Pandesal Recipe

Filipino bread rolls (the best bread rolls in the world…in my opinion!)

“This is the best pandesal I’ve ever had”

I’ve gotten this a number of times from family and friends who I’ve had the pleasure of sharing this pandesal recipe with. A few of them were born and raised in the Philippines, which makes me feel extra warm and fuzzy inside.

It’s a big deal for me to be able to replicate a nostalgic recipe, or make it even better than what they remember growing up in the Philippines.

I know this pandesal recipe is probably not exactly how the pandesal vendors in the Philippines make it because of the ingredients available to them versus the ingredients I have available here.

There’s just some things you can’t directly mimic, but I’m just ecstatic to know that my fellow Filipino and Filipinas LOVE this recipe!

I’ve been making pandesal for a couple of years now, and I wish I could show you my first batch of pandesal. They had pale tops, and not as fluffy and soft as I have them now.

Basically, I’m telling you to make this recipe, then make it again. By the time you’ve made your 10th batch, you’ll notice the improvement in your baking skills and your confidence around baking bread!

What is Pandesal?

Pandesal is a Filipino milk bread. Its Spanish name is literally translated to “salt bread” but that is misleading as the bread is sweet. While it can come in many shapes and sizes, pandesal is usually shaped into round rolls and has very fluffy interior.

Pandesal is commonly eaten with breakfast. You can find bakeries in the Philippines slinging bags early in the morning and it is relatively cheap. Cheap enough to buy it fresh whenever you want it.

Pandesal isn’t a complicated bread. Maybe its the nostalgia, but I think pandesal is the best milk bread I’ve ever had.

What Do You Eat with Pandesal?

As I mentioned above, pandesal is traditionally a breakfast bread. Most Filipino’s I know eat pandesal on its own or dipped in a hot morning beverage (hot chocolate, coffee, etc.). However, you can eat it with practically anything you would with a common western roll.

I love it with just plain unsalted butter or with peanut butter + jam. I’ve also used it as the bread for breakfast sandwiches like egg sandwich or even with spam, egg, and cheese. To be honest, whatever you think might taste good with pandesal probably will!

Where Can I Buy Pandesal?

If you live in the USA like me, you can find pandesal sold at any Filipino supermarket. If you’re lucky, the supermarket will bake it fresh there or have a chain bakery inside like Goldilocks or Valerio’s. Otherwise, they will stock a local bakery’s product on the shelves.

I will admit, I sometimes just buy pandesal because it is convenient and I am at the store. However I strongly urge you to make it at least once yourself to see how easy it can be! Fresh pandesal still hot from the oven is really really really really hard to beat.

What Are the Ingredients for Pandesal?

Pandesal ingredients are flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, eggs, butter, and (in this recipe) powdered cream crackers.

My pandesal recipe uses only all-purpose flour. This gives it a light and airy texture when properly proofed and baked. Some other recipes call for bread flour. This gives it a chewier and denser texture which some people prefer!

You’ll notice I mention powdered “cream crackers” as an ingredient. This is the specific Diamond Bakery Cream Cracker that I am able to reliably source from Hawai’i. These are deliciously sweet brown crackers. The closest thing to it would be a Marie biscuit or English tea biscuit. If you can’t find any of these, you can use just plain bread crumbs.

How Do You Make Pandesal?

Making pandesal is pretty straightforward: mix and knead all of your ingredients. Let it proof. Cover it with the topping and bake!

Full recipe and ingredients list is below.

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then add the wet ingredients

Knead your dough until it passes the window pane test. Let it proof for at least an hour at warm room temperature or overnight in the fridge

Divide and shape your dough. Roll the pieces in the powdered cream crackers (or breadcrumbs)

Bake and enjoy!

Tips

  • You can knead this dough by hand, which should take about 15-20 minutes of continuous kneading.
  • For the powdered topping, my favorite thing to use are Diamond Bakery Royal Cream Crackers. These are easily found in supermarkets in Hawai’i. Before I discovered those, I used Marie biscuits which is a rich tea biscuit. You could also use digestive biscuits or anything that has a slightly sweet flavor. If all else fails, simple breadcrumbs also works.
  • When dividing into rolls, I weigh the whole dough and divide that by the number of rolls I want to make (usually 24). Then I’ll pull dough until that number is met and “tare” the scale after forming each roll.

Videos

I have a few different videos where I make pandesal in different varieties. I’ve linked a few here. Some are a bit…. older hahaha.

DID YOU MAKE THIS?!
Post on social media and tag @jeanelleats! I get so happy when I see people making these recipes at home!

Recipe

Pandesal

My famous pandesal in its traditional form
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Proof Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 24 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ cups (285 g) whole milk warmed to 100-105º F
  • 4 ½ cups (585 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspooons salt
  • 3 tablespoons (43 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • cup (70 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs lightly whisked
  • ½ cup ground cream crackers

Instructions
 

  • In a stand mixer, combine all-purpose flouryeastsalt (make sure the salt doesn’t make direct contact with the yeast), and sugar. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the eggs and milk. Add just enough milk to pick up all the flour at the bottom of the bowl, then add a splash more (I like my pandesal dough to be a bit wet and sticky!)
  • Add the butter, then put your stand mixer on medium speed. Knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until it passes the windowpane test. Make sure you don’t over-knead your dough!
  • Once it’s kneaded, scrape the sides of the bowl to combine the dough into one ball. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  • If you have not yet turned your cream crackers (or alternative) into a powder do so now. A blender will speed it up but you could grind it by hand with a mortar & pestle or just simply smashing them while in a plastic Ziploc bag.
  • Once you poke the dough and it doesn’t spring back, tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface and press out all the air bubbles.
  • Divide the dough into 24 even pieces, and shape them into balls. Then coat the dough balls with the powdered cream crackers (or alternative).
  • Place the dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, allowing a little room in between the rolls to puff up.
  • Let the shaped rolls rise for another hour, or until you poke the dough and it only springs back halfway.
  • Place your baking tray in a preheated 350ºF oven in the middle rack, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the pandesal get golden-brown tops.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and allow the pandesal to cool down for about 5 minutes before eating!