A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Dorothy, a blog reader, asking me to test out a recipe for Pan de Sal.
Pan de Sal is a traditional Filipino roll, usually eaten for breakfast and, despite its name, is on the sweet side.
I've never made these before, so I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. But, the recipe is rather straightforward and, if using a stand mixer (as I did), was fairly simple to pull together. (You don't have to, of course: follow these directions to make them by hand.)
The rolls bake up nicely, are best eaten hot from the oven, and highly addictive -- pillowy soft and lightly sweet. (According to some, they should be sweeter and can be made so by increasing the sugar to 2/3 cup.)
Two other points to note:
I did not roll the dough in breadcrumbs from previous pan de sal as is traditional. The recipe below doesn't address this but if I were to try it, I'd probably roll the dough in the crumbs just before the second rise.
The original recipe calls for the dough to be divided into 4 equal pieces, rolled into logs 1/2 inch in diameter and then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I thought this was too small (those are the smaller rolls in the picture above) so instead, I rolled the logs out into 1-inch diameter, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Pan de Sal
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
Put the warm water in a small mixing bowl and add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining sugar and the oil and mix until smooth using the paddle attachment. Add the salt, 1 cup of flour and the yeast mixture; stir well. Switch to the dough hook, and add the remaining 5 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Using the dough hook, continuing kneading the dough until smooth, supple and elastic; about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in it and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume; about 1 hour.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and roll out into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut each 'log' into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces, flat side down, onto two lightly greased baking sheets. Gently press each roll down to flatten. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 20 minutes.