Buns – Hot, Cross (BBB September 2018)

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Sourdough September BBB September 2018 summary: recipe for Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls; making substitutions; hazards of being an expert; Sourdough September; planning ahead; late again; information about Bread Baking Babes; why is it still so hot and humid?

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls

There is nothing wrong with fresh or dried yeast (though please check dried yeast labels for artificial additives) but research has shown that sourdough has the following advantages: […] [Y]easts ferment more slowly, allowing time for beneficial bacteria (lactobacilli, AKA lactic acid bacteria or LAB) to develop. – sustainweb.org | Is sourdough better than ‘normal’ yeast?

BBB Spanish Bread Rolls

Here I am at last. Just one day late for September’s BBB baking party….

This month, Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen) chose Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls. Her rolls looked gorgeous. And I suspect that if I had actually followed the recipe, my rolls might have looked pretty darn gorgeous too.

Not that the rolls I made don’t look good. But they were not at all the soft fluffy bread that a Filipina would like to have with afternoon coffee….

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!
– Bebs, Foxy Folksy | Filipino Spanish Bread Recipe
The Spanish Bread has been around for as long as anyone can remember, but no one can seem to fully explain how it managed to get its name. […] Whether or not this bread has an identity crisis, it doesn’t change to fact that this bread is practically part of the Filipino culture already. […] The best kind is light and fluffy, with just the right amount of butter and sugar inside. Sprinkling more sugar on the rolls adds a light sweetness, if you’re up for some finger-licking after. […] [T]he traditional filling for these breads are melted butter and sugar […] The best way to eat these is warm. With or without coffee.
– Clarisse Panuelos, The Tummy Train | Sometimes I wonder about Spanish Bread

The BBB recipe calls for commercial yeast. And this is Sourdough September. Of course, I had to use my natural starter! Because we ADORE our naturally leavened bread!

Sourdough breads and rolls made from a proper sour, or starter, have no vinegary flavor. […] It creates better texture and produces superior flavor.
    Sour, fermented by wild yeast present in the air, was used as leavening to make breads rise as far back as ancient Egypt. […] Smell the aroma of real sour rye or sourdough wheat bread and you will instantly become an expert at recognizing it.
– George Greenstein, Chapter One: Basic Materials, Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World (1993, 2007), p12, 13)

Being the expert {cough} that I am, I was certain that I could substitute our natural starter for active dry yeast. After all, what could go wrong? :stomp:

Here’s how things went:

BBB Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls diary:

9 August 2018, 16:47 I just looked at Aparna’s photo of the rolls. They look so pretty!

I know I’m going to have the urge to go savory with these though – maybe peppers, or perhaps olives and lemons…. (Even though I know T will want the sweet version!)

I looked on the internet at a few recipes for savoury fillings. My MyEclecticKitchen.com has an interesting looking vegan filling calling for maitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, tamari, coconut sugar, mirin, maple syrup (!!), ketchup, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and 5 spice powder.

Aparna suggested that we add cinnamon to the filling, but I thought that would make them too much like cinnamon buns. I really like the idea of tasting the bread crumbs!

While the traditional filling for these breads are melted butter and sugar, you can switch it up and use whatever you please: jam, Nutella, chocolate, or a personal favourite of mine the coconut jam!
– Clarisse Panuelos, The Tummy Train | Sometimes I wonder about Spanish Bread

13 September 2018, 11:40 I just realized that Sunday is the 16th! I fear I will be late posting about these rolls.

My lame excuses: a.) I got thrown off by the crazy hot humid weather we are still having. b.) my sister and her husband were visiting for a week and sleeping in the room that has my computer c.) I’m back on my head frantically trying to learn too many notes of really great music for various rehearsals that have just begun.

But I do plan to bake these rolls tomorrow. However, I am away from the computer all day Saturday and Sunday so don’t think I’ll manage to post on time.

