Here’s an easy pandesal recipe so you can make the quintessential Filipino bread roll at home. It’s crunchy outside, soft and fluffy inside, perfect with butter or dipped in your morning coffee.
Are you a Filipino living abroad like me? Then you’re probably thinking why bother making pandesal at home when you can get them pretty easily at the Asian store.
One reason: nothing beats the smell of freshly baked pandesal filling your kitchen.
And it’s not just any smell. It’s THE smell.
One sniff of freshly baked pandesal and I’m back at my nanay’s dining table, eating pandesal filled with Lily’s Peanut Butter that she prepared for me after school.
Or it’s a Sunday morning and I’m happily eating pandesal (out of those little brown paper bags) that my mom bought from the local panaderia after church.
Not a Filipino? Then you are in for a treat. Unlike dinner rolls or the regular loaves of bread we get, this recipe for Filipino bread rolls is egg and butter-free, has a very subtle hint of sugar and salt, crunchy outside and soft inside.
It’s certainly unique and absolutely delicious. Give it a go and find out why Filipinos all over the world love it.
What is pandesal bread?
So what is pandesal bread? Wikipedia puts it very simply as “salt bread”.
Ironically, it’s more sweet than salty. And it has a really rich history for such a humble bread. Check this out if you’re so inclined, it’s quite an interesting read.
And there are different kinds of pandesal; I dare say it’s as varied as the number of islands in the Philippines! (And that’s a lot).
So I can’t claim that this pandesal recipe is for the traditional pandesal; I’ve eaten different kinds (big, small, light, dense) to know that each province, town or city probably has their own version so there’s technically no traditional kind.
What I can say is that this is the pandesal bread I grew up eating. Crunchy, soft, sweet and salty all at once.
Easy pandesal recipe for beginners
And not to worry. I’ve looked around for pandesal recipes for a long time and this is the result of me tweaking and trying to make it easier. And it is.
I’m a home baker like you and I like shortcuts as much as the next person so if I can make this beloved Filipino bread at home, you can too.
If you look at the recipe, it’s just a lot of steps but they are easy, baby steps. Manageable steps to make the whole process that much more achievable.
How to make pandesal
I won’t lie to you though, if you scroll to the recipe below – between the kneading and the waiting (the dough has to rise twice) and the baking – it probably is quicker for you to get in your car, drive to the store and buy pandesal.
But there’s something so fulfilling about making your own bread. And I’m not kidding about the smell. I may or may not have cried.
Ready to get baking?
What are the ingredients of traditional pandesal?
The basic ingredients are pantry staples:
Pandesal is yeast-based so you’ll need to buy some. This is the kind I use.
You might be surprised to see that bread crumbs are involved too. That’s what makes pandesal so unique!
Tools you need to make Filipino bread rolls
I just choose to stir and knead the pandesal dough by hand because it gives me greater control and I have less chance of over-kneading it.
Pandesal baking tips for success
Which brings us to pandesal baking tips.
- Like I mentioned above, I recommend kneading Filipino bread rolls by hand until smooth and elastic. Here’s a great resource on how to tell when your dough is properly kneaded (hint: when you’re tired!).
- When making bread, I use my pre-heated oven as my “dry warm place”. What I do is turn it on for a few minutes then turn it off so that it’ll be about 90F when I’m ready to put my dough in to rise. Just remember to remove the dough from the oven when you’re ready to actually preheat for baking.
- Invest in a kitchen scale. This is true for all baking, actually. While you can get away with volume measurements with a lot of recipes, bread making is more exact so it’s always better to weigh your ingredients. We bought our kitchen scale years ago for less than $20 and it’s one of the most used gadgets in our kitchen.
How long does homemade pandesal last?
Pandesal bread is best eaten fresh out of the oven. However, they will last for up to 2 days on your counter in an airtight container.
If you plan to keep them for longer, freezing them is a better option.
Other delicious breakfast recipes
Love breakfast? If you have 15 minutes, you can make these delicious and oh-so-flaky buttermilk scones – no mixer, no problem!
They are fully customizable too so you can mix in your favourite things like chocolate chips or dried cranberries.
Though if you prefer to stick to the basics but still want a little excitement, these scrumptious lemon buttermilk scones are just what you’re looking for.
In the mood for pancakes? Try these light, fluffy-as-a-cloud, lemon ricotta pancakes. So good!
Pandesal Recipe (Filipino Bread Rolls)
- 2 cups warm water around 110F
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- In a medium sized bowl, stir 2 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar until dissolved. Set aside and let stand until bubbly (about 10 minutes).
- In a large bowl, stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup oil until fully combined. Add 2 teaspoons salt, your yeast mixture and 1 cup flour. Stir until incorporated. Proceed to add the rest of your flour 1/2 cup at a time combining well after each addition.
- Once the dough starts pulling and sticking together in a ball, transfer it into a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). When in doubt, knead some more.
- Oil a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil. Place your dough in the bowl and turn to ensure the whole dough is coated. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a dry warm place (about 90F) until it doubles in size (about 2 hours).
- Once the dough is ready, turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Weigh the dough and divide into 32 pieces. Shape each piece into an oval, like an egg, and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet (you would need two baking sheets - 16 pieces per sheet). Make sure to keep about a quarter inch space around each piece to allow them to rise further.
- Cover each baking sheet with a damp cloth and allow to rise a second time (about an hour).
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of the pandesal and bake until golden brown (15-20 minutes). Since you're using 2 baking sheets, you may want to rotate/switch the sheets midway through.
Did you try this pandesal recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
(This post was updated on 29 January 2019.)