Pandesal – Pan-de-sal – Filipino Bread Rolls

Pandesal are popular yeast-raised bread rolls in the Philippines. Individual loaves are shaped by rolling the dough into long logs (bastón) which are rolled in fine breadcrumbs. These are then portioned, allowed to rise, and baked.

Its taste and texture closely resemble those of the Puerto Rican bread Pan de Agua and Mexican Bolillos. Contrary to its name, pandesal tastes slightly sweet rather than salty.

Pandesal - Pan-de-sal - Filipino Bread Rolls
Cuisine: Filipino
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: Makes 20 rolls
  • 6 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup plus ¾ tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups milk, heated to 46°C (115°F)
  • ¾ tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more as needed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  1. Whisk flour, 1 cup sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Stir ¾ tablespoon sugar, 1 cup milk, and yeast in another bowl; let sit until foamy (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add remaining milk, plus the melted butter and egg; whisk until smooth.
  4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients until dough comes together.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth (about 3 minutes).
  6. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  7. Place breadcrumbs on a plate.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, pat dough into a 10 cm x 23 cm rectangle about 1 cm thick.
  9. Working from one long end, roll dough into a tight cylinder.
  10. Cut dough crosswise into five 3 cm rolls.
  11. Gently coat the cut sides of rolls in breadcrumbs then place cut side up on baking-paper-lined baking sheets, spaced about 5 cm apart.
  12. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  13. Heat oven to 175°C (350°F). Bake the rolls until golden (about 15–20 minutes).
To achieve the airy structure of pandesal the key is to not overwork the dough.

History of Pandesal

Pandesal, or “pan-de-sal”, was invented in the 16th-century Spanish Era in the Philippines and is Portuguese in origin. It is made of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Usually it is soft, airy, chewy and has a slightly crunchy crust outside. It is commonly referred to as “the poor man’s bread” because it became the cheaper alternative to rice during the Philippine Revolution. In present day Philippines, you can find varieties of pan de sal such as raisin pan de sal, whole wheat pan de sal, cheese pan de sal, and vegetable pan de sal.

It is available at almost any bakery in the Philippines. Filipinos eat it in different ways but is most commonly consumed by dipping in hot coffee. It can also be integrated into many recipes, most common of which includes pan de sal pizza and the American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is usually complemented with strawberry jam, peanut butter, margarine or butter sprinkled with sugar, condensed milk, melted chocolate or even ice cream. It is usually served hot, but even when cold, pan de sal is still considered a favourite snack.

The pan de sal has become a staple breakfast in Philippine culture since the Hispanic era and is still considered the bread of the masses.



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