Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

Pan de Sal with pan-fried quail egg
Pan de Sal with a pan-fried quail egg

The local bakery was a two mile bike ride from my house in the Philippines. Shortly after the first mile, the humid weather thickens the aroma of freshly baked pan de sal that even on an empty stomach, I am able to sprint quickly up the hill where the panaderia is perched. Getting a brown paper bag full of hot bread rolls straight from the charred wooden peel defined my childhood’s Saturday mornings. The rest of the family would wait eagerly for my return with either a cup of steaming coffee or raw carabao milk in hand.

Despite the name, pan de sal is slightly sweet instead of salty. It also has a distinctive coating of bread crumbs and a shallow ridge on top formed by cutting the rolls from a long rope of dough. I originally thought that the rolls were shaped individually and then scored to get the ridge until I came across the proper shaping method in this post from Market Manila.

I tried many different recipes and methods before settling on a final formula I can call my own. For the ingredients, I tweaked the recipe used by the Philippine team in the 2003-2004 Louis Lesaffre bread baking competition. I also used the delayed fermentation method from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice where the shaped dough is allowed to slowly ferment in the refrigerator overnight. This method not only enhances the flavor of the final product, but also allows most of the work to be done in advance, making it feasible to have freshly baked pan de sal early in the morning.

Bread Baking Day 10 Blog Event - Breakfast Breads

This is my first entry for Bread Baking Day, currently on its tenth iteration and hosted by Melissa of Baking a Sweet Life. The theme for this month is breakfast breads so as soon as it was announced, the first thing that came to mind was pan de sal.

makes 24 rolls

Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water, at room temperature
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
bread crumbs

Notes:

  • The bread crumbs can be considered optional but is necessary to recreate the feel of authentic pan de sal.

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until the dough comes together and knead until it becomes a smooth ball. Let rise in a sealed container for about two hours at room temperature or until it doubles in size. Shape the dough into a rope about two inches wide. Let the dough rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten if necessary. Roll the entire length of the dough in bread crumbs.

Pan de Sal dough shaped into a log

Using a bench scraper or the blunt edge of a knife, cut the dough into 24 pieces. Arrange the dough pieces cut side up in a sealable container lightly sprinkled with either flour or bread crumbs. The rolls will be ready to bake after a 1 1/2 hour final proof at room temperature. At this point, I strongly recommend retarding the fermentation by keeping the rolls in the refrigerator overnight to further develop flavor. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Divided Pan de Sal dough

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Transfer the pieces of dough to a sheet pan lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the sheet pan 180 degrees, then bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.

Freshly Baked Pan de Sal

Serving Ideas:

  • A quail egg will fit nicely in a split roll of pan de sal
  • Make mini sandwiches with crispy pan-fried Spam
  • Spread with butter, Reno liver spread, or Cheez Whiz
  • Day-old rolls are best dipped in a cup of hot chocolate or coffee

Pan De Sal - Filipino Salted Bread Rolls

Using the cold retardation method will trap gasses just under the surface of the dough, forming blisters or bird’s eyes on the crust after baking. The pan de sal I remember do not have such blisters, but I really like the resulting look and taste from using this technique.

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49 Responses to “Pan de Sal – Filipino Salted Bread Rolls”

  1. Baking A Sweet Life » Blog Archive » Bread Baking Day #10 Roundup! says:

    [...] de Sal by Jude of (Illinois, [...]

  2. rainbowbrown says:

    These are really appealing to me. I’ve never shaped rolls in this manner before. They sound delicious.

  3. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    This is why I love BreadBakingDay — so many new breads I’ve never seen before. The shaping and the rolling in bread crumbs are very interesting!

  4. zorra says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I will try it soon.

  5. [eatingclub vancouver] js says:

    This is bookmarked. Will have to try my hand at pan de sal soon.

  6. Kat says:

    Hey! I just found this recipe and I just came back from making the dough which is currently rising! Haha. Thanks for this recipe! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make pan de sal. ^_^

  7. paige says:

    Hi, the recipe looks great, I’m proofing the dough right now! I’m just wondering if the dough or rolls can be frozen to be cooked or re-heated later?

  8. Paige – The baked rolls will probably hold up well to freezing but I’ve never tried it. I’d probably just keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  9. Kai says:

    Hi, Jude, I’d like to do this using the overnight rest in the ref, to avoid having to rise so early in the morning for the proofing so that we could have the pan de sal for breakfast.

    Some clarification – do I let the dough have the final 1 1/2 hour proof, then put it in the ref overnight, or skip the final proofing altogether and just leave it in the fridge? And by rope you mean a long thin roll?

    Thanks. I so love your pix and recipes and have a collection of them. I’m just starting to bake.

  10. Kai, Now that you mention it, the 1 1/2 hour final proof is unnecessary if you’re keeping the dough in the refrigerator. It should rise considerably overnight even in cold storage. Yes, by a rope, I mean a long thin roll.

