Have you tried making your own bread at home? There’s nothing quite like it. The aroma alone is enough to make one feel warm and fuzzy inside. The experience is truly rewarding!
Perhaps if there’s one misconception about baking bread it’s that you have to be a master baker to do it because the process could be painstaking and complicated. I for one assumed I wasn’t qualified to do it—until I tried baking Pandesal.
Pandesal is the bread of choice among Filipinos. Growing up in the Philippines, my mom would buy a warm bag of pandesal from our neighborhood bakery at the first crack of dawn. Everyone in the family would devour every bite, either with a tasty filling or as is. Sometimes, we would dip the bread in hot chocolate or coffee. I missed those days.
Traditionally, pandesal is not vegan; it has milk, eggs, and white sugar (which can sometimes be processed with animal bone char). As it turns out, I could make vegan pandesal at home and it’s no more complicated than the traditional version. In fact, the process is quite simple. All I needed was to set some time aside to let the dough rise. Everything else is a breeze—and cruelty-free!
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup evaporated cane sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to activate the yeast
- 1¼ cup lukewarm almond milk
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 1 tbsp. flaxseed meal mixed in 3 tbsp. water and let it sit for at least 3 minutes
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Stir sugar, yeast, and almond milk in a bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes or until foamy. Make sure that your almond milk is lukewarm. I heated mine on the stove for two minutes over medium heat. You could also microwave it for 30 seconds.
- Using a different bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the flaxseed meal mixture and vegetable shortening. Mix well.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix using a spatula until you have a sticky dough.
- Lightly dust some flour on a clean counter to prepare for kneading. Place the dough on the counter. Gradually add flour on the dough as you knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky (about 15 minutes).
- Lightly grease a bowl with oil and transfer the dough to the oiled bowl. Flip the dough to oil the other side and cover it with a plastic wrap. Set it aside in a warm place until it doubled in size, about an hour.
- After the dough has doubled its size, punch a couple of times to release air. Transfer to the counter and roll the dough into logs. Divide the logs into equal pieces. Form in desired shapes.
- Transfer the dough pieces to a tray, leaving about an inch between each other to make room for rising. Set aside for another hour or until doubled in size.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F for 12-15 minutes.
- Serve warm with your favorite filling or enjoy as is.
I hope you try these vegan Filipino bread rolls. Pandesal is usually enjoyed during breakfast but when you make it at home, the time to enjoy it is really up to you! Kain na, let’s eat!