What is a Pebete?

Bacon is one of the four traditional ingredients in pebete.

Pebete is a type of Argentine sandwich, similar to the American BLT. In fact, the term pebete is commonly assumed to mean PBT – bread or pan in Spanish, bacon and tomato. The term, however, refers to the spongy but crispy bread, not the sandwich ingredients.

Since pebete is a yeast in bread, yeast is needed. Typically, a fast-growing or fast-rising yeast is used, as opposed to the active dry yeast often used in bread making. Flour, sugar, salt and butter are also included. Some recipes can also mix the yeast into the dough. Originating in San Francisco, yeast is made with flour, milk, yeast and water, just like regular yeast bread. The yeast used, however, is local wild yeast which gives the bread a more acidic flavor than the commercially brewed variety.

A pebete traditionally includes mayonnaise.

To make pebete bread, the yeast is first dissolved in warm milk. Then the other ingredients are mixed and the dough is left to rest a little while it rises. The dough should have a similar consistency to pizza dough. If yeast is also used, it is made separately and placed in the dough mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Sourdough does not use fast-rising yeast, so it will take much longer to rise.

Originating in San Francisco, yeast is made with flour, milk, yeast and water.

After the pebet dough has risen, it is cut and rolled into roughly circular shapes, which are then pulled into fluffy oval shapes. The ovals are placed on a baking sheet and allowed to rise again. Once the second fermentation is complete, the buns are usually brushed with eggs before being placed in the oven to cook. The finished pebete bread will have a crispy brown outside and a spongy, soft inside.

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Some recipes do not suggest brushing the top of the buns with egg before cooking. Instead, they advise combining cornstarch or cornmeal with water to make a thin paste that can be spread over bread before or after baking. This is sometimes termed “painting” the bread.

Pebete bread can be made by hand or in a bread maker. In Argentina, it is commonly found in bakeries. Although it can be eaten alone, only pebete bread is used to make pebete sandwiches.

When used for sandwiches, the buns are cut lengthwise. Traditionally, there are four ingredients in a pebete: cheese, tomato, mayonnaise and usually bacon or ham. The meat is variable, and your only requirement is that it be a cured type of meat.

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