Spanish Bread is a favorite 'merienda' or afternoon snack in the Philippines that can be found in many local bakeries. You can also make your own and it is easy. We also found a way to keep that sweet buttery filling from oozing out. So you enjoy the full deliciousness of it without wasting any.
What is Filipino Spanish Bread?
Firstly, it has nothing to do with the Spanish bread of Spain (Pan de Horno). Except maybe that they share the same form (rolled) but the Filipino version of Spanish bread has something special. It has a sweet buttery filling.
It is a yeasted bread that is rolled into a log enclosing within a sugary and buttery filling. They are then rolled in breadcrumbs before baking. It is very common to find them in 'panaderia' or local bakeries. Normally enjoyed as an afternoon snack.
Making the bread itself was no biggie. I read a lot of different recipes for Spanish bread and they all have the same ingredient for the bread, which is similar to Pandesal, so I just used my own recipe for that.
Trying several recipes
The challenge for me was making the perfect filling. It took me four batches to finally get the filling right. That is, at least, my idea of what a Spanish bread filling should be. Sweet— but not overly sweet; buttery with a bit of a texture to it, and it should be moist.
The first batch, I followed what most recipe online uses for a filling: simply mixing butter, sugar, and bread crumbs together and spreading it to the dough before baking. I am not sure if it is the kind of breadcrumbs I used, because they turned out having a dry filling. The other problem is that most of the butter oozed out into the pan while baking. This seems to be a common problem with all the online recipes I found after I read the comments.
The second batch was almost the same, only with different measurements plus it adds powdered milk to it. The taste was good though.
With my third batch, I only used butter and brown sugar. I also smeared some butter on the center of the dough before adding the filling mixture. The outcome...slightly moist filling but there was no texture at all. Just a sticky syrup that also dries out once the Spanish bread gets cold. I recommend this recipe if you are eating them immediately after baking.
The perfect filling that stays inside
So after squeezing my brains out for some ideas, I decided to make an experiment. I cooked the filling!!!
Yup, I cooked the filling before spreading it to the dough of my Spanish bread! It is an additional step you will not find in any of the other recipes online. Believe me I read them all or at least those that are available at the time when I originally made this post in 2017. But, it was a necessary step to have a moist, textured, no-oozing-while-baking filling! I can see some have read my post and copied this step, which only means it really works.
The filling was brownish, not yellowish like ones I see on bakeries back home. I reckon that it is from using brown sugar and butter instead of white sugar and margarine that is normally used in bakeries. But I like the warm taste with a hint of caramel from brown sugar.
Filipino Spanish Bread Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast - see NOTE 1
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ - 1 cup lukewarm milk - see NOTE 2
- 3 tablespoons butter - or margarine, melted
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons flour
- ⅛ cup water or milk - or more see NOTE 3
- ½ cup brown sugar /white sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- butter - for brushing
- 2 tablespoons milk - or water
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- In a big bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in lukewarm milk, melted butter, and beaten egg. Mix until well blended. Add the instant yeast and mix well to form a slighly sticky dough.
- Tip the dough on a surface greased with oil. Knead the dough with lightly oiled hands until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place the dough 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, could take 30 minutes to an hour or even longer.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter until bubbly. Add the ¼ cup bread crumbs and mix well. Add flour, water or milk, sugar, salt and rest of breadcrumbs. Cook until it gets thick. Remove from heat and continue stirring until it forms a thick paste-like texture.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal parts using a knife of dough slicer. Roll each piece into a long triangle (like a pizza slice). Brush the middle part with butter or margarine then spread filling on the surface leaving about a centimeter around the edges unfilled. Roll the dough starting from the wider end towards the smaller end enclosing the filling.
- Brush each rolled dough with milk or water then roll it on a plate of breadcrumbs and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper: make sure that the end part sits at the bottom so it won't open up while baking. Cover with cloth or kitchen towel or cling wrap and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes or until they doubled in size. Remove cover before baking.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack and bake at 150°C (300°F) for 20 minutes.
- Remove the Spanish bread from the oven and transfer to a bread basket. Enjoy while still warm.
- NOTE 1: You may also use active dry yeast but it needs to be proofed first by dissolving it in ½ cup lukewarm water or, in this case, in the milk with a tablespoon sugar (taken from the ingredients for dough).
