Every Filipino knows there’s nothing like a piece of warm, fragrant, and delicious pandesal to wake up your senses in the morning. But let’s face it - downing four pieces of white buns in one sitting isn’t the best for the waistline. Especially if you’re trying to watch your carb intake. That said, here’s a healthier alternative that’s just as delicious: whole wheat pandesal.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about this fibre-rich Filipino bread.
So, stick until the end. Because we’re throwing in a unique, soft & fluffy whole wheat pandesal recipe that’s tried & tested. Guaranteed mouth-watering results!
The Rustic Roots of Wholemeal Pandesal
Some tend to think that whole wheat pandesal is a new development. Possibly brought by the movement to eat healthier. After all, the past few decades have seen a push towards consuming whole food and organic produce.
But do you know the original pandesal introduced to us by the Spanish colonizers was of the whole wheat variety?
And how do we know this? Well, these tidbits of info will lead us to a simple deduction:
So, the next time you think that whole wheat pandesal is a new development brought about by the healthy food revolution, think again. Our ancestors have been enjoying them since the Spanish Era.
What is Whole Wheat Bread?
Before we go any further, it’s crucial to discuss - what is whole wheat bread? Many confuses it with other healthy bread types. Here’s a quick comparison:
Healthier Bread Across the Nations
Generally, you can substitute white flour for whole wheat, but not in all recipes.
According to Pastry Chef Steve Song, whole wheat would not be ideal for delicate numbers like sponge or chiffon cakes. But there’s no harm in swapping white flour for whole wheat if you’re baking less fragile goods like bread, muffins, biscuits, and denser cakes.
Here are a few international baked goods that often have whole wheat versions:
Ludy's Kitchen Tip:
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using whole wheat flour for baking:
The Health Benefits of Whole Wheat Pandesal
Now, back to whole wheat Filipino bread. If you feel guilty over wolfing down too many batches of ube cheese pandesal, then adding a healthy pandesal recipe to your baking repertoire is an excellent idea.
Whole Wheat Pandesal vs Traditional Pandesal
This is somewhat synonymous with the white bread vs whole wheat bread face-off. And the difference lies in the bran and wheat germ present in whole wheat but not in refined wheat.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the bran and wheat germ contain good amounts of B vitamins, copper, iron, zinc, antioxidants, magnesium, and phytochemicals.
That said, it offers us the following health benefits:
Whole Wheat Pandesal Calories
Some may be surprised to hear that despite being a healthier option, a piece of whole wheat pandesal has more calories (140) compared to traditional pandesal (130).
However, you must also note that whole wheat contains more dietary fibre (4g compared to 0g), more protein (5g compared to 3g), and fewer carbs (12g compared to 22g). In addition to that, whole wheat makes you feel full for longer. That said, all the health benefits make up for the additional ten calories.
Whole Wheat Pandesal vs. Malunggay (Moringa) Pandesal
When it comes to healthy pandesal options, malunggay or moringa pandesal is another popular option. However, pitting it against wholemeal bread nutrients isn’t easy because it offers a different range of health benefits. But for sure, a whole wheat malunggay pandesal recipe will be healthier compared to one made with white flour.
The Story of Ludy’s Whole Wheat Pandesal Recipe
Many of our customers already know about Ludy’s Kitchen’s pandesal recipe, which is bestselling in our Singapore store. The story behind our wholemeal pandesal is just as interesting; the recipe was borne out of a logistic predicament.
It started back when founder, Manolo Fetalvero, gained traction with his home-baked pandesal delivery business in 2008. You see, in Singapore, industrial ovens aren’t allowed in residential units. So, despite the slew of orders, he had no choice but to make do with a domestic oven that can only bake up to 16 buns per batch.
With more and more people trying to eat healthier, customers requested more wholesome bread to make up for all the pandesal, pan de coco, pan de queso, and ensaymada they’ve been ordering.
One friend suggested baking a "fusion bread" in the form of multi-grain pandesal. It would’ve been an excellent project to try. However, multi-grain bread requires using different types of grain flour. The problem is that grain flours can't be sold at a quantity that a home baking business can afford, all except for one - wholemeal flour. So, Manolo took some home and tested it in the kitchen.
“It was not easy to incorporate wholemeal flour and maintain the same qualities of Ludy's Kitchen Pandesal that our customers loved,” Manolo recalls. “So, I adjusted the formula and tested it many times before I was satisfied. And when we launched it, our customers loved it. It became very popular that it became a bestseller and stayed on top for quite some time.”
With a combo of wholemeal bread nutrition and a delectable palate profile, this bread has become one of Ludy’s Kitchen’s menu staples.
Ready to make your very own whole wheat pandesal? We can guide you on your baking journey and let you in on trade secrets you won’t learn elsewhere.
Get all the tips & techniques you need to know, join Ludy's Kitchen!
Ludy’s Kitchen Whole Wheat Pandesal Recipe
Prepare Your Pre-Ferment - Poolish
- Mix the bread flour and yeast before adding water.
- Add the water and mix until there are no more 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 - 2-4 hrs, depending on the weather.At the end of this process, the poolish should be bubbly and almost doubled in volume.
Other Ingredients To Prepare
- Steam the russet potato.Finely mash the potato and let it cool completely before mixing it in.
- Pre-soak the entire batch of whole wheat flour with hot (autolyse) water. Mix it up to ensure the whole batch is wet.Let it cool down completely, at least 2 hrs.
- Cream the softened butter with salt and sugar.
Mixing All Your Ingredients
- Beat the egg and mix it with the water.Put them in the mixing bowl.
- Mix in the poolish, the pre-soaked whole wheat flour 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 7 more minutes.At the end of the 7-min mixing, the gluten strands in the dough would be completely developed.
- Gather and tighten it 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, 60 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).
- 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 7 minutes.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes... enjoy your whole wheat pandesal!
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