  11. novice says:

    Hi, Jude. I’ve just tried your recipe but was quite disappointed with the end result. My pandesals didn’t turn out to be soft. It was hard as rock. I may have missed something somewhere? I am new to bread baking and would appreciate it if you could help? Thanks.

  12. Will retry this recipe and maybe post a few tweaks.
    Did your dough rise considerably? There’s a a possibility that the yeast you used may have been inactive.

  13. monsi says:

    Hi,
    thanks a lot for the info of recipe for pan de sal I am trying to bake my own better to bake than to buy …
    I will try one this weekends.

    thank you very much indeed..you are good man !!!

    best regards,

    monsi

  14. Lili says:

    Geez.this is really good…I have the same story like u…..I have to travel by 65K+ to buy pan de sal…this is very helpful..I will certainly try to bake it..if I get it right hehehe….

  15. Pan de Sal « A Bread A Day says:

    [...] de Sal Adapted from Market Manila and Apple Pie, Patis, & Pâté Makes 18 to 24 [...]

  16. Musico says:

    I don’t like the taste… it’s so “tasteless” at all… I followed the procedure carefully, but I think there should be some additives to make it taste more authentic pandesal (I know pandesal being sweet is not authentic at all, but what I mean is having it tastes like the usual pandesal we buy at Bakery ni Manong at the neighborhood).

    One thing more, what could possibly be the reason why the skin part becomes so hard? Is there something wrong with my mixes, the reason why it became so tasteless as well?

  17. Musico says:

    C’mon… sorry for the previous post… My sister loved the taste so much. :) Except for the rocky skin texture.

    I would appreciate much if you could tell us some tips how to have it moistured.

  18. Shena Rippetoe says:

    You have a Excellent Blog about how to prepare Apple Pie.

  19. Sulema Gliem says:

    Thankyou for a distinguished Blog about how to prepare Apple Pie.

  20. Benton Demeglio says:

    This post is going into my bookmarks.

  21. maribel says:

    Made this a couple times now. Takes me back to that daily morning trip around the corner to the panaderia. There are no good Filipino bakeries in my neck of the woods here in the States. Thank you for this.

  22. Ex zurueckgewinnen says:

    Hey, ich bin genau deiner Meinung. Werde mich mal für Updates anmelden. Bin schon gespannt mehr zu lesen.

  23. Bread Baking Day #10 Roundup! | Melissa LeRay says:

    [...] de Sal by Jude of (Illinois, [...]

  24. Mummy Jenkins says:

    Thoughtful and interesting, thank you. I grew up in manilla but moved to australia at such a young age I can hardly remember anything apart from the delicious food. I finally found some authentic Filipino recipes if you want to have a look, I thought I’d share it with you!

  25. Iraida Seibold says:

    MY PARTNER AND I have no idea what others feel, but In my opinion just what you explained holds true.

  26. Patrick Carranco says:

    I like this website very much, Its a very nice spot to read and receive info .

  27. Marie says:

    I have been missing pan de sal so much. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  28. Yelly says:

    I AM SO INSPIRED! I moved to England almost 3 years ago and I’ve been missing pan de sal terribly. Your recipe seems to be the best to try (trust me, I’ve been looking around) because for some reason it reading this post reminded me of a pan de sal segment that I saw on Batibot when I was younger (am not sure when you left the Philippines but it was a Philippine incarnation of Sesame Street). I shall let you know how it turns out, if that’s all right with you?

  29. Jenny says:

    thank you for sharing this recipe. another bread that I miss is the king roll or their corn bread (named because it is shaped like corn) that is sold at Julie’s bakery. does anyone have a recipe for rolls that are common in the Philippines? They are different from the dinner rolls I found in Canadian websites

  30. Amie says:

    I just tried this recipe. It’s delicious! Just like I remember it… For those who mentioned it being “rock hard” I baked it for 14 minutes (turning 180 degrees after 7 min) and it is still golden brown and crunchy, but not too much. :)

  31. Suzann says:

    have been trying to find feedback of people who have tried this out first hand.

  32. abbs says:

    can’t wait to make my own version of ”Pan de Sal” :)

  33. gha says:

    i want to try this

  34. Jennifer says:

    Wow! This recipe is right on. My boyfriend’s step mother is filipino and when we visit the family she always makes this AMAZING bread. For years, I’ve been trying to figure it out and this recipe turned out exactly like hers. I am so so so excited to have it. However, we may have to buy bigger pants if I make it too often. I can’t believe how foolproof this is. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Cookai says:

    I baked this today after leaving it in the fridge overnight. I was intrigued with the recipe which doesn’t use the usual milk in the list. After tasting it, I would say it wasn’t bad at all, although I would still prefer the moist provided by milk. I’m also not sure how long it would take before it becomes hardened :| Bread fresh from the oven is always yummy, it’s the time it takes before it turns hard and chewy that defines a good bread :D

    Thanks for the recipe! I certainly enjoyed trying it.

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  49. Dale Nicodemus says:

    These are very good with a thin slice of sharp cheddar cheese sandwiched between a roll.

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