- NOTE 2: Some flour, though the same type, may absorb water more than others. Start with ¾ cup water and add more up to 1 cup if the dough is too dry. The dough should be a little sticky that will result in moist and soft bread.
- NOTE 3: Some breadcrumbs absorb more liquid than others. In this case, you may need to add more liquid if you notice that the filling is getting too crumbly while cooking.
This recipe for Spanish Bread was originally posted in February 2017. Updated in April 2020 to include new photos and a recipe video. The recipe remains the same.
One of the best bread I have ever tasted since childhood! Proud Filipino here!
Awww, glad to know it, Gwyneth!
Rajie Brown says
The best Spanish Bread according to my customers. If I can give a 10 stars, I would. Thank you so much Bebs. ❤️
Jen Anarna says
I tried making this and it’s good! Couldn’t get the breadcrumbs so I used the crumble mix as replacement. It turned out well! Thank you!
Just tried this recpie i found getting the dough right wasnt easy but i got there in the end and tho i never tried these before must say i did a good job and was even edible the filling is bit plain so next time im thinking adding strawberrys to the mix.
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I used a bread machine to prepare the dough and it came out really good! Cooking the filling was genius 😊 I had to extend baking time because after 20 mins as suggested, the bread still looked too white. I added another 10 mins and took it out when it was the color I wanted. I need to practice shaping though mine wasn’t so bad. I also used a weighing scale so they’re even in size. Thanks again!
Mine didn't turn out very pretty but they are delicious! I need to practice rolling and filling them. Maraming salamat!
I think its a little time consuming, but everyhting was worth it, its was very tasty. However, when I baked them the turned out to be huge. I was expecting a somewhat medium bite size... Any recommendations?
You can either cut down the yeast or just make more but smaller buns.
first time i made Spanish bread and it was huge success!! i am over the moon really. thank you so much for sharing.
what i noticed tho is that cooking the filling while waiting for the dough to rise, made the filling hard so i have to heat it again. because i ran out of filling, the last 3 pcs, i put cheese in it and was yum too. more power!!
Klarisa Enique says
Dear Foxy Folksy,
I have just started baking last February and I must say that all your recipes that I followed are superb! My husband and kids love all of them - Pinoy pandesal, Ube cheese pandesal, and this Spanish bread. Now they always tell me to make bread almost every day. I would like to request though for a copycat Spanish bread recipe of the one from LA bakeshop (originally from Pampanga). We tried this once, and for the second one, we went to Pampanga from QC to find the bakeshop. Thank you for sharing your recipes and videos. I finally unlocked a new skill that I can share with my family.
I finally made this recipe after weeks of wanting to do so, and I am so happy I did. My rolls came out delicious. I look forward to making more and sharing with family and friends. Thank you!
I tried this recipe 2x and I always have an issue with the divided dough springing back when rolling them out (they won't stay flat and they immediately shrink back). Any tips to prevent this from happening? Thanks!
Hi Vincent, it sounds like the gluten is too "tight" or has not yet relaxed. You might have overhandled the dough while dividing, in this case, give it time to rest again until it becomes more stretchy again.
Hi! I'm planning to try this out on the weekend, but I live alone and don't have anyone to share with, lockdown and all 🙁 Care to share freezing directions? (Before baking or after? How to re-bake after?) Thank you!
You can do it before and after, but I recommend after baking. Bake for 12 minutes, cool them down, and then refrigerate them for up to a week, sometimes longer as long as you place them in an airtight container or Ziploc, same if you want to freeze them for a longer time. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge and take out to bake further until golden brown.
Thank you! I just made them and they're perfect! Easier to make than I thought!
Emerald O’Connor says
Hi, I love your recipes. I’ve tried a lot of your breads already. Just a question for this recipe, how can I make the filling oozing out of the bread? I just want to try it out.. hope that’s ok to ask.. 😊
Thank you again for sharing all your recipes!
If you want that the filling to ooze out, then skip the breadcrumbs and flour for the filling.
Hi! Can I use half the measurements of the ingredients if would just be baking 8 pcs of bread? And also, is it ideal to breadcrumbs (the one you put on top of the bread) for the filling?
Hoping to get a reply from you! Would love to try this recipe. Thank you!
