Ella’s Bella’s Whole Wheat Pandesal (Filipino-style breakfast rolls)

Prep time: approximately 30 minutes

Waiting time: Minimum of one hour

Baking time: 20 minutes

Calories per piece: 85 amazing calories!


Love, love, love pandesal! I know it sounds Spanish/Latin and the reason for that is really because the Philippines has been colonized by the Spaniards for over 300 years back in the day. There you go, trivia for you! Pandesal’s (pan de sal) means salt bread. It is a common breakfast item in my country and yep, I grew up munching on them almost every day!

To those who don’t know yet, I’ve started counting calories in 2012. Since then, I’ve been inspired to make my favorites healthier by substituting some ingredients with healthier options.

For my birthday in January, my teammate got me a box of Filipino treats. Isn’t that sweet? Like she said, I won’t have to get supplies for a while! Hahaha! Well, one of the treats was an awesome jar of Lily’s Coco Jam. This definitely goes perfect with pandesal so every time I see the jar, I feel the urge to make my own rolls. And so I finally did after a long time, and this time, it is the “skinnified” version. Here are the ingredients:

1 cup warm water

2 tsps active dry yeast

1/4 cup honey

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

¾ tsp sea salt

3 cups whole wheat flour

Don’t feel intimidated. Making your own bread is actually not as hard as it seems. For this recipe, all you need to do are these steps:

In a small mixing bowl, pour the warm water and add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the honey, unsweetened apple sauce until well combined. Add the salt, 1 cup of flour and the yeast mixture; mix well. Stir in the remaining 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, supple and elastic; about 10 minutes. Do not over mix.  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. I let mine sit on the counter top overnight and it turned out just fine.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees C).

In a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough and divide into 4 equal parts. Form each part into a cylinder and roll until it’s about ½ inch in diameter then cut each into 1 inch piece. Roll each piece onto breadcrumbs then place them onto lightly greased baking sheets. You might need two baking sheets for these rolls. Flatten them a bit as you put them on the baking sheets.

Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Lastly, bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. The rolls go very well with various spreads – I tried one with some butter, also tried them with hazelnut spread, mmmm, so good! Perfect complement to coffee or tea! My batch yielded 18 rolls so I’m good for a few days 🙂


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2 Responses to Ella’s Bella’s Whole Wheat Pandesal (Filipino-style breakfast rolls)

  1. Pamela Diokno says:

    i dont have unsweetened apple sauce on hand.. i only have honey ..will the finish product still be the same without the apple sauce? thanks 🙂

    • ellapichette says:

      Hi Pamela, I have not tried it with honey. If I had to guess, it would probably make the rolls a bit denser. I suggest adding about 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil to replace the apple sauce. I say that because apple sauce was my substitute for butter. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

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