In the Philippines, where I was born and raised, pandesal or saltine bread is a local favorite. Instead of dinner rolls, we prefer breakfast buns because lunch and dinner are meant to be eaten with rice, the staple carbohydrate source, much like potatoes and bread in the other regions of the world.
When we moved to the east coast, I missed this food so much. I spent the first few months in the kitchen baking these wonderful buns, and had quite a success.
Now that I discovered sourdough bread, I thought, why not combine the health benefits of sourdough with the yummy-goodness of hot pandesal.
After a couple of trial and error, I was finally satisfied with this new take on pandesal. Let me call this the pandesour pullout bread or sourdough pandesal.
It’s very easy to make. I used the same dough recipe that I had for sourdough bread with some modifications in the ingredients. I included measurements in grams for accuracy and also some alternative options.
SOFT BREAD RECIPE:
1 1/3 cup (245 gm) well-fed and bubbly sourdough starter
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp (105 gm) water
1 tbsp (15 gm) canola oil
1 tsp (5 gm) salt
1 tsp (5 gm) maple syrup or sugar
1 2/3 cup (245 gm) bread flour (for softer crumb) or all-purpose flour (for cheaper alternative)
1) Pre-heat oven to 375F.
2) Combine all ingredients and knead for 10-15 minutes.
3) Shape into one big round dough and place in a bowl. Cover with an oiled cling-wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
4) Take out from refrigerator and form dough into small round balls. If you want more uniform shapes, feel free to use a cookie cutter, or alternatively, roll the dough into a log and cut into 1-inch size.
5) Put the rounded doughs in a baking pan or Dutch oven. Let rise until these double in size.
6) Sprinkle with plain bread crumbs before baking in the oven for 35-45 minutes, depending on how brown you want the crust to appear. Don’t forget this last step in the process (sprinkling on bread crumbs) because that’s how this bread can make its claim as a pandesal. Without it, it’s just plain old breakfast bun or dinner roll. It’ll have some identity crisis of sorts (as though it hasn’t had one already, being a sourdough bread and pandesal rolled in one).
7) If using a Dutch oven, keep the lid on to keep the crust soft. If using a baking pan, put another pan at the bottom of the oven and pour water for steaming.
For those who want an even softer and more sour crumb, you may substitute water with kefir milk. Research shows that kefir milk prolongs shelf life of sourdough bread. You may need to adjust flour and water depending on the consistency of your kefir milk.
Let me know how your kitchen experiment turns out!
Post your comments below.