Majority of Filipino households, including ours, don’t have an oven. When my oven arrived two days ago, I can now proudly say that I am now an oven owner and a future good baker. Clicking that checkout button was one of the best things I’ve done this past week during the online sale.
From watching videos about baking I can now bake my own goods! The possibilities are endless!
I went out to get baking supplies yesterday with my best friend from high school. She runs a mini baking business with her sisters and knows where to get what I needed to get started. She gave me some baking tips as well. When I finally got home, I spent the rest of the day researching about baking a basic Filipino breakfast staple – the Pandesal.
Pandesal or pan de sal is Spanish for “salt bread” but the bread’s actually a bit sweet. It’s a Filipino version of bread rolls that’s usually eaten in the morning dipped in hot coffee or stuffed with corned beef. No breakfast table in the Philippines is complete without it.
As I was researching, I remembered that one of my friends in church has a published video for basic pandesal. I can recall how good and soft it was when he brought some in one of our church services. Motivated, I decided to go with his recipe.
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered skim milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1-1/2 cup water
1 cup of bread crumbs
For the full recipe and instructions visit:
How to Make Homemade Filipino Pandesal
The first thing I did today was do all the prep work needed for baking. I cleaned all the bowls I’m going to use and measured out all the ingredients. It’s quite tedious but all good effort is never wasted.
I then kneaded everything together as said in the instructions until it formed a beautiful ball. I couldn’t be more proud of myself. It’s fun to press your finger against the dough and watch as the dent formed springs back up. I covered the dough in plastic and left it for an hour to proof and double in size.
Seeing the dough rise was magical! All the yeast working together to make delicious bread is wonderful to witness.
After proofing I then divided it in two and made batons and cut them into pandesal pieces. At this point, I felt like I made a mistake before the first proofing. I was not sure if I over hydrated it, or under kneaded the dough, or both. Nevertheless, I still continued with the rest of the steps since the dough was workable.
Still believing that the pandesal will turn out good, I let the dough rise for another hour while preheating the oven for 350 F.
I sent a picture of my progress to my friend and he confirmed that I did under knead my dough just a bit but he reassured me that they will still turn out fine once baked.
Once the proofing was done, It’s now time to put my baby “sals” in the oven. I watched over them like a worried mother for 15 – 18 minutes. I saw them rise more in the heat and turn golden brown. They’re all grown up and ready to eat!
THEY TASTE AMAZING!
It’s really true that bread tastes better when baked fresh. Even though I made a mistake they still turned out great! My parents put their seal of approval on it. The rolls were light and soft, had a good amount of sweetness and buttery flavor.
I can now understand why many people say that they find joy in baking. My first ever baking experience made me feel happy. For me, the process of putting many things together to make something new that is cherished by people is what made me feel warm inside.
If I may say, this first time is not bad at all! My takeaway on this is to never let your mistakes dishearten you. Learn from them, accept them, and do better next time. This first batch is amazing and I will never forget how they turned out. Next time, my pandesals will sing perfection!
Are you a baker? Share some of your first time baking stories below and maybe throw in a recipe or two 🙂