I haven’t made bread in years, especially since purchasing one ready-made seem so much more convenient, and affordable. However, when my husband’s 74 y.o aunt came to visit and stayed with us for a month, she requested 2 things from me. One is to learn how to make steamed Mutse. The other is how to make Pandesal. This post will feature the latter: an easy, vegan-friendly, Pandesal Recipe. It’s honestly quite easy to make as you will come to find below.
What is Pandesal?
Pandesal is a type of bread introduced by the Spaniards to the Philippines during the 333 years of Spanish colonization of the islands, which is why the bread’s name is owing to a spanish language origin. The islands of the Philippines, once divided and ruled by native monarchs and chieftains, were claimed and renamed by Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, to honor King Philip II of Spain. In literal translation, Pandesal (Pan de sal) means bread of salt; however, while the recipe does call for salt, it is not enough to make the bread salty in taste. Instead, it is made sweet. with sugar, in the lines of Hawaiian Bread.
Pandesal is my favorite bread, which is why I took an interest in learning it myself. While it looked quite intimidating watching the bakers cook it every time I passed the bakery on my way to school during my childhood, it turns out, it is quite easy to make small batches of it at home.
2 cups luke warm water
1 packet of dry yeast (or 2.25 tsp.)
3 tbsp white granulated sugar (separate from the sugar listed below)
6 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups white granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Additional oil (for the dough while resting)
Additional flour (to keep the dough from sticking to hands and working space)
1. Combine and mix the water, 3 tbsp sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes. This process should activate the yeast and by end of the 10 minutes, it should be bubbly. Ensure the bowl used is large enough to mix the dry ingredients in with it in the following steps.
2. In a separate bowl, combine and mix the flour, sugar, and salt together.
3. When the yeast mixture is ready, add the dry ingredients and oil to it, in increments to avoid the flour spitting out of the bowl during mixing.
4. Knead for 10 minutes or mix in a stand mixer for 10 minutes.
5. Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil, and when done, dispense the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough sit for 1 hour.
6. After the hour is up, divide the dough into two long log shapes. Tip: Flour the working space and hands to avoid the dough from sticking to it.
7. Cut the logs in desired serving size and turn to ball shapes. Dip each ball in breadcrumbs before arranging each on a baking sheet. Leave space between the dough balls to allow room for the dough to rise and grow. This batch should make 15-30 pieces, depending on desired size. Tip: Use a weighing scale to get an even dough distribution. I don’t though as you can see from the different size below. haha.
8. Let the dough balls sit for 1 hour. The dough should have increased in size, if not doubled in size.
9. When the hour is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook the raw bread for 22 minutes.
That’s it! Merienda (snack) time!
I loved eating Pandesal with fried spam and eggs or tomato and onion sautéed sardines growing up. Canned food is one of those island country staples, especially good during disastrous weather when the power is out for long periods of time because it does not require refrigeration. While I have not eaten spam or sardines in a long while, I have been eating Pandesal nearly every day this week, since I have a couple of batches made from the recent tutorial. Personally, I prefer Pandesal on its own paired with either coffee or green tea. I don’t dip my bread in my coffee however, a widely known Filipino custom, because I don’t like soggy bread, which is why I’m not a fan of Tres Leches (when I could still eat it).
I love the smell of baked goods in the house, which is why I acceded so easily to a baking tutorial. P.S. If at first you don’t succeed in making your batch, ie, it didn’t rise enough, don’t be steadfast in discarding the evidence. Turn the batch into breadcrumbs instead by toasting and crumbling it to homemade breadcrumbs to be used for your next attempt in perfecting your homemade Pandesal.
Pandesal goes perfectly well with Ube jam. Have you tried Ube yet? Check my vegan-friendly recipe for this filipino dessert here. It’s one of my fave desserts.
Until next time.