One bread type encapsulates Filipino culture, and no one would dare debate that it’s pandesal. In fact, it’s hard to find a Pinoy who wouldn’t love a warm, oven-fresh piece in the morning or even any time of the day!
Flavoured versions like ube pandesal and ube-cheese pandesal are trendy these days. But it’s always ideal to start with the classic version. Learn the basics first. When you have the foundational skills, the why's and the how's, it will be easy to move on to more complex recipes.
So, pull up your sleeves and get ready to learn how to make pandesal.
Every Pinoy’s Breakfast Staple
Here’s a familiar scene any Pinoy could relate to. You wake up from sweet slumber, it's the start of a new day. You hear the background sound of revving tricycles. And your neighbour is sweeping the ground with walis tingting (coconut midribs broom).
Still half-asleep, you walk straight to the kitchen. Rubbing your eyes and yawning, you park yourself in the dining table. The strong smell of coffee greets you. And a delicious, unmistakable aroma wafting from a brown paper bag sitting in the middle of the table.
You reach in and take a piece of pandesal, the bread crumbs feeling coarse against your fingers. Then, you break a piece, dunk it in a mug of hot Barako (liberica coffee), and put it in your mouth.
Like magic, your sleepy senses come alive. The yeasty aroma and slight sweetness of pandesal is a perfect pair to a strong coffee. This breakfast, as humble it may be, powers millions of Filipinos every morning. It gives them the energy needed to pursue their passion and seize the day.
Not everyone may be a fan of coffee-soaked pandesal bread. But there are a million other ways of enjoying pandesal. In fact, it will go well with many sweet or savoury numbers you may have in your fridge or pantry, such as:
Today’s panaderia classic was introduced by the Spaniards. They sailed to the Philippines in the 16th century with their cross and sword. The conquistadors also brought with them their culinary traditions, including Western-style baking.
The term "pan de sal" translates to "bread of salt". Some historians attribute it to the available flour at the time. We're not going to delve into the science of bread making to explain it (i.e. protein content, the impact of salt, etc.). Suffice it to say that the current version of pandesal has evolved over time.
The Colorful Versions of Pandesal
Over the decades, the taste profile of the pandesal became sweeter. The original formulation only had 1.75 percent sugar. Whereas today, it has gone up to 18 percent.
This versatile Filipino bread also enjoyed many transformations through additions in its formulation. Pandesal now comes in many versions of various colours, textures, and culinary surprises:
The Problem With Traditional Pandesal
The traditional recipe is a "go-to" formulation for many bakers. But expect to encounter a handful of issues with the finished product:
If you want luscious pandesal, try our Ludy’s Kitchen pandesal recipe.
The Story Behind Ludy’s Kitchen Pandesal
Our delicious pandesal recipe was developed by our founder, Manolo Fetalvero. He's an IT manager by profession and a baker by heart. He found himself tackling a big challenge a few decades back - his sons won’t eat anything but noodles and pizza.
Manolo is a big believer in creating family traditions. And it includes food prep and mealtimes. So, he started his baking journey with his wife and kids in tow.
“They would eat anything I bake... Pan de bato, pan de negro!” Manolo jokingly said, referring to hard and burnt buns he made back when he was just a novice baker. “And they like to mess around the kitchen helping me bake them. Those were fun days.”
As he progressed as a baker, Manolo took the artisanal approach. And he championed the natural food movement through his cafe, Pan de Boy's Lite Bites Cafe.
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Manolo improved his baking through continuous testing and evaluation. He gathered feedback from his customers and incorporated their input into his recipes.
This made Ludy's Kitchen pandesal one of his best-selling products. The pandesal recipe features a fusion of artisanal baking traditions. And it caters to the local palate. It tastes freshly-baked for three days at room temperature and up to two weeks in the fridge.
Ludy's Kitchen Pandesal Recipe
- 122 gm bread flour
- 52 gm semolina flour
- 174 gm water
- 1 gm instant dry yeast
- 381 gm bread flour
- 24 gm semolina flour
- 126 gm russet potato
- 3 gm instant dry yeast
- 35 gm milk powder (full cream)
- 70 gm water
- 1 pcs egg (small)
- 14 gm himalayan pink salt
- 85 gm dark brown sugar
- 78 gm unsalted butter (softened)
- 348 gm Poolish
Prepare Your Poolish - Pre-Ferment
- Mix the bread flour, semolina flour and yeast before adding water.
- Add the water and mix until there are no more big lumps of dry flour.
- Cover and leave on your counter for 1-2 hrs, then, keep in the fridge for at least 12 hrs.
- Before mixing into the Final Mixture, take it out of the fridge, leave it on the counter and let it warm up to room temperature - 2-3 hrs, depending on the weather.
Other Ingredients To Prepare
- Steam the russet potato.Finely mash it and let it cool down completely before mixing it in.
- Cream the softened butter with salt and sugar.
Mixing All Yout Ingredients
- Beat the egg and mix it with the water.Put them in the mixing bowl.
