Hot Homemade Pan De Sal

One of my fondest memories of the International School of Manila was the heavenly smell of fresh pan de sal wafting from the school cantina (cafeteria).  I loved the IS Cantina, where you could get food from all different countries.  We also had awesome homemade cupcakes and brownies (the daughter of the Japanese ambassador went back after returning to Japan for a visit just to get the brownies!).  This recipe is surprisingly easy to make, especially if you have a breadmaker with a dough setting or a food processor that mixes dough.  To get that proper oval pan de sal shape, I would recommend using a larger baking dish than the 13” X 9” I used.  Filipinos traditionally serve pan de sal with sweetened condensed milk inside, but they are just as wonderful with butter, jam or cheese.

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 package bread yeast (about 3 tsp)
  • ¼ cup unflavored bread crumbs.

Put the milk and butter into a microwaveable large measuring cup or bowl and microwave for 1 ½ minutes or until milk is warm and butter softened.  You can stir the contents halfway to better distribute the heat.  The mixture should be lukewarm to touch.

While milk is heating, put egg (still in shell) in a bowl of hot water to bring it to room temperature.  Crack egg and add contents to milk mixture, discarding the shell (if I don’t say this, someone will dump the shell in too!).  Beat mixture.

Add milk mixture, flour, salt, sugar and yeast to your bread machine, following your machine directions for dough.  Set to dough setting.  When machine goes off (about 1 ½ hours later), spray the inside of a large bowl with non-stick spray.  Remove dough from machine and put it into the bowl.  Spray surface of the dough with non-stick spray.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm spot.

If you don’t have a warm spot in your house, but a large roasting dish on the lower shelf of an unheated oven.  Pour boiling water 1” deep into the roasting dish.  Put the bowl of dough on the higher shelf.  Close the oven door and let dough rise for about 1 hour.

After dough has doubled in bulk, take it out and put it on a cutting board.  Cut the dough mass in half and cut each half into quarters.  Cut each quarter into 3 pieces.

Put bread crumbs on a small plate.  Roll each piece lightly into an oval and dip one side in the bread crumbs.  Put piece, bread crumb side up  in a large baking dish (larger than 13”X9” is preferable but 13”X 9” will work) sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Space dough pieces about 1” apart, they will expand and grow into each other.  Put baking dish back in the unheated oven.  If the water in the roasting pan has cooled down, pour it back into a pot and reheat it to boiling and poor it back in the roasting pan.  Close oven door and let rolls rise for about 45 minutes.

Remove rolls and roasting pan from the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  When oven has reached desired temperature, put the dish of rolls on the upper shelf in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until tops of rolls have browned nicely and kitchen smells like heaven.  Remove from the oven.  I dare you not to eat these rolls while they are still warm from the oven – impossible.

Makes two dozen pan de sal.

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