I dug deep into my recipe vault, straight into the
Childhood Comfort Food section, to make these Pan De Sal or Filipino Bread Rolls. This is what happens during the pan de mic. Oh, I have reached bad pans (puns) level.
It’s been over two months since “staying at home” and physically distancing happened, and I needed a warm hug in the form of freshly baked buns. We used to get these fresh from the neighbourhood
panaderia (bakery) early in the morning.
I learned to eat pan de sal with coffee from a very young age of seven. My cup contained mostly milk or creamer, but dipping the sometimes-piping-hot hand-ripped morsels of pan de sal in coffee was one of my fondest memories of summer mornings with my grandparents.
When I was in university, the thought of having extra time to grab a hot bag of these rolls en route to my 7:30am calculus class was enough motivation to wake up at 6am.
I am not a morning person and I lived for these.
When I baked this the other night, that warm first bite was heavenly. Salve for the soul, a hug from distant sweet memories.
Everything will be alright.
I developed this recipe back in 2014 when I got asked for my go-to, but I didn’t have one because I couldn’t get it right. We were baking a lot of bread then, and my partner’s daughters were in their teen and tween—so we had carb-hungry household. We bought a lot of Aling Mary’s Pan De Sal, which the girls have developed a liking to. Because we were consuming about two bags a week and I felt like it was my duty to have them experience the freshly baked pan de sal of my childhood, I put myself to the task of finding a good recipe.
The recipes that I’ve tried were too dry, flavourless, too sweet, or didn’t taste exactly how I remembered it. I ended up developing my own recipe from the basic proportions from previously published recipes, and I applied things I learned from baking a lot of bread.
Some recipes called for bread flour, which works really well, but I found that AP flour is fine. The addition of diastatic malt powder was a game changer. That elevated the bread from good to great. I’ve also tempered the amount of sugar for use in both sweet (ever had pandesal ice cream sandwich—terrific!) and savoury creations (incredible with pulled pork), just like the traditional pan de sal I used to love.
Below is the regular all purpose flour recipe, but if you would like the Whole Wheat Pan De Sal Recipe or want to use it with fresh yeast, I’ve made the recipe with those details exclusively available to newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for it here:
https://www.betterwithjoy.com/newsletter. You will receive the recipe after you confirm your subscription. Easy peasy. 🙂
Joy's Pan De Sal
This is my childhood, my favourite Filipino, pandesal or pan de sal. Want the whole wheat version? Sign up for my newsletter to receive this exclusive recipe: https://www.betterwithjoy.com/newsletter/
1 tablespoon active dry yeast 2 1/4 cups 2% or whole milk, warm (~80°F) 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar 1 large egg 45 grams unsalted butter, melted 900 grams Unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoon (or 10 grams) kosher salt 12 grams (or approx. 2 scant tablespoons) diastatic malt powder Optional, but HIGHLY recommended (see Notes) 75 grams granulated white sugar 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for greasing the bowl for rising 1/3 cup 1/3 cup of plain breadcrumbs, in a small shallow plate
Mix active dry yeast, a tablespoon of sugar and warm milk in a medium bowl. Leave it to bloom for 10 minutes. It will get foamy at the top. Whisk in egg and butter, then transfer into a bowl of a stand mixer. Attach a dough hook to your mixer. Whisk together flour, diastatic malt powder and sugar in a large bowl. Pour half of the mixture into your stand mixer bowl and mix on the lowest speed for 30 seconds, then increase to the next speed setting and mix for 1 minute. Decrease the mixing speed to the lowest setting again and add the remaining flour mixture. Knead in the mixer between the lowest and medium-low setting (depending on your stand mixer instructions for mixing bread dough) until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl and the bowl is basically clean and free of loose flour or sticky dough. How to tell if the dough is ready: It will quickly bounce back if lightly pressed with a finger. Detach the bowl from your stand mixer and give the dough inside a few turns with your clean hands, pulling the sides into the center, creating a ball. Lift the dough ball and spread the vegetable oil on the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with your fingertips. Place the dough back inside and turn it in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm, draft-free place (an oven that's not turned on would work). Let it rise for 1 hour. The dough will double in size/volume. Preheat the oven to 350°F, if baking the buns same day.
Divide it into 4 pieces and shape each portion into a ball, tucking the sides into the center until taut.
Work each ball by flattening it with your fingertips into an 8" x 6" rectangle. Roll the it tightly along its length (i.e. longer side) and pinch the edges to the roll to seal, and pinch both sides of the roll, leaving you with a compact and sealed cylinder.
Slice it crosswise into six 1- to 1.5-inch discs.
Dip cut sides into the plate of breadcrumbs and pat to remove excess crumbs.
Place each bun cut side down on the lined baking sheet, arranging the buns into 6 x 4. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel let them rise for 1 hour. [ Overnight 2nd rise:If you make this in the evening, you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight for a slow rise, then bake them in the morning. A slow rise gives the dough more time to develop its flavor.]
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the buns turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it rest in the baking pan propped on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm or transfer and cool completely on the wire rack before storing in airtight containers or resealable bags.
Keep in airtight containers/bags. Buns will stay fresh for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (less during the warm summer months); and for up to 2 weeks if frozen after cooling. Best reheated in the oven or oven toaster.
Notes on Optional Ingredient:
- It can be challenging to find depending on your location, but if you can get your hands on it, I encourage you to use it for this recipe. It really makes a difference in the rise, colour and flavour.
Diastatic Malt Powder Bob's Red Mill has a good one you can get. In Vancouver, it is available at Famous Foods or Gourmet Warehouse.