Want to be in on the latest?

Don't miss out on our new content. Sign up!

The Softest Ever Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

May 15, 2017 imgobblethecookgmail-com 4 min read 14 Comments
Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

The Softest Ever Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

May 15, 2017 Paula (Gobble The Cook) 4 min read 14 Comments

My first attempt at making pandesal was a major disaster.  The rolls were tasty but rivaled a blackhole in density. Because they were so hard, eating them felt like I was eating stones.  Since then, I swore never to make pandesal in my entire life again.  Up until last week, that is.

This post is a part the Filipino Bread series. This series aims to promote well-loved Filipino bread to everyone. Check out the other posts included in this series: #FilipinoBreadSeries.

Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

Pandesal is the quintessential Filipino bread roll. It comes from three Spanish words pan de sal which literally translate to bread of salt or salt bread in English.  No surprise there because the Philippines was a colony of Spain for 333 years.

Filipino panaderias (bakeries) always boast that their recipe is the best.  My apartment back in Manila was a stone’s throw away from a bakery and I could smell the aroma of freshly baked pandesal at 4 or 5am everyday.  Pandesal is always the first order of business in any bakery in the Philippines and no self-respecting panadero (that’s baker in Filipino) would dare remove it from the list of goodies to sell at the bakery.  By mid-morning, you’d be hard-pressed to find pandesal as they sell out like hotcakes.

Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

While I enjoy pandesal as much as the next Filipino, I do have one gripe with it. The normal pandesal that you get from bakeries tastes like cardboard, bland and coarse. I guess it has something to do with the rising costs of ingredients and the drive to turn a profit.

But is it possible for a home baker to reclaim the sought after characteristics of pandesal? Is it too much to hope for soft, finely textured, and mouthwatering rolls? I set to find out.

An important component of bread baking is yeast. I talked a bit about yeast in this post on Chocolate Babka. Anyway, I noticed that most Filipino recipes don’t specify what kind of yeast to use. But based on experience, the most common yeast available in the country is the active dry yeast.

This kind of yeast needs to be activated in lukewarm, sweetened liquid (not hot as that will kill off the yeast) for 5-10 minutes before adding it to the dry ingredients. However, in case you have a packet of rapid rise or instant yeast, do note that this may be added directly to the dry ingredients.

There are also recipes that use bread flour. For my own version, I stuck with regular, all purpose flour. Bread flour contains more protein than all purpose flour and this helps develop gluten. More gluten equals chewier, denser bread.

While some types of yeasted bread would benefit from a chewier texture, I prefer my pandesal to be on the soft side. Hence, the all purpose flour (4 cups of it) used in this recipe. Oh by the way, I use a kitchen scale to measure my ingredients for consistency. Check out the common ingredients and their corresponding weight measurements here. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure to measure the ingredients correctly (i.e. spoon and level or dip and level).

After mixing the wet and dry ingredients, you’ll get a wet and sticky dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour though. That was my big mistake the first time I baked pandesal. I added too much flour (and not by tablespoons either) because I thought that the dough was too wet to knead. Just sprinkle a tablespoon or two during kneading or make sure that your hands are oiled before handling the dough.

Surprisingly, whipping up your own batch of pandesal is easy. Aside from dealing with the stickiness of the dough, the only other activity  that was remotely hard was waiting for the dough to rise.

I think what stops some people from trying their hand at bread making is the kneading process. I admit, it also stopped me from trying to bake bread for a long time. Kneading is crucial in turning that dough to the best bread you can have. Kneading can also turn that dough into a lump dense enough to be used as paperweight.

I use my stand mixer to knead the dough for a few minutes. Once I feel that the dough is smooth enough and comes together easily, I turn out the dough onto a silicone baking sheet. I knead the dough by hand for a few minutes until it is quite elastic. I then pinch a part of the dough and stretch it between my thumb and forefinger. If it stretches easily without breaking and is already a wee bit translucent, it means that I have already kneaded the dough enough.

If at first you don’t succeed, there’s always a second time (or a third time or an nth time). I’m sure your taste testers will be more than happy to sample your “failures”.

Ready to give it a go?

 

 

Print
Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)

The Softest Ever Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)


  • Author: Paula (Gobble The Cook)
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 24
  • Category: Bread, Filipino
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Description

Pandesal, or pan de sal, is the quintessential Filipino bread rolls. Each local bakery would boast of selling the freshest, warmest pandesal for breakfast or afternoon snacks.  By midmorning, you’d be hard pressed to find pandesal as they sell out like hot cakes. Surprisingly, whipping up your own batch of pandesal is easy. Follow this pandesal recipe for the softest pandesal you’ll ever taste!


Ingredients

240 ml milk

2 eggs, large

480 grams (4 cups) all purpose flour

83 grams (3/8 cup) sugar

35 grams (1/4 cup) milk powder, optional

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

57 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened


Instructions

  1. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl.
  2. Mix in flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, and yeast. After kneading for a few minutes, just enough for the dough to come together, add the butter in batches.
  3. Knead until dough is soft and elastic (until windowpane stage). Form into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Transfer the dough onto a well floured surface. Punch down the dough to slightly deflate.
  5. Forming the pandesal: There are 2 ways to shape the pandesal:

    Method 1:Roll the dough to form a rectangle. Starting from the long side nearest you, roll into a log and pinch ends to seal. Cut into 24 pieces, slicing diagonally. Roll each piece in bread crumbs and place onto a baking sheet with the cut side up.

    Method 2:

    Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and roll it in bread crumbs. Place each ball onto a baking sheet.

  6. Cover the pandesal and rest for 1 hour or until the pandesal doubles in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Bake the pandesal for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

23-Aug-17: Updated the recipe to include when to add the butter. It’s in step 2. 🙂

  • I cut the butter into pats, since it makes it faster to soften to room temperature and easier to add to the dough.

