I'm following this recipe: http://blog.junbelen.com/2010/03/24/how-to-make-pan-de-sal-filipino-bread-rolls-at-home/. I was careful to measure the water temperature for the yeast, etc. The resulting bread rolls came out a bit dense.

I used flour that was 11.5 grams protein per 100 grams. I used a mixer for about 12 minutes until I got a good window pane (though it was still breaking apart a bit, I didn't want to overmix so I stopped).

What can I do to make the buns less dense? Should I use a different type of flour? Mix more? Add baking powder (if so, how much???)?

  • 1
    The recipe you posted doesn't use any baking powder. Also, did you follow all the directions for resting and rising times?
    – SourDoh
    Nov 1, 2013 at 23:29
  • Also, if you used fresh or active dried yeast, did you proof it to check that it is still alive?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Nov 1, 2013 at 23:52
  • I second rising times. Inadequate rest/rise is often the culprit for dense bread. Also, once it's risen, don't handle it too much. Nov 2, 2013 at 0:26
  • I followed the resting and rising times. I waited until it doubled in size, then punched it down, made the rolls, then let it rise again (one batch for about an hour, other batch overnight). I'm thinking baking powder might help it during the cooking process. Nov 2, 2013 at 4:18
  • I think the recipe itself is not too good. It has under 60% hydration, and 60% is the lower amount for soft bread when made with AP flour.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 4, 2013 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


There should have been 3 rises. The first till it doubled, then an hour after molding it, and finally an hour after cutting the rolls. The dough should have gotten noticeably bigger during each rise, and if this is the case, there's really no way for them to be dense.

If it doubled in the first rise but didn't seem to puff up much by the last rise, your yeast may have simply run out of fuel. To combat this, you can either add a sugar to the dough so the yeast has more food, or cut the rising times a bit so that there's more food for the yeast left in the dough by the last rise.

When punching the dough down, be fairly gentle. You want to knock out the excess gas, but you should be leaving some in. For instance, if the dough doubled in size, you'd want to punch it down to about 1.25 to 1.5 times the original size, not all the way down.

I wouldn't add baking powder to these. Most of the rising potential of the baking powder will be spent long before they're ready to go in the oven. Even if you use a double acting one, it will dramatically change the character of the rolls leaving you with a totally different end result.

  • Some recipes for this bread includes baking powder. Nov 4, 2013 at 19:46
  • @CookingNewbie If you want to use baking powder, then you should use a recipe that was written for it. The pan de sal recipe I found that contained baking powder also contained milk and eggs and had only about an hour of rising time, making it quite a bit different from this one.
    – SourDoh
    Nov 4, 2013 at 20:08
  • How do milk and eggs affect the bread? Nov 4, 2013 at 23:06
  • @CookingNewbie Milk usually makes bread softer, and eggs give it a finer crumb. Eggs also have their own protein, so breads with eggs are sometimes less reliant on gluten development.
    – SourDoh
    Nov 4, 2013 at 23:12

There's a lot that could be going on, from bad yeast to not enough water, to not enough proofing. See this previous answer for much more detail.

  • I find your own linked excellent answer even more applicable to this question. This questions title is also more google friendly. I would appreciate you reciting that answer here, in part or in its entirety. Nov 5, 2013 at 18:39

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