Just a quick note from me to let everyone know that I won’t be baking the bagels today. Unfortunately, I have managed to infect a (very) small hand wound, probably when I gardened over the weekend. I woke up yesterday with a sore left arm and swollen armpit lymph nodes, so I just knew a trip to the Doctor’s was needed. She’s put me on antibiotics for seven days, with a stern warning to come back this Friday if things don’t get better. I’ve got my left hand bandaged to within an inch of its life, so kneading is obviously not an option.
While I’m out of commission, I thought I would share a recipe passed down from my uncle, who used to own a bakery in my hometown. I think I’ve mentioned before that neither Mr Meagre nor I were born here, and even though Australia is our home, I still fondly remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked Pan de Sal. (Of course, the experience of riding a carabao who suddenly decides to bathe in the mud will not be topped. I just happen to prefer the smell of bread over the stench of the mud bath.)
These bread rolls are akin to Dinner Rolls or Baps — although most Filipinos would usually have them freshly baked for breakfast, slathered with a bit of butter (or margarine) or a slice of cheese, with hot, black coffee. They were always a hit with the locals on New Year’s Day, because by then most people will have gotten tired of eating the rich, celebratory food of the holidays and just want to go back to a simple breakfast.
Kuya’s Pan de Sal
Makes 12 bread rolls
(Big Brother’s “Salt Bread” or “Bread of Salt”)
5 grams instant dry yeast
500 grams baker’s (bread) flour
10 grams salt
75 grams sugar
285-300 grams water
15 grams mild olive oil*
about 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs for rolling
*Traditionally, vegetable oil was used. However, most modern recipes call for melted butter and sometimes an egg is added. Both of these seem to improve the keeping qualities of the bread. In the olden days, I don’t suppose it was necessary — the bread was baked fresh every day at the baker’s.
- Mix the dough according to your preferred method. For this bread, I often use the bread machine on the normal dough cycle (or pizza dough if I am in a rush).
- After the first rise, divide the dough into two and roll each portion into a log about 1.5 inch in diameter and a foot long.
- Roll the logs in breadcrumbs. The dough should be slightly tacky, allowing the breadcrumbs to stick slightly.
- Rest the logs for about five minutes.
- Cut each log into pieces roughly 1-1.5 inch thick. There will be around 12-14 rolls for this recipe. The target weight is about 25-30 grams per roll, if you prefer to scale it.
- Roll each dough piece in breadcrumbs and lay on a baking sheet cut side up. As the dough is proofing, it will get that oval outline on top which is typical of the pan de sal.
- Proof the rolls for about 30-45 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated oven at about 185 degrees Celsius (my conventional oven dial says 190C but the thermometer reads closer to 183 degrees Celsius.
- The rolls will turn a light golden brown when they are done (in about 18 minutes), but some people prefer them a little more toasted.
- Serve warm with some butter, cheese, or your preferred filling. These rolls are best eaten on the same day.
I hope you try them and let me know what you think. I will be mixing up some No-Knead Batter Rolls today to top up the bread tin. My daughter likes them in her lunchbox too — she refers to them as “that hat bread”.