- Mix in the poolish and mashed potato into the egg-water mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix the bread flour, semolina flour, the milk powder and the yeast.
- Sieve the flour mixture into the mixing bowl.
Using The Mixer
- Set the mixer to low speed and mix for 10 min.At the end of the 10-min mixing, you should have a well mixed dough with no dry lumps.Let it rest for 30 min.
- Mix in the creamed butter into the dough at low speed for another 10 min until the butter mixture is fully incorporated into the dough.At the end of the 10-min mixing, the dough should have absorbed the creamed butter mixture completely.
- Switch the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing for 10 more minutes.At the end of the 10-min mixing, the gluten strands in the dough would be completely developed.
- Gather and tighten the dough by mixing at high speed for 10-30 sec until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
Fermentation / Proofing / Strengthening The Dough
- Turn over your dough onto your work surface. Fold it into a smooth ball. Take note of its volume/size.Let the dough rest for 45 min.
- After resting for 45 min, stretch and fold the dough and form it into a tight ball.Let it rest for another 45 min.At the end of the 2nd resting, the dough would have risen to almost double in volume.
Cutting/Dividing & Shaping
- Fold the dough to prepare it for cutting and shaping.Divide the dough and measure its weight, 50 gm each.Fold and round each piece.
- Dust each piece with bread crumbs.Let it rest in a baking tray until its almost double in volume (90% of the initial volume).
Baking Your Pandesal
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C at least 30 minutes before baking.Bake at 180C for first 7 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150C for the next 8 minutes.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes... enjoy your pandesal!
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Since Bro Boy or Manolo and Sis Doods started baking Pandesal, we never failed to order these fluffy and delicious pandesal almost every week. My family, most especially my husband, love eating bread for breakfast , so when Bro Boy shared their recipe to us, from then on I started baking the best ever pandesal of Bro Boy and Sis Doods. Evolved to Spanish bread, pan de coco and Cinnamon rolls. What makes this special and unique from other pandesal, as long as they are stored properly in a tight container they last for days in the fridge, they are still fluffy and delicious and when toasted in the oven toaster, it will still be the best pandesal we love. When friends tasted the pandesal they started ordering from me and became my home business.
Thank you Bro Boy and Sis Doods for sharing your recipe and we will be forever grateful to you both.
PS. Does the potatoes in the recipe Bro makes it fluffy and last for days?
Thank you Sis Joyce!
Glad to hear you’ve started a home-baking biz. And that it is doing well! 👍👏
Yay! to Joyce’s Kitchen – https://www.facebook.com/JoycesKitchen.SG
Anything we can help, just let us know.
Potato gives the bread the soft & chewy texture. While the bread’s properties to keep its moisture is the key to its prolonged freshness. And there are several factors – ingredients & processes, that contribute to it.
The milk powder, the butter, the sugar and their right proportion. We’ve tested this over and over again. And then, there’s the fermentation, you must be wondering why our pandesal takes almost 24 hrs to make!
They all work together to give us the quality we want – pandesal that is soft & fluffy that lasts.
Should butter be softened to room temp, melted, or cold?
Love how soft and fluffy the rolls come out
Yes, use softened butter. You should be able to cream it with a regular rubber or silicone spatula.
What effect would it have if the poolish is kept in the fridge for more than 12 hours?
Hi Edmund, in the fridge, the yeast activity will slow down.
So, yes, you can keep the poolish in the fridge up to 24 hrs. After which the poolish will start to sour. You can still use it, but the flavour will be a bit off. And you’ll notice that it will not rise as well as before. It will be more dense.
I tried this pandesal recipe for the first time and my family really liked the taste. The only problem is the pandesal didn’t brown.
The oven was pre-heated for 30 mins at 390F, baked 7 mins @350F, then 8 mins @300F. Should I have baked it longer or should I set it at a higher temperature?
Thanks, I’m glad your family liked it. 😉
You have to test the actual temperature of your oven. If you’ve been using your oven for quite some time, the heat sensor can be damaged. I suggest you buy those oven thermometers and adjust accordingly.
The timing I’ve indicated in the recipe is perfect for the temperature I’ve given. It’ll give you the perfect golden-brown crust.
I have been baking pandesal for many years. Today, I tried the recipe for the first time and I can say that it is the best ever pandesal I’ve ever made. Thank you Manolo and Doods for generously sharing your perfect pandesal recipe. God bless you.
Thanks Leslie, for the vote of confidence.
On Ludy’s Kitchen Pandesal recipe – does the russet potato need to be boiled first?
Hi Chiqui, sorry I missed to mention this in the preparation. Yes, you either boil or steam it. Then mash it until there are no lumps. Leave it to cool first before mixing it in.
I prefer to steam it. This way it will not absorb too much water, putting you in control of the recipe.
One more question – If the semolina flour is not available, what can we use as substitute?
You can replace semolina with bread flour (1:1). It will change the texture a bit, but it should still taste the same. I’m using semolina in this recipe to give the pandesal a little bit of crispiness in its crust.