A Filipino breakfast is not complete without a warm roll of pandesal.
In many homes, pairing it with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate is enough for a complete breakfast. And when the last roll is gone, you dust off the crumbs from your fingers and clothes in satisfaction.
Bread of Salt
Pandesal is derived from the Spanish term pan de sal, meaning “bread of salt.” The loose bread crumbs coating the roll is the bread’s signature look. Despite its name, the pandesal is slightly sweet. It’s known as the “poor man’s bread” because it was a cheaper alternative to rice in the late 19th century. It’s still an affordable option today, scrape up some of your loose change and you can buy yourself a good amount of pandesal in exchange.
It’s usually complemented with cheese, butter and sugar, and jams. Eat it any way you like, but the roll is good enough to eat on its own. There are many variations to the original recipe, like malunggay pandesal and even cinnamon pandesal. No matter what variety bakeries come up with, the original will always be the best.
I wanted to learn how this bread is made, and the people at Balai Pandesal was open to teach us how. For them, the key to a good pandesal is in its softness and aroma. Another tip is to ease on the salt: the more you add, the more compact and dense your pandesal will turn out.
Filipino Pandesal Recipe
Here’s the recipe for a fool-proof pandesal if you want to make it at home:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (for yeast)
- 3 1/2 cup bread flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (1/2 used for kneading)
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 2 tsp. salt
- Bread crumbs
Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven at 175 degrees Celsius.
Homemade Pandesal Recipe
After going to our local bakery to see how this iconic bread is made, I tried baking it myself. Watch how it turns out!
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