Soft, fluffy Spanish Bread filled with butter and sugar then laid in breadcrumbs. A bread like no other and definitely every Filipinos favorite merienda.
Spanish bread was the bread of my childhood in the Philippines. My siblings and I call it ‘potpot’ bread.
Every afternoon, we await the loud horn sound (or potpot in Tagalog) of the bread vendor. He goes around the neighboorhood carrying a huge basket of warm and freshly baked Spanish bread at the back of his bicycle. It was sooo good! I still wish I had a chance to ask for his secret recipe. Alas, I was busy with play and friends back then. I just eat and never cared to cook nor bake. Hahaha…
The recipe we’re making today is not from the bread vendor. It is, however, the recipe I’ve been using for years. I’ve worked on this for a long time and I’m finally excited to share it with all of you bread lovers out there!
First, let’s talk about the basics, shall we?
Filipino Spanish Bread Ingredients
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- Bread flour and All-purpose flour: Mixing these two kinds of flour allows us to control the protein content of the bread. Which just means that it will give the bread a soft and delicately chewy texture.
- Egg yolks: No egg whites. This is the secret to a really soft and fluffy dough.
- Pure unsalted butter: I love using butter when making bread. It makes my kitchen smell so good!
- Sugar: We Filipinos love our buns sweet. We need this for the dough and for the butter filling.
- Milk and Water: These will serve as the base liquid for the dough. The water is combined with the yeast to activate.
- Active Dry Yeast or Instant Dry Yeast: Both can be used interchangeably. Activate in lukewarm water until foamy.
- Bread crumbs: You can use Plain bread crumbs or Panko. If you are using the former, place it in a thick plastic bag and pound it to make it finer.
Bread Making Tips for Beginners
- Make sure the water is lukewarm before putting in the yeast. If it’s too hot the yeast will die. If it’s cold, the yeast will not activate. If you want to make sure that the water is at the right temperature, use a kitchen thermometer. The temperature of the water should be between 30c/86f to 40c/104f.
- Add a teaspoon of sugar to the water before stirring in the yeast. This will help easily activate it.
- Activate the yeast in a bowl even if it’s instant yeast. This ensures that the yeast is fresh and alive.
- Do not let the dough rise for too long if proving in a warm place. The maximum should be at least 1 hour. Otherwise, the bread will end up having a yeasty taste. The trick is (according to professional bakers) is to let it rise until it doubles in size and volume.
- Knead dough until smooth and elastic, it should spring back when poked. Add more flour only when the dough is too wet and clings heavily to the sides of the bowl.
I love having this with Chicken Sopas. How about you?
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WATCH THE VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE SOFT SPANISH BREAD
Soft Spanish Bread
- 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour i used wholemeal flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup lukewarm evaporated milk or whole fresh milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- oil for the bowl
- 1/2 cup / 113.4g softened butter
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoon milk
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar optional
For the Dough
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine lukewarm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast. Stir until completely dissolved. Let it stand for 5 to 10mins until yeast begins to foam.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Add warm milk, yeast mixture, egg yolks, and butter to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and mix until flour is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add additional flour as necessary, start with 2 tablespoons and go from there. Continue beating for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough is slightly sticky and soft and pulling away from the edge of the bowl. Be careful not to add too much flour.
Rise # 1 Warm rise or cold rise
- Wipe or spray oil on the sides of the bowl then form dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour until it doubles in size. To make ahead, do a cold rise by placing the dough in the refrigerator. The dough will slowly double in size the next day. See notes for more information.
Spanish Bread Filling
- Combine all the ingredients of the filling in a small bowl. Make this just before the dough finishes rising.
Rise #2 Shape the rolls
- Remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 20 to 24 portions. (see video). For an evenly sized dough, use a kitchen scale. Mine was about 40g or 1.4 ounces each. Adjust based on your preference.
- Using a rolling pin, flatten each portion into an oval shape. Spread 1 tablespoon of the filling, then roll it into a log (see video). Lay it in the bread crumbs. Shake off excess then place inside the baking tray greased or lined with a parchment paper. Repeat with all the other portions. Make sure that the dough is arranged two inches apart. Cover with a towel or cloth and let it rise for 40mins to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven at 200c/350f, 15 minutes before the dough rolls finish rising. Bake the Spanish bread for 18 to 20 minutes until the top turns light brown. If you're using two racks, switch the trays after 12 minutes so all the rolls will brown evenly.
- Don't add too much flour. Add additional add about 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is slightly sticky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with the stand mixer after every addition and then feel and test the texture after.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and seal the edges. I find that the yeast activates more quickly when moisture is locked-in in the bowl.
- For colder months, I use the oven to prove the dough. Pre-heat it at the minimum temperature for 5 minutes, turn it off then place the bowl inside. Warning: Use a heat-proof cling wrap or a wet towel instead of a regular cling wrap if you're proving in a warm oven.
- Make-ahead Tip1: Make the dough ahead of time then place in the fridge. The dough will slowly rise and double in size overnight. On the day of baking, remove from the refrigerator 30 mins before you’re going to shape them into rolls.
- Make-ahead Tip2: Another option is to make the dough and finish the first rise on the same day. Shape them into rolls then do the second or final rise in the fridge. Bake them the next day and you're done! Bake them the next day and you’re done!
- Once the shaped dough rolls have proved, you can’t remove or touch it in the pan. Otherwise, it will lose its shape.
- Storage: Store in an air-tight container.
- Re-heat in a mini-oven toaster for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat.
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