Spanish Bread is a ubiquitous bread in every bakery in the Philippines. They are one of the favorite mid-day snack paired with coffee or cola by Filipinos.
The ingredients for making this bread is relatively simple, and I am sure all the ingredients are probably in your pantry and fridge already. Making Spanish bread takes some time, but it is worthwhile because it is so yummy, especially when freshly baked from the oven.
Spanish bread vs Pandesal
This Filipino Spanish Bread reminds me of the Pan De Sal I posted last month. They are also coated with breadcrumbs and shape into rolls. The difference between these two recipes is in the shaping and sugary filling. And if you want to learn how to make Pandesal, please check out my recipe post here. I gave a lot of tips on making our Filipino bread rolls Pandesal, and I strongly suggest that you read the post.
This is my second time baking Spanish bread. Before I baked this bread, I did some research and compared different recipes and procedures. I can read that many recipe bloggers say that the dough for Pandesal and Spanish bread is the same, but I want to try a new dough recipe for my Spanish bread. 😉 And combining my baking experience and research, I came out with this recipe that yields soft and fluffy Spanish bread, just the way I want my bread is.
Shaping Spanish Bread
There several ways to achieve the distinctive shape of the Spanish bread.
- For the traditional way, you divide the dough into equal portions, then flat and shape them into a square using a rolling pin.
- The other shape is like a croissant or crescent rolls. You shape the dough into a triangle, then spread the filling in the middle, leaving the edges unfilled, and then roll up tightly, starting at the wider end.
Make sure to pinch the end to ensure that the bread will not open up when baked. But some rolls still puff up quite a bit when they bake.
There are different suggestions on how to make the Spanish bread filling. Some suggest creaming the butter and sugar while others melt the butter then add the sugar and breadcrumbs. For my filling, I chose to use melted butter.
Tips for making Spanish Bread
- Make sure you read the recipe first, watch the tutorial video, and don’t skip.
- Measure all your ingredients and place them in individual bowls.
- Use whole milk, and if you don’t have whole milk, you can substitute evaporated milk + water. Whole milk contains 3.5% fats that help to tenderize and moisturize baked goods like Pan De Sal and Spanish bread. But if you don’t have whole milk or evaporated milk, you can use the milk you have available in your fridge.
- Milk and water should not exceed the temperature of 37 degrees Celcius. Hotter than that, you will risk killing the yeast. I would highly recommend getting a kitchen thermometer to take the temperature of your liquid.
- The recipe calls for all-purpose flour and bread flour. I like to combine these two types of flour to achieve the perfect chew for my Spanish bread. If you don’t have bread flour, you can omit this recipe and use plain all-purpose flour.
- If you want even Spanish bread portions, I recommend using a kitchen scale.
- When you smell the bread, that is when you get to prepare and check your Spanish bread. Sometimes it is ready to pull out from the oven. I usually tap the bread, and when it sounds hollow, then it is ready.
- And most importantly, have fun! If you don’t succeed, try again, and my recipe and video are always here to guide you.
Other Filipino Bread Recipes
Where to put the dough to rise
There are plenty of ways to provide your rising dough with the warm, humid environment yeast loves.
- Place a pot of boiling water in a cold oven. Place the dough inside with the hot water. Adding water to an oven creates a moistened environment that allows the dough to rise easier. It also makes bread deliciously light and crusty.
- Please turn on the oven for about 1 minute and turn it off. Place the dough in the warm oven.
- On top of the fridge. Your refrigerator generates heat, so it’s usually warm on top of the fridge so you can place the dough there.
- Next to the window. If the sun is coming through a window in winter, place the dough next to the window in the sun.
If there are any leftovers, transfer them in a ziplock bag and freeze. Thaw the bread overnight and reheat for about 15 seconds in the microwave.