You can but I would recommend making the whole measurement and just freeze the leftover dough for next time. I don't get the second question, sorry. But if you are asking if it is ideal to use breadcrumbs for the filling, then I would say yes, so it will have something to keep it in and not simply ooze out.
Hi! Can I use the pandesal breadcrumbs for this recipe? Hope yo hear from you since I really want to try this one 😊
Yes, you can.
John J.Fulco says
Tried this recipe for the first time last night. I brought it to a dinner party at a home of friends from the Philippines . The bread was a great success. I made the bread by putting all of the ingredients into my bread machine and then mixing the ingredients on the dough setting. After an hour and a half and three risings of the dough, I took the ball of dough from the machine and cut it in half. On a floured surface, I rolled out the two halves into a 18 inch pizza shape. I smeared melted butter on both dough shapes. Put the filling on each circular dough. Then I took my pizza cutter and made eight slices across each of the pizza shapes. (16 pieces) Rolled up the dough into crescent shapes. I brushed the tops with milk. I used Panko breadcrumbs for the filling as well as the coating of the breads. I placed the breads on two baking sheets that were lined, with parchment paper and baked the breads at 300 degrees for twenty minutes, I found that the crust was not as golden as the breads in the pictures, so I baked them for an additional 10 minutes, switching trays from the lower middle rack to the upper middle rack. Breads came out beautifully and everyone enjoyed seconds and thirds. Thank you for an excellent recipe.
This is great, John! I like the pizza shape and cutter idea! Saves a lot of time! Thanks for sharing it!
Hi, i recently bought a bread machine and been using it! May I ask what does “three risings of the dough” means? You just left it in the bread machine for 2 more hours?
I used instant dry yeast..and couldnt bake them yet... I will have to put it in the fridge... and bake them first thing tomorrow morning...is that okay...? I’m scared... I dont know how it’s gonna turn like...
No need to be scared, I got some feedback from a lot of people who did the same thing and it turned out still good.
Yvonne Cutaran says
I tried the recipe but for some reason it took longer to bake the bread. Instead of 20 minutes, mine took 30 at 300°C ( as was indicated in the directions). Also, I didn't have enough filling for the entire batch. And with what I put the bread wasn't sweet enough. I will have to double the quantity of the filling next time. Nonetheless, they still turned out well and my family loves them. Thank you.
C mendoza says
Sooo good. I like the fact that you try different recipes to perfect your recipe. I admire your patience and I try to be patient too in following your recipes.
You know what they say, try and try until you succeed. Happy to know you like it.
I follow your recipes but you always use 3 cups of flour and I like to make more by using using 4 1/2 cups of flour. Using weights it is easier to adjust. I do adjust the measurements by 1 1/2 more but sometimes it is hard especially when you use 1/8 of something.
Most of the time after I’ve done it with the mixer I use the bread maker after my first try. Makes my life easier since my hands belonged to an older person.
Hi Dawn, yes we decided to use cups because not a lot of people have weighing scales at home. But there is an option to choose the metric version in the recipe card and you can double or triple the recipe there as well.
Hi there! Im going to make this tonight. What is the temperature for warm
Milk? Can i microwave it for 30 or 60 secs?What is your recommendation? Thank you and god bless!
Just lukewarm, yes you can make it warm in the microwave.
I did mine with 1min(60sec)
Yes and also for the filling. What oil you can recommend instead of olive oil?
You can use canola or corn oil.
Thanks for the recipe and will surely be making this. But, just want to know if I can use olive oil instead of butter? Thanks
Hi Reggie, you mean for the dough, right? Although I love olive oil and sometimes use it for making bread, I do not think it would be fitting for this sweet bread. You can use a more neutral-flavored oil instead.
Hi.. I'm not sure what I did wrong, it was nice and soft. But after it cooled down it became so hard 🙁
This is somewhat normal with home-baked goods. But it should not be hard after cooling down, it usually takes a day to harden. If you want bread to stay soft longer use higher hydration by adding more liquid. It will be a sticky dough to work with but all worth it.
Hello! If you want to prep this in advance but still have it remain fresh, is there a way to store it and bake it only when you want it? Thank you!
Hi Sara, you can freeze them. But some of the yeast may be killed so add a bit more in the beginning.
Thanks sa mga recipe mo!
