Pandesal or Pan de sal (salt bread) was first introduced in the Philippines in 16th century by the Spanish, since then it has become one of the favourite bread of the Filipinos. It’s a famous “agahan” or breakfast and always lovely when served hot. It brings back childhood memories when people selling it early morning shouting “pandesaaal init pa” which means Pandesal… still hot! Never mind the cuckoos of the chicken or alarm clocks, that what wakes me up every morning. They usually put it in a box wrapped with layers upon layers of cloth to keep the pandesal nice and warm, but of course you can easily buy it on any bakery shops anywhere in the Philippines. Some Filipinos dip their pandesal in with their warm coffee or cocoa drink too, but you can also have it for “merienda” or snack. I normally put cheese in it and it’s good to go. For Filipinos abroad, satisfying their craving for pandesal is by doing it yourself and baking it at home. If you do want to try, here’s a recipe for you.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 5 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/4 cup fresh milk (lukewarm)
- 1 pouch rapid rise yeast
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. cooking oil
- Combine the yeast, sugar, and milk and stir until the yeast and sugar are fully dissolved. I’ve chosen milk instead of water because it just tastes better, but you can always use lukewarm water instead of the milk.
- In the mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder then mix well.
- Add the egg, butter, cooking oil, and yeast-sugar-milk mixture in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients then mix again until dough is formed. You can use your hands to effectively mix the ingredients.
- In a flat surface, knead the dough until the texture becomes fine.
- Mould the dough and put back in the mixing bowl, cover with damp cloth and let the dough rise for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- After the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Roll into a log then cut into four to six equal pieces. Take another portion of the dough, roll again into a log and cut into equal pieces, repeat this step until all the dough is done.
- Roll each piece of dough in breadcrumbs then arrange on a baking tray for at least an inch apart, you don’t want it sticking together when it rises later on.
- Leave the dough in the tray to rise again for 15-20 minutes.
- Pre heat the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degree Celsius) for 10 minutes. If using a fan assisted oven, reduced the heat according to instructor’s manual.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned outside.
Your Pandesal should be lightly crusty outside but soft in the inside. Served warm. It’s also lovely with butter, cheese or any of your favourite fillings or just dunk it in with your favourite hot drinks-the Filipino way. Enjoy kababayan!