I also add a couple of TBS of dried milk. It accentuates the flavor. The Mozzarella does give it an extra yummy gooieness, but I wouldn’t do all mozz cause it’ll be dense… It just won’t be like an almojabana.
I live in Iowa, USA, I am Colombian and enjoy learning to cook Colombian Food. My two boys enjoy me doing that cooking. I have made almojabanas two times already, both times my bread comes out looking a bit flat, but ones it cools down the appearance is more like a thick arepa. The taste is certainly missing fluffiness. What can I do to improve taste and appearance? Humbly, a faithful follower/fun,
Nancy Galloway, Des Moines.
Hi Nancy, the key for making this version of almojábanas y making sure the dough is nice and soft. If it’s dry, like the texture of arepa dough, they will come out like arepas. So make sure it’s softer and smoother and that way they won’t dry up while baking in the oven, giving you very soft and cheese almojábanas.
I’m doing them now with mozzarella cheese. I did half like this and another half I tried add a bit of butter. The dough was easier to handle with the butter. Taste test next.
This is the first time I’ve left a comment on recipes. I lived in Colombia for a few years and miss the people and food. Tried this and it was very good. Thank you so much for sharing. I never thought it was so easy or would have been making them all along. The video was great!
Thank you so much, Becky! I’m so glad you decided to make them. 🙂
I tried maybe 6 or 7 times to make these and although the flavor was there, they weren’t as light and fluffy as I hoped. This time I used 2 eggs instead of one, and a pinch more of baking powder and they were perfect!! Thank you so much for this recipe!!
Hi Danielle, the pre-cooked cornmeal tends to absorb a lot of moisture really quickly. So if your dough is a bit dry, it’ll dry up even more in the oven, giving you hard and many times flat almojábanas. What I usually do is add more milk until the dough is nice and smooth. If it cracks it means it needs more moisture. Which is what the second egg that you used added to the dough. Glad you enjoyed them! ?
Hi there. Near my job there is a columbian cafe that sells Almojabanas which I have become addicted to these pillows of goodness. So I attempted to make these today with corn flour instead of corn meal and substituted the white sugar with coconut sugar. I used 1 egg with 1/2 of corn flour since I only wanted to make about 5-6 almojabanas but had to use a whole egg. They came out dark after 15 minutes in the oven and they did not come out fluffy. I do have an electric oven so that may have contributed to them coming out dark but they definitely did not come out to what I am use to. They were sweet but not airy or cheesy. I used queso fresco instead of columbian white cheese since I could not find it anywhere. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi Elsie, yes, you need to use precooked cornmeal to make this version of almojábanas. That’s what gives you the fluffy texture. I also use Mexican queso fresco, so that’s fine, however, I’m sure the bakery near your job uses “cuajada” made by them to make them. That’s a type of cheese that is softer than queso fresco, with an custardy texture.
Dear Sweet & Salado Author
EXCELLENT JOB! I have been
following your website and YouTube for over a few year Sams throughout several Asian Countries.
It’s wonderful you do your recipes in both English and spanish, because many ingredientes can’t be found in Spanish in many countries around the world- but certainly in English.
Keep up the great job!
Thanks a lot for this recipe, I love almojabanas Cundinamarca style.
I had the same result as Danielle, dry and a bit heavy almojanas. I will try again using your recommendations.
Hi! First time making almojabanas and they turned out very good. Thanks for the recipe. I made half recipe with one egg, 3 tbsp of milk and just a tiny bit more of half tsp of baking powder; baked them for 15 minutes. Great texture. Wish I can share a pic.
Second time making this recipe. Very good almojabanas. Is nice to feel home when you are away from home. Thanks for the recipe
Hello, I just made these. Tastes great. However, mine taste and have the consistency of buñuelos? What am I doing wrong? —Rene, NC
You’re not doing anything, this version of almojábanas tends to have that texture especially when made with queso fresco, because remember, in Colombia they use cuajada, which is softer and smoother. One thing to keep in mind is using plenty of cheese and add more milk to make the texture smoother. Don’t leave the dough too dry because you end up making arepas.
I made these today for my Colombian friend who misses them.
I followed the recipe and the dough seemed perfect. I only had about 250 grams of cheddar cheese that was the only difference.