We really like the APF pandesal, only tweak i did was, 3/4 milk and add 3tb butter. Using a gas oven btw, not burnt, no extra tray, Laging perfect!!! And your egg pie is also subarashii... Siopao is also kanpeki. Sana knock off ng star bread naman. Again , itsumo aragatou! - Rosario
Happy that you like our recipes, Rosario. Star bread is already on our list. 😊
Thank you for sharing! Will definitely try to bake this one. Would like to ask if ilang days po mag remain soft and bread? Also shelf life. Thank you so much
Home-baked bread normally stays soft for a day or two. If you want them to last longer I suggest using a higher hydration ratio so they remain moist longer. But be prepared to handle sticky dough.
How come my pandesal is dark and a bit hard at the bottom.
Hi Emma, I am guessing you are using a gas oven. If I am correct then you need to place an additional tray at the bottom rack to prevent the bottom of your baked goods from burning.
What brand of butter you are using for the filling? Thanks!
I normally use Kerrygold, Queensland or Anchor. But any brand should work.
How can I get a copy of your cook book ?
Hi May, since you subscribed to our newsletter, you should have received an email where you can download it. But I just sent you an email just in case you cannot find the first one anymore.
These were delicious. My family loved them!
Thank you for this recipe! my friends loved it!
btw can i make this in advance then bake it on the day i’m serving them?
also, what’s the difference if i’ll use brown sugar instead of white for the dough?
Aside from the color, brown sugar sometimes takes longer to dissolve. You can immediately refrigerate the rolls once formed so they can do the final rise in the fridge overnight.
I really love your pandesal and spanish bread recipe. I make it at least once a week. It's perfect! Specially now that we can't really go out due to covid, I always just make bread at home. My family loves it. Thank you so much for your recipes!
So happy that you like our bread recipes here. More of them to come...
Can we make the dough a day in advance and store it in the fridge overnight? You have a nice blog. Keep it up!
Thanks, Lorelie. Yes, you can let it rise in the fridge overnight.
Bill Thurn says
Could you have used lard instead of butter for the filling.
Lard does not taste nice as butter do, so it has to be butter...or margarine.
Hi! Thank you for sharing your recipes. I tried this today and came out really good. It’s so soft, fluffy and not too sweet. My husband & the kids loves it. Thank you so much!
Thanks for your feedback, Florence...we are happy to heart that ☺
Can I use a stand mixer instead of kneading by hand?
Sure you can, Kait.
Maha Toor says
Will any breadcrumbs like panko work?
You can crush the panko to become finer crumbs.
I am making it now and noticed the oven temp is low at 300 deg F. I had to adjust it to 350 to achieve a golden brown look
Hi Bebs! I’m a follower from LA! Can you make ahead the dough and store in the fridge? How long does it need to be thawed? 🙂
Yes, you can just refrigerate the dough after kneading or after shaping the buns. It will slowly rise overnight then just bring it to room temperature before shaping or baking. It is recommended to use ADY for slow rising ..
Can I use bread flour with this recipe?
Yes you can, Osang.
Thank you for this superb tasty recipe. My first time to make your recipe and turned out into yummy and irresistible. Will do the rest of your recipe soon. I just don't know how to share the photo of the outcome.😊
Hi Dona, you can tag us in IG or send it to our email. 😘
This is the first time i'm commenting on a recipe in my life. I needed to thank you!
We made this and it was SUCH a hit <3 It brought us back to memories of our boracay family trip. Thank you so much for teaching!
That is so nice of you, Pam, to spend time and effort to leave a comment and 5 stars at that. I truly appreciate it 😘
i tried this today and i love it. Soft and fluffy and the filling is just right - not that sweet but flavorful. craving satisfied!
Great to hear that...we also don`t like it too sweet in general 😉
I finally found the perfect recipe for spanish bread!!! Thank you for sharing it!!! My family love it!!!
Great to hear that, Tina and thanks for the 5 stars 😘
Maha Toor says
Hello! I’m thinking of trying this recipe and I was just wondering if Panko bread crumbs are ok... 🙂 thank you!
Panko breadcrumbs are too coarse and dry. I am not sure if it will come out good as is. But you can crush it to become finer and use that instead.
Great recipe as always. Easy to follow. Super tasty Spanish bread.
Happy you like it, Syd.