Check out the other posts included in this series: #FilipinoBreadSeries:

 
Paula (Gobble The Cook)

I'm a software engineer by profession and a home cook/baker in my downtime. As a self taught cook and baker, I believe that anyone is capable of creating mouthwatering, home-cooked food.

All posts

14 Comments

  • Emily August 28, 2018 at 1:53 PM

    Hi Paula! I did try to make my first ever pandesal last month but it’s no good because it is not soft, so heavy even to the touch. Since then i was discourage to give it another try until i found this : ) I followed a recipe that i just found and it uses bread flour, so maybe that’s one cause for the density? I would love to try your recipe using all purpose flour. But i have a question though, i want to halve the ingredients if i’m going to make another trial first, how do i go about the amount of yeast? Should i divide the amount 2 1/4 tsp to 1 1/8 tsp?

    Thanks in advance and more power!

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) August 31, 2018 at 2:13 PM

      Hi Emily! Yes, some recipes do use bread flour. I tried that before and yes, I find that bread flour tends to produce denser pandesal than all purpose flour, at least in my experience. I believe it’s due to its protein content which is higher than APF. But that’s one possible cause for having dense pandesal. Perhaps you added too much flour? That was one of the problems I had when I first made pandesal, so take care in measuring your ingredients as well. Did you knead it until you can stretch the dough between 2 fingers without breaking (windowpane stage)? Don’t be too hesitant in kneading until the dough reaches that stage – it’s important to get that soft texture. It’s a good idea to do a half batch first – I do that too when trying out a recipe for practice. For the yeast, yes, you need 1 1/8 tsp. 🙂 I hope this time around it turns out great for you! Thank you!

       
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) August 31, 2018 at 2:15 PM

      Hi Emily! Yes, some recipes do use bread flour. I tried that before and yes, I find that bread flour tends to produce denser pandesal than all purpose flour, at least in my experience. I believe it’s due to its protein content which is higher than APF. But that’s one possible cause for having dense pandesal. Perhaps you added too much flour? That was one of the problems I had when I first made pandesal, so take care in measuring your ingredients as well. Did you knead it until you can stretch the dough between 2 fingers without breaking (windowpane stage)? Don’t be too hesitant in kneading until the dough reaches that stage – it’s important to get that soft texture. It’s a good idea to do a half batch first – I do that too when trying out a recipe for practice. For the yeast, yes, you need 1 1/8 tsps. 🙂 I hope this time around it turns out great for you! Thank you!

       
  • Jackie July 11, 2018 at 9:01 AM

    Hi! And oh no! I just read the last comment about the active dry yeast. I got to excited and didn’t realize that instant and active dry yeast are different. Anyway, I didn’t wet the yeast in warm liquids as directed. Is it too late to salvage my Pandesal. It’s in the rising faze right now 🙁

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) July 11, 2018 at 9:10 PM

      Hey, it’s ok! We live and we learn 🙂 Anyways, I think your pandesal will still be ok, I think it probably won’t rise as much. How was it after baking?

      P.S. I’m so sorry I didn’t know that my reply to you wasn’t showing up – I’m trying to get this issue fixed. 🙂

       
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) August 13, 2018 at 9:38 PM

      I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that my reply wasn’t showing up! Regarding your comment – hey, it’s ok! We live and we learn 🙂 Anyways, I think your pandesal will still be ok, I think it probably won’t rise as much. How was it after baking?

       
  • Erica Go June 14, 2018 at 9:18 AM

    If I were to use active dry yeast, shat dweetend liquid do you think I should use? And how much of it? Thanks 🙂

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) June 27, 2018 at 9:10 PM

      Hi! When using active dry yeast, I usually just mix the liquid specified in the recipe – most often water or milk and a tablespoon of sugar. Just make sure to use lukewarm liquid and to dissolve the sugar before sprinkling the yeast on top. Once you’ve done that, let the yeast “bloom” for a few minutes. You’ll see some froth on top of the liquid. Hope this helps!

       
  • Angie March 15, 2018 at 4:47 AM

    is there such thing as over kneading the dough and what is the effect of it.

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) March 16, 2018 at 9:09 PM

      Yep, over kneading can happen and it’s happened to me before. Over kneading produces bread that’s tougher and denser, has a drier texture, and a hard crust. When I first made pandesal, I didn’t know when to stop kneading so I over kneaded it a bit. But not to worry! You can try to salvage an over kneaded dough by letting it rise longer before you shape it. Hope this helps a bit!

       
  • Jeanette January 24, 2018 at 8:56 PM

    I used your recipe to make my very first pandesal, and I love the outcome!!! I had a sticky dough (is that right?), I add just a little amount of flour. Thank you!!!

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) February 7, 2018 at 11:29 PM

      Hi! Yes, it’s a very sticky dough and I usually just add a bit of flour when I’m kneading it by hand. I’m glad it turned out great for you!

       
  • Eleena August 23, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    This is such an amazing recipe! Thank you Paula! Was struggling initially to knead the dough by hand because it was too sticky; then I realised that the instructions did not mention when to add the butter. It kneaded way better after the butter was added. I couldn’t resist the temptation to dig straight into one right out of the oven. Yum!

     
    • Paula (Gobble The Cook) August 23, 2017 at 9:25 PM

      Hi Eleena! Thanks for pointing this out! I realized that when I wrote down my recipe in my notebook, I kinda forgot to write down this step. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

       

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    About Me

    About Me

    Paula

    I'm a software engineer by profession and a home cook/baker in my downtime. As a self taught cook and baker, I believe that anyone is capable of creating mouthwatering, home-cooked food.

    Want to be in on the latest?

    Don't miss out on our new content. Sign up!

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    My Latest Pins

    ×