This Easy Ube Pandesal with Cheese filling is made with ube powder. They stay soft, pillowy and moist for days after baking.
With the rise to the worldwide fame of our humble ube or purple yam, came a lot of new food ideas and creations starring this pretty purple/violet root crop. From ube halaya, ice cream, cakes, cheesecake, and other delicacies, there seems to be no limit as to what you can make with ube.
These days, ube cheese pandesal seems to take the spotlight in the local scene. A variation of the traditional Filipino breakfast bread, Pandesal. And why not, we Filipinos love our pandesal, be it for breakfast or afternoon snack. And Ube Pandesal with melty cheese filling is perfect for both.
Ube Powder VS. Fresh Ube
This recipe uses ube powder that is now widely available in baking supply shops or even online. Alternatively, purple yam jam (ube halaya) can also be used. Just reduce the sugar as it usually contains sweetener already. Of course, fresh ube can also be used. It has to be boiled and then mashed. I would say to use about half a cup to ¾ cup of ube jam for this recipe.
The ube powder is first rehydrated with hot water that will have a consistency similar to ube halaya. This will be added in making the dough. It will create a sticky dough. But because of the high water absorption of the ube powder, the resulting bread will be soft and moist even for several days after it is baked.
I get a lot of comment from others who used ube powder but theirs turned watery when hot water was added instead of absorbing the liquids. I think this is not the real ube powder starch but is used for flavoring only. If this is what you have, then I recommend using our regular Pandesal recipe and just add the ube powder flavor to the dough, dissolved in little water.
Notes on this Ube Pandesal:
- This makes a very sticky dough. As you knead the dough the stickiness will lessen. To handle it better instead of adding more flour, grease your hands with oil so the dough will not stick. Do the same to the surface where you will knead.
- I used instant yeast for this recipe. Using dry active yeast takes longer time for the dough to rise than using instant yeast.
- If you do not have the time, prepare the dough the night before. You can refrigerate it after kneading or once they are filled and formed. Cover with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Before using it, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before going on the next step. I recommend using dry-active yeast if you are going this route.
- I used oil instead of butter for this recipe. Butter gives bread richer flavor but since this is already a flavored bread so I opted for oil which makes it softer and stays soft longer.
Ube Pandesal with Cheese
- ¼ cup ube powder
- ¾ cup hot water
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil - plus more for greasing
- 1 medium egg
- 1 tablespoon liquid ube extract (optional)
- 1 block quick melt cheese (165g) - cut into 12 cubes
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs - for coating
- Place ube powder in a bowl. Pour in hot water and stir until completely rehydrated.
- In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Pour in warm milk and oil and add the egg and mix. Add the yeast and mix again.
- Add the rehydrated ube and ube extract (if using) and mix well until well combined. It will be very heavy and sticky. Use your hand greased with oil if you have to or use a stand mixer.
- Tip the dough on a flat surface. Rub oil to both hands and knead for 7-10 minutes or until soft and smooth. Do the windowpane test to check. (SEE NOTE )
- Form the dough into a ball and lightly coat with oil. Place it back the large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm area and let it rise until it almost doubled in size. Depending on how warm it is, could take 30 minutes to an hour or more.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal parts using a knife or dough slicer. Shape a part into a rectangle and then divide it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Repeat the same with the other half.
- Flatten a ball and place a cube of cheese at the center. Fold the sides of the dough enclosing the cheese cube inside. Form it again into a ball and roll it in breadcrumbs, completely covering all sides.
- Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet living some gaps in between (at least an inch). Leave them to rise for another 30 minutes. While waiting, preheat oven 340° F /170°C. Bake the Ube Pandesal for 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and serve while hot!