Pan de Sal – The Filipino bread roll

Pan de Sal in the Philippines is one of the staple foods next to steamed rice. The bread has a tender brown crust and soft, fluffy inside. The flavor is slightly sweet and delicious to eat alone or with any spread or filling. We even use pan de sal for ice cream sandwiches!



for blooming yeast/Yeast, Sugar and Milk:

to make dough:


for blooming yeast:

  1. Dissolve sugar in lukewarm milk in small/medium bowl
  2. Add active dry yeast
  3. Mix with a spoon
  4. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or until mixture foams on top
  5. (If there’s no foam, the yeast may have gone bad)

to complete Pan de Sal Dough:

  1. Add all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula
  2. Make a well/hole in the middle of the flour mixture, add oil and mix well
  3. Add the milk and yeast mixture, mix until liquid is evenly distributed
  4. Dough may be too wet to handle. Add about two tablespoons of flour and mix. Dough should look “flaky”. Repeat if too wet but be careful not to put too much flour.
  5. Dump/transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, scrape remaining dough from bowl.
  6. Knead dough “roll-fold in-roll” for about 5 minutes, lightly flour surface if dough sticks on the counter,
  7. Shape dough into a ball and test for consistency. Dough should be soft like a marshmallow and springs back when lightly pressed
  8. Grease the mixing bowl and transfer ball of dough to the bowl
  9. Turn over dough in bowl to grease all surface of dough
  10. Cover with cloth and let dough rest for at least 2 hours (or leave overnight)
  11. Punch dough to let air out and remove from bowl
  12. Gently flatten dough and cut into desired size with pastry cutter or dull knife
  13. Place bread rolls on flat baking pan (lined with parchment paper) about 1/2 inch apart, cover with a dish towel
  14. Let bread rolls rest for 30-45 minutes or until ripe test is positive
  15. Bake at 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until light brown


Cook time includes: First and second dough rise and bake time

Tips and things to consider:
A mixer with dough hook is not necessary.
My preference is to use of hands for kneading to achieve the right dough consistency.
Prep Time for milk (already lukewarm) and yeast: 15-30 minutes (varies) depending on yeast bloom
Prep time for dough including kneading: 15 minutes
Dough first rise: at least 2 hours (can be covered and left in bowl overnight)
Dough second rise: 30 minutes or when ripe test is postive
Sweet Pan de Sal: use 1/2 cup sugar for recipe instead of 1/4 cup

Terms and techniques:
Blooming Yeast: Feeding or “activating” yeast with sugar and liquid resulting in foamy mixture, necessary to raise bread dough
Consistency of Dough after Kneading: Dough should be smooth to the touch and bounces or springs back when lightly pressed with finger (should not be confused with Ripe Test)
Ripe Test to make sure dough is ready to bake: lightly poke dough with fingertip, notch/dimple/dent remains/doesn’t bounce back