Pan de sal–the Filipino breakfast, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and dinner rolls. Sweet rolls crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. Just like cell phones (hey, we’re SMS country, aren’t we?), pan de sal is a social equalizer of sorts. Rich or poor, pan de sal is a staple in most Filipino homes. It is eaten with butter, kesong puti (goat’s cheese), meat stews, sardines or just dipped in hot coffee or chocolate. In some Filipino restaurants, like Alfredo’s Steak House along Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City, soup is accompanied by pan de sal–not continental dinner rolls–and butter.
The quality of pan de sal varies. A PhP 1.00 pan de sal is small and is only good within a few hours from the minute it comes out of the oven. Better-quality pan de sal, while not necessarily bigger, is more expensive but stays soft and fresh for at least 24 hours without freezing.
Like most breads, the pan de sal dough must be allowed to rise twice. While the process of making pan de sal does take some effort, it isn’t really difficult. It does take a bit of getting used to, what with the kneading and the floury mess it leaves. But it’s a great activity you can do with your kids.
Corned beef pan de sal is one of the reasons we go to Starbucks. Our 10-year-old simply adores it. I promised her we would make our own. And so we did. Earlier today. And we had them for dinner. She said the Starbucks bread was sweeter; I said we’d add more sugar next time. :P
For the pan de sal dough :
6 c. of all-purpose flour
2 tbsps. of active dry yeast
1 c. of warm water
1 c. of fresh milk, scalded
1 c. of white sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 c. of cooking oil
additional flour for dusting
a tablespoonful of oil to coat the bowl
3/4 c. of sweet bread crumbs
1/4 c. of seasoned bread crumbs (the kind used for fried chicken)
For the corned beef filling :
1 tbsp. of finely chopped garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 c. of canned corned beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. of cooking oil
Cooking procedure :
Pour the warm water and scalded milk into a large glass bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let stand until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. Add the salt, the rest of the sugar, oil and half the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until blended. The dough at this point will be sticky. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until the dough forms into a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface (a large wooden board is best). Knead the dough with your hands by folding it then pushing it with the base of your palm. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough is elastic and just a bit sticky. Dust with more flour as you knead if necessary.
Lightly oil the sides and bottom of a large glass bowl. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, rolling it few times to coat the entire surface with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for an hour. The dough will double in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the cooking oil in a skillet. Saute the garlic and onion until fragrant. Add the corned beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is quite dry. Transfer the sautéed corned beef to a sieve, with a bowl underneath, to drain well.
Stir together the bread crumbs.
Punch down the dough and transfer to the floured wooden board. Knead for a few minutes. Divide into four portions. Roll each portion into a log. Divide each log into 4-5 pieces. Take one piece and flatten with the palm of your hands. Place a teaspoon of the sautéed corned beef at the center of the dough. Gather the edges and pinch to seal well. Roll in the bread crumbs. Repeat until all the dough has been similarly filled. Arrange the uncooked corned beef pan de sal on a baking tray. Leave to rise for another 20 minutes. Bake in a 375oF oven for 20-30 minutes or until the tops turn light brown.
Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Warning: Eating the corned beef pan de sal straight out of the oven may burn your hands and mouth.