Pandesal (literally “Bread of Salt”) is a Filipino yeast roll and possibly one of the most popular breads in the Philippines. They can either be formed into balls or small batons and each roll is coated in breadcrumbs before baking. Despite their name, Pandesal is actually a little more sweet than salty. These rolls are a favorite of Chad’s and I am surprised it took me this long to make them at home.
Evan loved the bread, but wasn’t a fan of the texture and mess created by the breadcrumb coating.
Chad’s favorite way to enjoy the bread is with cheese. They are also often eaten plain or with peanut butter, jam, liver spread, Cheez Whiz, or butter. Some even enjoy the bread dunked in coffee.
They are best eaten hot from the oven. My mother in law said they were best from the merchants walking the streets early in the morning yelling “Pandesal mainit and masarap” (Pandesal hot and delicious).
Give the bread time to rise before forming into rolls and before baking. In a warm kitchen, it may only take an hour each time. For me, it took two hours for each rise.
I placed the rolls 1 inch apart on the baking sheet so they could be pulled apart after baking. If you don’t want them to touch, place 2 inches apart.
1/4 cup water, 105-115 degrees F
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup milk, 105-115 degrees F
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs for coating
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Let sit for a minute, then stir to combine. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add to the frothy yeast.
Mix 2 cups of the flour into the yeast mixture. Once well combined, add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough comes together. The dough will be wet and sticky. If needed, add just enough flour to make dough able to be handled.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled large bowl, turn to coat, and cover. Allow to rest until doubled, 1-2 hours.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease. Pour breadcrumbs onto a rimmed plate.
Once doubled, divide dough into 24 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface. Form a piece into a ball and roll in the breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once heated, bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot from the oven.