Spanish Bread is a popular ‘merienda’ or afternoon snack in the Philippines. 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 a sweet buttery filling in it!
Spanish bread has been on my list, like forever, but I made it a priority, now that two lovely ladies have been asking for it! This is for you Espie and Belle!
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.
However, 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) and buttery with a bit of a texture to it and 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. Maybe it absorbed too much of the butter? But then how come most of it oozed out into the pan while baking, which seems to be a common problem with all the online recipes I found (say 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.
The 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(check) 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.
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 I found). But, for me, it was a necessary step to have a moist, textured, no-oozing-while-baking filling!
The filling was brownish, not yellowish like ones I see on bakeries back home. I reckon that is from using butter (and brown sugar) instead of margarine. I would try the margarine version next time and give you an update!
Filipino Spanish Bread Recipe
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter - or margarine, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/8 cup water or milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar /white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- butter - for brushing
- 2 tablespoon milk - or water
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
In a big bowl, mix together flour and yeast. In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, salt, milk and margarine or butter. Warm liquids in the microwave for 1 minute on high power. Remove from microwave and add the egg and beat several times until well blended.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and fold until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a clean surface dusted with flour until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 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 how warm it is, could take 30 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add the flour and 1/4 cup bread flour and mix well. Once it starts to boil, add water or milk, sugar, salt and rest of breadcrumbs. Cook until it gets thick. Remove from heat and continue stirring until it forms 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. Jelly-roll from the wider end towards the smaller end.
- 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 10-15 minutes. Remove cover before baking.
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack and bake at 150°C for 20 minutes.
You may also use active dry yeast but it needs to be proofed first by dissolving it in lukewarm water or, in this case, in the milk with a tablespoon sugar (taken from the ingredients for dough)