These Spanish Bread are sweet, and soft buttery bread is simply delicious. You don’t need extra filling. 😉
Here is a video showing how I make my Spanish Bread
You will need:
For the dough
- 375 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 65 grams (1/2 cup) bread flour
- 7 grams (2 tsp) instant dry yeast
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 240 grams (1 cup) milk, lukewarm (I used whole milk with 3% milkfat)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
- 50 grams (3 tbsp) butter, softened
- melted butter, for brushing the dough before spreading the filling
- extra water or milk, for brushing the dough before coating in breadcrumbs
- extra breadcrumbs, for coating
For the filling
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 3 tsp all-purpose flour
- 60 grams (2/3 cup) breadcrumbs
- 40 grams milk or water
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) light brown sugar (or 50 grams light brown sugar and 50 grams dark brown sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the dough
- In your stand mixer bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast, then make a well in the middle. Pour the wet ingredients – lukewarm milk, oil, and slightly beaten egg over the flour mixture and knead the dough, about 3 to 5 minutes until the dough comes together.
- Add the butter, 1 tbsp at a time, then continue to knead for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Take the windowpane test.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm area and let it rise until it doubled in size. Depending on how warm it is, it could take 30 minutes to an hour.
For the filling
- While your waiting for your dough to rise, let’s prepare the filling. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add the flour and breadcrumbs and mix well.
- Once it starts to boil, add water or milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Cook until it gets thick. Remove from heat and continue stirring until it forms a paste-like texture. Set aside in a bowl until cool. To quicken the cooling process, I put the bowl with sugar-breadcrumbs mixture in a deep plate with cold water while preparing everything else.
Forming and shaping the Spanish Bread: There are three ways to shape the Spanish bread dough:
- Put parchment paper on 2 baking sheets.
- Method 1 – Square shape (traditional way): Punch down the dough, roll into a log, divide it into 16 equal parts, roughly 60 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball and set it aside. Once all the dough has been pre-shaped into balls, using a rolling pin, flatten each dough into roughly a 6×6 inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter, then using a spatula, spread the filling, about 1 to 1.5 tsp. Roll the piece like you would roll a jelly roll, starting from one corner and rolling towards the opposite corner. Pinch the end and sides to ensure it does not open when baked. Watch my video tutorial on how I make and shape my Spanish bread.
- Method 2 – Croissant style: Punch the dough, divide it into two equal parts, and shape each piece into a ball and set aside. Roll out each portion into a round shape and spread the filling over. Then cut each into 8 triangles like when you’re slicing a pizza. Each triangle would be rolled up like a croissant style. Pinch the end to ensure it does not open when baked. You can check my other bread video to see how I shape my croissant bread buns.
- Method 3 – Inverted triangle shape: Punch down the dough, roll into a log, divide it into 16 equal parts, roughly 60 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball and set it aside. Take one ball and shape it into a flat like an inverted triangle, using your fingers and the heel of your palm. Brush with melted butter, then using a spatula, spread the filling, about 1 to 1.5 tsp. Roll the piece like you would roll a jelly roll, starting from one corner and rolling towards the opposite corner. Pinch the end to ensure it does not open when baked.
- Brush each rolled dough with milk or water, roll it on a plate of breadcrumbs, and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to place the pieces seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Give some space between each piece as they will still rise. Do the same for the rest of the dough.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for another 10 minutes. Remove cover before baking.
Baking the Spanish bread
- Meanwhile, you can now start to preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the Spanish Breads are lightly golden.
- If you’re using active dry or fresh yeast, remember to proof the yeast first by combining half of the lukewarm milk, half of the sugar, and yeast in a bowl and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
- You can also change the filling of your choice.
- You can shape your Spanish bread in whatever shape you want, from traditional to croissant shape style.
- If you don’t have bread flour, you can use plain all-purpose flour for this recipe. While you can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, it is highly recommended to follow the type of flour required by the recipe to yield optimum results.
- Use warm/room temperature water instead of hot water.
- Whenever possible, it is always recommended to use weight measurements instead of measuring cups when weighing ingredients.