Pan de Sal – Bread Rolls

Considered a staple, pan de sal or salt bread is more sweet than salty and most likely derives the name from the pinch of salt used to make the bread. The earliest versions of wheat-based breads were introduced in the Philippines by the Portuguese back around the 1500s. Pan de sal is popular as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

My fondest memory of this food is when my father would have his morning breakfast which consisted of a hot cup of coffee, a warm pan de sal with a spread of minatamis na bao or coconut jam. He would dip the pan de sal into the coffee and happily eat it and drink his coffee in a silent ritual at the kitchen table.

Pan de Sal – Bread Rolls


2 tsp active yeast
¼ cup | 60 ml lukewarm water
1 ¼ cups | 315 ml water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable shortening
4 ½ cups | 675 g white flour
1 cups | 100 g breadcrumbs


  1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast culture.
  2. In a clean bowl combine the 1 ¼ cups of water, sugar, salt, and shortening.
  3. Fold in the activated yeast and flour mixing well, the dough should hold together otherwise add more flour or water until the correct consistency is achieved.
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (It will still be sticky).
  5. Place the dough into a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide it into 20 – 24 evenly sized balls.
  7. Form the balls into ovals and roll in the breadcrumbs.
  8. Place rolls onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and allow to rise until nearly doubled in size (1 to 1 ½ hours).


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F | 220° C.
  2. Bake the rolls for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Remove the rolls from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve warm or cool completely on wire racks.