I’m planning to use our wild starter so needed gram conversions of the ingredients…. Here they are for the dough: (I haven’t bothered for the filling; I can’t imagine that it’s important to measure really carefully there)

  • 2 tsp active dried yeast – 6gm
  • 1/4 cup warm water – 60gm
  • 1 tsp sugar – 4gm
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – 437gm
  • 1/3 cup sugar – 67gm
  • 1 tsp salt – 6gm
  • 1/2 cup milk – 124gm
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted – 114gm
  • 2 eggs

I read on a little to the directions. (I know!! This reading ahead is unprecedented for me!)

Mix the yeast in the warm water, after dissolving the sugar in it. Keep aside for about 5 to 10 minutes to proof. – BBB September 2018 recipe

This must be an old recipe. I haven’t seen a note to add sugar for proofing the yeast in ages! It’s just not necessary.

Correcting Misconceptions […] With modern yeast, we no longer proof unless the potency is suspect. This holds true for the active dry yeast packets used in the home kitchen. If the yeast is not outdated, there is no need to proof it. One must, however, activate the dry yeast by dissolving it first in warm water – George Greenstein, Chapter One: Basic Materials, Secrets of a Jewish Baker: Recipes for 125 Breads from Around the World (1993, 2007), p12, 13

14 September 2018, 00:20 Hmmmm… I’m waffling and trying to decide if I should reduce the butter, milk and egg somewhat, dramatically, or omit it entirely.

Maybe I’ll just go for “dramatically”. :lalala:

half recipe:
    100gm bubbling starter
    42gm milk
    100gm water
    17gm melted butter
    10gm honey (to atone for the dramatic reduction of the butter and egg)
    360gm all-p flour
    17gm wheat germ
    10gm flax seed
    7gm salt (3gm salt seems on the low side – that’s not even 1% baker’s percentage)
    0 egg

11:05am I mixed the bread this morning. Of course, I didn’t follow my idea from early early this morning. (Why would I do that?? :stomp: )

Instead, because I am making a Tartine loaf as well today, and know that it works, I decided to do a slight variation on Robertson’s formula:

    100gm bubbling whole-wheat starter
    45gm buttermilk
    300gm water
    5gm honey
    440gm all-p flour
    50gm whole wheat flour
    4gm wheat germ
    10gm flax seed
    10gm salt + 25gm water
    0 eggs
    0gm butter

I’ve just kneaded in the salt and things are looking good. Yay.

12:15 I turned the bread and the dough looks and feels even better. But. Why oh why is it still so hot and humid?! Make it stop, please. I have to say I’m not looking forward to turning on the oven this afternoon.

Still, I must keep reminding myself that hot and humid is far preferable to the freezing cold and wind whistling into our century-old house that will begin all too soon….

With this warm weather, I’m thinking that I will be turning the dough 2 more times over the next hour or so and then beginning the shaping.

You know your dough has been kneaded enough when you can make a windowpane out of your dough. – BBB September 2018 recipe

Make a windowpane out of my dough? Pffft!! I DON’T think so. Why bother?!

13:22 I thought I would continue with my unprecedented behaviour and read ahead on how to shape the rolls.

There are two ways of shaping Filipino Spanish Bread. One is to roll out each portion into a round and spread the filling over it. Then cut each into 8 triangles like you would a pizza. Each triangle would be rolled up croissant style. The other is a more traditional way. For this shape each half of dough into a log and divide into eight equal parts. Roll each piece into roughly a – BBB September 2018 recipe

My eyes can’t stop glazing over when I try to read the instructions for the traditional way. But, considering that the dough I’ve made isn’t traditional, I think I’ll go with the first way.

17:33 The dough is gorgeous! It rolled out beautifully. I decided to spread very soft butter on the round instead of melting it. It’s just too hot in the kitchen to add to the nightmare.

I sprinkled on our beautifully toasted bread crumbs and also threw on a little salt. Because sweet and salty is so good.

After rolling up the buns, I made yet another executive decision to omit the bread crumbs on the outside. Too much trouble!

19:07 We baked the Tartine loaf first because I knew with all that sugar, we’d need to turn the oven down. The moment the Tartine loaf came out of the oven, I moved the rack to the top shelf and slipped the tray of buns in. I guessed it would take 30 minutes for them to bake. We planned to eat dinner the moment they came out of the oven.

