These whole wheat Pandesal are the perfect balance between light and airy and full of fiber bread rolls. The taste is interesting on its own, slightly nutty with a hint of sweetness. This recipe that I will share with you is made from 100% whole wheat flour, but don’t worry, I promise that it will yield the softest and moister Whole Wheat Pandesal bread rolls. They remain soft for up to 3 days, provided you store them in an airtight container.
Whole wheat bread has an unfortunate reputation for turning out heavy and dense at home. Therefore, there is an overwhelming number of recipes for whole wheat bread that include a good deal of white wheat flour (bread flour or all-purpose flour), often 60%. These flours improve bread chewiness and rise.
This recipe can be done in one day or with an overnight sponge method.
Tricks for achieving soft and moist whole wheat Pandesal
The first key step for making whole wheat Pandesal is to start with an autolyse. With this technique, we will first combine half of the total amount of whole wheat flour and almost all liquid parts. Then we will allow the mixture to rest for at least 3 hours or overnight before adding to the main dough.
This process will give the gluten in the flour time to hydrate. This hydration period also softens the bran and germ in the dough, leading to a lighter and softer Pandesal. The timing of an autolyse will vary from 3 hours to overnight. But after testing this recipe, I was happiest with the overnight autolyse.
Whole wheat dough typically requires more hydration than white bread due to the wheat bran’s absorbency. I gave the dough all the water it needed up-front with the autolyse, so the dough is quite sticky and wet. The trick for preventing the dough from sticking to your hands is by rubbing or moistening your hands with oil or butter. Remember also to grease your working space (I don’t use flour).
- Whenever possible, it is always recommended to use weight measurements instead of measuring cups when weighing ingredients.
- I used my stand mixer for faster and easier kneading, but you can, of course, knead the dough by hand or using a hand mixer with a dough hook.
- Make sure to use a good quality whole wheat flour. And make sure also that the yeast you are using is alive. I used instant dry yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, remember to proof them first before adding them to the dry ingredients.
- Don’t skip the sponge dough method. This process will give the gluten in the flour time to hydrate. This hydration period softens the bran and germ in the dough, leading to a lighter and softer Pandesal.
- Make sure you knead the dough properly for the gluten to develop. To check if your dough is ready, perform the windowpane stretch test.
- Give the dough enough time to proof and make sure they double in size.
- The dough is quite sticky, so I recommend to grease your hands with oil or butter before working with the dough.
- When you smell the bread, you get to prepare and check your Pan De Sal. Sometimes it is ready to pull out from the oven. I usually tap the bread, and when it sounds hollow, then it is ready.
- To ensure freshness, store pandesal in an airtight container at room temperature. Or you can also store them in the freezer.
- You can freeze Whole Wheat Pandesal. Just thaw them before eating, and you can also microwave them for 30 to 40 seconds.
I hope you will also try my 100% Whole Wheat Pandesal recipe. Stay healthy and enjoy your baking. 😊
You will need:
For the Sponge dough
- 200 grams (approx. 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp) whole wheat flour
- 300 to 350 grams (1 1/4 cups + 3 tbsp + 1 tsp) water, room temperature
For the main dough
- 200 grams (approx. 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp) whole wheat flour + 65 grams (1/2 cup) wheat flour (for the 2. kneading)
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated white sugar
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 10 grams (2 tsp) instant dry yeast
- 20 grams full fat powdered milk (optional)
- all of the sponge dough
- 1 large egg, room temperature and slightly beaten (optional)
- 80 grams (5 tbsp + 1 tsp) unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature (or 4 tbsp vegetable oil)
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs, for coating
For the Sponge dough: The evening before baking
- In a large bowl, combine 200 grams of flour and water. Mix until no dry flour lumps left. Cover with plastic film and let sit overnight in the fridge.
- Remove from the fridge to thaw for 30 minutes to 1 hour before preparing the main dough.
For the main dough: The day of baking
- Once the sponge and dough are ready, in the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 195 grams flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, and milk powder (optional). Mix and make well in the middle.
- Then add your sponge and dough and slightly beaten egg. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes until no dry ingredients left. Then gradually add the softened butter and continue to knead until distributed evenly. Stop kneading and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic film. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- After 30 minutes, place the bowl back on the stand mixer and start kneading again then add the remaining 65 grams flour. Continue to knead for about 15 minutes. Then test your dough by performing the windowpane test. If your dough is not ready, continue kneading and testing every 5 minutes.
- Transfer the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, prepare 2 baking trays with parchment paper and a bowl with fine breadcrumbs. Set aside until ready to use.
- Once the dough has doubled, punch it with your knuckles and transfer it onto your working space or countertop. You don’t need flour to work.
- Lightly grease your working surface and divide the dough into 2 equal portions of about 473 grams each dough (I used my kitchen scale). Using your hands and fingers, pat each dough portion (let some of the gases out) into a rectangle. Then roll the dough tightly by pressing each fold tightly into the dough. Then roll and pat it to form an equal log shape. Remember to pinch the seam side. Cover the dough with fine breadcrumbs, then form again into an equal log shape. Watch the video tutorial and see how I did it.
- Using a sharp knife or a dough cutter, cut each log into 10 to 12 equal portions so that you will have 20 to 24 pieces of dough total.
- Gently press each roll down to flatten, then place the dough piece, flat side down (cut side up), onto the prepared baking trays making sure there is space in between as these will still rise later. Lightly sprinkle with fine bread crumbs. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. Repeat the same procedure with the other dough.
- While the pandesal is proofing, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350F).
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, and it should sound hollow when you tap the bread.
- Serve warm and enjoy!