"Pan de campo” (also known as “cowboy bread” or “camp bread") was declared the official bread of the state of Texas by the Texas legislature in 2005. The south Texas town of San Diego holds an annual Pan de Campo Festival.
Texas Department of Agriculture
City of San Diego - Matching reimbursement funds for billboard, posters, print and radio advertising and Web site for the Annual Pan de Campo. The event, June 2-4, 2006, was started 26 years ago as a way to preserve the city’s history and as an economic development effort to introduce residents and neighbors to the life of the Texas cowboy. In the late 1970s Duval County and the City of San Diego paid homage to its original settlers, the vaqueros, with a traditional Mexican-style fiesta that featured a Pan de Campo cooking contest. Pan de Campo is a flat bread traditionally cooked in a Dutch oven over a mesquite fire. The State Legislature has since declared San Diego as the Pan de Campo Capital of Texas. The celebration includes the traditional Pan de Campo cooking contest, trail ride, carnival, music, vendor booths, beauty pageant, baby photo pageant, parade, games and other events.
Vaqueros: America’s First Cowmen
by Martin W. Sandler
New York: Henry Holt and Company
Pg. 110 Glossary:
Pan de campo. The Spanish words meaning “camp bread,” which was a common food the vaqueros ate while on the range or on a cattle drive.
Pan de Campo: The Official State Bread of Texas
by John Raven, Ph.B.
In June of this year, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill designating Pan de Campo as the official State Bread of Texas.
The translation for pan de campo is “camp bread”. It is just as often called cowboy bread. It is a simple baking powder bread that was a staple of the early Texans. It’s still very popular today, and there are several pan de campo cook-offs in South Texas every year.
I know a lot of you are thinking that sourdough was the bread of the cowboys. Well, if you had a chuck wagon and a cook to man it, sourdough was a real treat. But if you were eating out of your saddlebags, a jug of sourdough starter was a mite difficult to manage. The baking powder required to make pan de campo can be carried in an old snuff can if need be. Just as long as it’s kept dry, it’s happy. Flour, baking powder, salt, lard and some water is all that’s required to make pan de campo. There are recipes that call for oil and milk, but that detracts from the basic nature of this bread. Cowboys on a trail drive were unlikely to have fresh milk handy, and they knew better than to try and milk a steer.
The classic pan de campo is baked in a Dutch oven. It comes out as a round loaf the diameter of your Dutch oven and about an inch and a half or two inches thick. It can also be cooked in a skillet with a lid, or it can be fried. If things are really scarce, you can wrap the dough around a stick and cook it over coals. Oh, and if you are up-to-date, you can bake it in the oven in the comfort of your kitchen. Baking the pan de campo in a Dutch oven gives it a moist atmosphere to cook in, which I believe makes for moister bread. The “crust” will be soft. However, pan de campo baked in a dry oven will have a crisp crust which I like a lot.
H.C.R. No. 98
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The colorful history of the Lone Star State is inextricably associated with the romance of cowboy culture, and among the many legacies of this proud heritage is the delicious flat bread known as pan de campo, or cowboy bread; and
WHEREAS, Relied on by early settlers and vaqueros to sustain themselves as they rode the range, pan de campo has transcended its humble origins to take a place of honor at such events as the Pan de Campo celebration that is sponsored annually by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce in Duval County; and
WHEREAS, With thousands of participants and spectators, the celebration includes such events as softball and volleyball tournaments, a parade and live Tejano music, and the pan de campo
WHEREAS, The chefs who make contemporary variations on pan de campo recognize that cowboy bread’s appeal lies not only in its elegant simplicity but also in its role as a redolent reminder of
the state’s storied past and the vaqueros of South Texas; and
WHEREAS, Because the cowboys who introduced pan de campo to Texas had no access to conventional kitchens, the bread was prepared in small portable ovens, and it was this distinctive
cooking method that gave pan de campo its characteristic texture and flavor; and
WHEREAS, Pan de campo enjoys a singular stature in Texas history and culture that is rivaled only by its undeniable appeal as a versatile and satisfying food, and it is only right and proper
that this essential element of the state’s greatness receive official recognition; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 79th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate pan de campo the Official State Bread of Texas.
Panocha Bread Cooking in South Texas
There is a tradition of Camp Cooking in South Texas that harkens back to the time of trail drives.
To make Camp bread (Pan de Campo)...
Camp Bread, a trail bread
basic recipe half batch quarter batch
5 lbs. flour 2.5 lbs 1.25 lbs
1 lb. butter .5 lb .25 lb
4 tsp. salt 1 tsp .5 tsp
4 tblsp baking powder 2 tblsp 1 tblsp
water water water
Pre heat the dutch oven over hot coals.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, adding just enough water to allow the dough to form a ball. Knead as for tortillas. Pat dough into flat cakes about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick and large enough to cover the bottom of the dutch oven.
Grease or oil inside bottom of the dutch oven with oil, lard or shortening.
Put in the bread. Replace the top on the dutch oven and cover the top with coals. Cook until done, usually 15 to 30 minutes depending on how hot the oven is. When it is done it is light brown and cooked through.
25 November 1961, Greeley (CO) Tribune, Lunch Menus, pg. 3, col. 1:
...cowboy bread and butter;...
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, December 20, 2006 • Permalink