I guessed wrong. It took an hour!! (Actually, I think they were probably done in 45 minutes, but someone else in the kitchen really wanted them to be golden brown on the top….)

The buns did puff a little initially but they were clearly chewy rather than fluffy.

So. The rolls I made were ALL wrong.

I was hot. I was mad. I was hungry.

Just before sitting down to dinner, we tried one. It was so hard to bite through, it almost (but not quite) hurt our jaws.

I covered the rest of the offending buns with a net umbrella to try the next morning when we were calmer.

BBB Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls

Please don’t misunderstand. These little rolls may have been incorrect, but they did taste good. Just a little chewy.

The next morning when the air had cleared in the kitchen, we warmed the buns, being careful not to burn them. They were delicious with coffee, equally delicious with German Butter cheese.

We sat out on the front porch, enjoying the slight breeze that helped us ignore the fact that it’s still so ridiculously hot that our neighbours are still running their AC units. It’s the middle of September!! There was a snowfall in Alberta!

We still had 7 or 8 buns left over. Once we got over the fact that the texture was wrong wrong wrong, they turned out to be even more wonderful when served with butternut squash soup (drizzled with rosemary oil) for dinner (oops, sorry no photo of the soup).

It was just that the buns were on the chewy side.

So chewy that some people were afraid of breaking their teeth…. :lalala:

We loved the filling. The addition of bread crumbs is brilliant. And the amazing thing about the fact that there was no cinnamon was that one of my friends was convinced they did have a bit of cinnamon!

Thank you for introducing us to Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls, Aparna! Next time, I’ll be a little more careful with the substitutions so that they turn out to be soft and fluffy.

Here is the BBB recipe for Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls

for 16-18 rolls


  • spoonful of bubbling Jane Mason whole wheat starter from the fridge
  • 50g 100% “no additives” whole wheat flour
  • 50g room temperature water

Actual Dough

  • flour (the BBB recipe calls for all-purpose flour)
       » 440g unbleached “no additives” all-purpose flour
       » 50g “no additives” 100% whole wheat flour, sifted to remove bran lumps
       » 4g wheat germ
       » 10g whole flax seed, finely ground
  • liquid
       » 45g buttermilk (low fat)
       » 300g room temperature water
  • 10g Kosher salt + 25g water (see salt is salt, right?)
  • 0 eggs and 0 butter


  • unsalted butter, softened
  • toasted bread crumbs, finely crumbed
  • brown sugar
  • tiny amount of seasalt

Because the buns I made didn’t really turn out correctly, please see the actual BBB recipe for Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls for the instructions on how to put them together.


:: Leavener: Next time, I think it may be wiser to follow our wild naan recipe for the dough. Or perhaps a challah recipe. I also may just cave and use active dry yeast.


BBB September 2018

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Get Baking

Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls

Aparna is hosting September 2018’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

I have chosen Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls to make. These may be simple to make but they’re deliciously soft, mildly sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. […] Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls are made with an enriched brioche like dough. Smaller pieces of dough are rolled out thin, brushed with butter (melted or creamed depending on the recipe used) and sprinkled with breadcrumbs and sugar. They’re then rolled up jam roll style and then baked till golden.
– Aparna, in message to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 September 2018. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ September 2018 Filipino Spanish Bread Rolls.


Sourdough September

Real Bread Campaign
The aims of #SourdoughSeptember are to:

  • Share the delicious delights of genuine sourdough
  • Encourage more people to bake genuine sourdough
  • Celebrate the small, independent bakeries that bake genuine sourdough
  • Alert people to the issue of sourfaux to help people avoid paying a premium for something that just isn’t genuine sourdough
  • Encourage people to join and/or donate to the Real Bread Campaign

It is both flattering and frustrating that some supermarkets and industrial loaf fabricators have spotted the increasing appetite for sourdough made by Real Bread bakers, and decided they want a slice of the action.
Sadly, what they are producing is not always genuine sourdough. […] Whenever you buy a sourdough loaf, it’s worth asking how it was made and with what – genuine sourdough is made using a live sourdough culture (aka a starter or leaven) but NOT any of the following:

