All ye bread lovers, I’m sure you know this moment. Oh yes, you do. It’s when you’re at a restaurant and your main course arrives. And you groan inwardly, thinking, ‘damn, I shouldn’t have eaten all those bread rolls!’
If you’ve got a guilty look across your face now, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Fresh dinner rolls are simply irresistible when they’re fresh out of the oven, all warm and crusty. Break it open, slap on some butter, and chomp. That mix of crust and soft bread with salty butter is unbelievably good – needless to say, even more so when you get to a restaurant and you’re hungry beyond belief. While you can indeed buy your own dinner rolls from the supermarket, it’s nice to know that making them at home isn’t too difficult. Back in March or so, one of my friends told me about how his mom makes this lovely bread with a mildly sweet flavour called Pan de Sal and I’ve saved the recipe on my phone ever since. Yes, it’s been awhile and I’ve finally gotten to it! Might I say I’m glad I did.
This recipe is not like those dinner rolls that you get from the supermarket; those usually have a more baguette-like coating that is more crunchy. Instead, these are soft, pull-apart buns that have a more pillowy texture, quite like burger buns. You can choose to make them larger and cut them up however you wish to eat them. I made small ones simply because I find them cute (I am a girl, after all), and they probably bake slightly quicker.
These dinner rolls are best savoured as you usually would: as is, with butter slathered on, to mop up gravy, with soups, etc. I actually made pesto fettucini to go with these (recipe soon, methinks!) and I wasn’t surprised that my mother enjoyed the bread more, savouring them with good butter. See, some people would actually skip the bread rolls at restaurants in order to save their stomach for the main course, whereas my mother can never resist having them. And that is exactly how I justify my love for bread rolls: it runs in the family. Just ask my mom!
Mini Pan de Sal (Mini Filipino Dinner Rolls)
Adapted from THEO72’s contribution in AllRecipes
Makes about 25 mini rolls
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
8 tsp white sugar
1/8 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
- Put the warm water in a small mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let stand until creamy (about 10 minutes).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 7 teaspoons of sugar and oil until smooth. Add the salt, 1/2 cup of flour and the yeast mixture and stir well. Then, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, supple and elastic (approximately 10 minutes). Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in it and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
- Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a cylinder and roll out until the ‘log’ is 1 1/2 cm in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut each ‘log’ into 3 cm pieces. Place the pieces, flat side down, onto two lightly greased baking sheets. Gently press each roll down to flatten.
- Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius, and bake the rolls until golden brown (about 20 minutes).
- Tear apart and coat with enough butter to make your thighs cry. Eatnownownow!