They were really tasty, but not light and airy, in fact they were quite dense.
Certainly not a failure by any means.
They just did not rise to the fluffy pillow of goodness I expected.
I used the PAN brand per cooked cornmeal same as for Arepas.
So the first thing would be not to use any other type of cheese because that will give you a completely different texture, usually much drier than if you use the queso fresco or cuajada, which would be ideal for this recipe. Another tip is to make sure you measure everything correctly and that your dough is not too dry because if it is, it will keep drying out in the oven and at the end you end up with very dry arepas instead of fluffy almojábanas.
Hi I want to try your recipe, sounds delicious, however never heard of those types of cheese and definitely can’t find them where I live, would you say it’s like close to a feta cheese or cheddar or mozzarella, what would be best option? Thank you
The cheese is very similar to the Colombian queso campesino. It has to be soft and not too salty so that you can end up with a soft and smooth dough. Feta tends to be too dry, as well as mozzarella. However, I just read a comment someone left me in the Spanish YouTube video for this recipe where they said they used mozzarella and turned out fine. It might just work.
Ricotta! That IS “cuajada”. Just try to get a good Italian market one instead of a Polly-o brand. If it’s too wet, strain it with a sieve for an hour or so. In particular, I like to combine 3 parts Ricotta and 1 part Mozzarella to get the consistency I yearn for. I also add a couple of TBS of dried milk to enrich the flavor.
Perfect recipe, I add a little bit of melt butter to the dough 3 tsp , just perfect
My mom makes it ricotta cheese. Pan (cornmeal)
Pardon my ignorance, but how would I precook the cornmeal? These sound so tasty and I want to try them.
I buy the precooked cornmeal at the grocery store. You can usually find it in most Latin grocery stores.
Hi, you mentioned using cassava flour but that would be similar to the pandebono recipe. My SIL has a corn allergy. She loves almojabanas and I’d love to surprise her when she comes to visit. If I use cassava would it be the same amount?
The ones with cassava or tapioca flour are made completely different.
Making this In 2021 🙂 thank you
Hello, thank you for the recipe . I have a question about the Pre cooked cornmeal ? Do you have to cook the cornmeal before adding it to the bowl or do you buy it like that ? Hope my question was clear. 🙂
It’s the one we use to make arepas and I buy it at my local grocery store. You can also find it in most Latin grocery stores.
Hola, buen día. Está mañana desperté con ganas de una almojabana, pero como el restaurante colombiano más cercano queda a 20 minutos, decidí buscar la receta. Igual que ti use queso mexicano (Queso Fresco), y aunque no tenía suficiente queso (solo 2 tazas) quedaron riquísimas. Mil gracias desde Los Angeles, CA❤️🇨🇴🇨🇴🇨🇴
I’m looking to buy the ingredients. What is pre-cooked cornmeal mix? Can cornmeal flour or cornmeal mix be used?
It’s the cornmeal we use to make arepas. You can buy it at most Latin grocery stores.
Where do I buy the pre-cooked corn meal
Lately I find it in the Latin section of my local grocery store, but try a Latin grocery store or even on Amazon.
Hi I have just made these for my son who had lived for about 6 years in Colombia and loves them. I used feta cheese and they were delicious! Thank you. We we in the UK
thank u 🙏🏼 4 ur recipe.
we know there’s usually a million same recipes 4 everything but i always search out a few till i’m comfortable w/1 & that’s Urs!
i’m from queens close 2 roosevelt, jackson heights so there’s never a problem picking up sum delicious colombian delights, however, now i’m in stinky jersey city & there’s NO such thing out here especially by me!
the ironic thing is i HATE baking but absolutely LUV cookin!
i believe since i dislike baking i just don’t care 2 do it.
i’m even intimidated by mac & cheese cuz it involves bakin but it’s not bakin 😬
btw i’m makin a lobster mac & cheese.
okay well my point is…IF I COULD MAKE THESE DELICIOUS almojábanas thru ur recipe ANY1 can do it. my girlz r so glad they don’t have 2 wait till i happen 2 go 2 Queens.
thanx again & happy holidays.
Do you think ricotta cheese would work?
I have never made them with ricotta, however, I just read a comment from someone who says they did. Just make sure you strain it really well. Let me know if that works!