  • added commercial yeast
  • dried sourdough powder
  • sourdough concentrate
  • yoghurt, vinegar, or other non-sourdough acidifier
  • flavourings, preservatives and other artificial additives

Baked products made using such things are what Real Bread Campaign cofounder Andrew Whitley calls pseudough.
-Real Bread Campaign, Sustainweb.org | Sourdough September

edit: Please take a look at the bread that was made with the other half of the dough for the Filipino Spanish Rolls:
Almost Wordless Not-Wednesday: Not Genuine??? (Sourdough September)


10 responses to “Buns – Hot, Cross (BBB September 2018)

  1. Cathy (BreadExperience)

    Hot and cross buns? Oh you mean you were hot and cross! I’ve tried baking like that before. Not a pretty picture. I’m sorry you had such a time of this. However, you are right! It’s Sourdough September and you had to do it! I’m glad at least some of your rolls were edible. I only added 1 egg to my version, but it needed it and the sugar as a tenderizer. Soup sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy them.

    1. ejm Post author

      I thought that using a slight variation of the Tartine loaf would be safe – and that putting in the buttermilk with a little honey would be enough of a tenderizer. And interestingly, it seems it was for the dough. I used half the dough to make a small boule that we had with last night’s dinner. The crumb was beautiful soft and fluffy – just as I was certain the bread rolls would be (photos of the sliced bread are still in the camera).

      And yes. The ultra chewy rolls were perfect with butternut squash soup. (We almost cut them into pieces to float on top as croutons.)

  2. Judy

    How brave of you to make a Wild Filipino Spanish Bread Roll, especially with hot and humid weather, which is enough to make anyone cranky. Glad they turned out ok.

    edit: I wasn’t so brave at all, Judy, considering that I dropped most of the sugar, and all of the butter and eggs from the dough. – Elizabeth

  3. Tanna

    Interesting that a loaf with the same dough was soft and fluffy … perhaps the smaller size of the rolls made the difference.
    German Butter cheese – I have no idea what that is BUT I know enough to know I want this.

    1. ejm Post author

      Maybe, Tanna. It seems quite odd, doesn’t it? I also wonder if maybe we over-baked the rolls, in our quest for a golden brown exterior.

      We discovered the cheese this summer at one of the weekly Farmers’ and Local Vendors’ Markets. It tastes very much like a nutty Swiss cheese. We love it!

      Butterkase is a semi-soft cheese with a golden natural rind, very popular in Germany and Austria for its creamy texture, buttery like taste.
      – butterkase, cheese.com (cheese.com/butterkase/)

  4. Tanna

    Oh I also think this shape might be part of the reason these were less than ideal. We were very happy with the crescent shape but I did feel that the roll might have made for a softer and better bun for these.

    edit: That makes sense, Tanna. However, in retrospect, I kind of liked the chewiness of the crescents. But I didn’t want to put that in the report. It would ruin the tone of my complaining! :stomp: – Elizabeth

  5. Katie Zeller

    It’s still really hot here, too. I have a mountain of acorn squash to eat but I don’t want to turn the oven on. The hubs is reluctant to buy more gas for the grill as we normally switch to indoor cooking on the 21st. Not this year!
    Regardless, they may have been chewy but they were good, right? Right?!?
    Our butter melts sitting on the table…..

    edit: So does our butter, Katie. Not even putting it into the butter bell keeps it from going liquid and rancid this summer. Sorry to hear that your weather is just as evilly hot. – Elizabeth

  6. Aparna

    Hot and cross? I get that. I have this tendency to try and experiment with recipes too and they don’t always turn out right. Those are the days my husband dreads! :)
    I liked that you tried going sourdough with them. Thanks for baking along though with all those constraints.
    Given that I live with hot and humid the year around, cold always sounds good to me. :D

    edit: Every time I complain about the heat and humidity, I think of you, Aparna. I cannot imagine how you manage! Not that I’m thrilled about really cold either. But the way that it is now (finally) is perfection. We actually had to turn the fans off because at last there was a lovely cool breeze flushing the house out. – Elizabeth


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