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Filipino Bread and Pastries

Pan de Sal
Definitely the King of all breads when it comes to the Filipino cuisine. Although Spanish in name, (Pan de Sal literally translates to "Salt Bread") it definitely conquers the bread scene in the Philippines. As far as I know, there is no bakery in the entire Philippines that doesn’t sell this bread. Most of the bakeries though only sell it from 5am to 8am. Pan de Sal is a simple small round bread made from basic yeast-raised dough characterized by the bread crumbs topping it. Despite the name, Pan de Sal is not actually salty, and most Pan de Sal variants sold in local bakeries are actually sweet tasting. The first Pan de Sals actually tastes more like small French Baguettes, which are very crusty, but softer versions of Pan de Sal are now popular. Some Filipinos who are used to the taste of the crusty Pan de Sal now prefer the softer version. This is an unsightly occurrence since what most Filipinos don’t know is that the softer Pan de Sal uses a cheaper kind of wheat flour, which explains why they are soft. If you really want to taste the unique and original Filipino Pan de Sal, look for the crustier ones.

Pan de Leche
Pan de Leche literally means “Milk Bread”. As with the Pan de Sal, the name is a little misleading. Pan de Leche actually tastes a bit sweet, not milky. It’s commonly sold as small bread buns, but there are also bigger buns which are sold pre-sliced, like the classic American Pullman Bread.

A bread bun similar to Pan de Leche but the the dough used is heavier and tastes a bit more creamier. It also usually has the characteristic crease on top to differentiate it from the Pan de Leche.

The Tasty is the general term Filipinos use for the American Pullman Loaf sliced bread. It got the name Tasty because most local neighborhood bakeries often wrap the loaf breads in a plastic package which is labeled “Tasty Bread”.

Putok literelly means “explosion”. These small round bread buns is thick and chewy. It is characterized by the crack on top-center of the bun where the steam popped out of the dough, hence the name. The crack on the bread is then sprinkled with sugar or glazed. A variant of the putok is the Star Bread, where the top-center of the dough is cut so that when it is baked, it will expand and form the star shape. A funny story about Putok is that since “Putok” is also a popular slang that refers to “Smelly underarms”, some people tease the attendants in a bakery (who are usually women) with the phrase “May putok ba kayo?” which have an ambiguous meaning of either “Do you have Putok bread?” or “Do you have smelly underarms?”.

Machacao is the sliced and toasted leftover breads. It is similar to Crouttons, but is usually more toasted, almost burnt. Machacao is actually created from leftover breads so that it will be grounded and then used as an ingredient for making Pan de Sal.

Pilipit is the Tagalog word for “Twisted”. It is a fried bread which looks like twisted ropes sprinkled with sugar.

Mongo Bread
Mongo (Mung beans) Bread is the Filipinos variant of the American Loaf. Cooked mung bean paste is added to the dough prior to baking.

Pan de Sosya
Cluster of Pan de Leche buns with sugar-margarine glaze on top.

Kababayan means “Fellow Countryman”. This is a rich and creamy muffin which is usually shaped like Mexican Sombreros.

Pan de Regla
Pan de Regla is a bread stuffed with sweet red bread pudding. The name of the bread shows you the rather imaginative and oftentimes playful nature of the Filipino people. Regla is the Tagalog word for “Menstrual Blood” or “Menstruation”. So Pan de Regla literally means “Menstrual Blood Bread”.

Pianono is a roll of soft chiffon lightly spread with butter, margarine, or cream. Basically, it looks like a Jelly Roll. The exterior of the Pianono is usually coated with sugar.

Inipit refers to small rectangular cakes which are made by sandwiching a filling with two thin flat chiffon cakes and topped with thin spread of butter and sprinkled with sugar. The filling is usually a creamy custard or sweet milky filling. It was named Inipit since "Inipit" literally means “to sandwich” which refers to the two chiffon cakes “sandwiching” the filling.

Crema de Fruta
A creamy sponge cake topped with a various fruits then a sweet soft gelatin glaze is poured on top so that the cake will stick to the Fruits.

A baked Fluffy Meringue served with a sweet caramel syrup.

Creamy cupcakes with a sweet filling in the center. Soft Custard is the most common filling of choice, specially in the Ilocos Region. In the province of Camiguin, creamy Ube Jam, Langka Preserves, or Yema filling is also used in their Pastel.

A kind of soft chiffon cupcakes.

Egg Pie
A simple pie with chewy pastry filled with egg and condensed milk filling.

Buko Pie
The province of Laguna’s pride, Buko Pie contains a filling made out of milk, sugar, and shredded young coconut meat. Some foreigners think that since "Buko" is the Tagalog word for Coconut, they mistakenly think that Buko Pie is similar to Coconut Cream Pie.

Empanada is a light pastry filled with various kinds of savory meat fillings. It is often deep fried or baked. The deep fried variant is more a bit crusty while the baked variant is distinguished by its flaky pastry.

Binuwelos generally refers to any of the fried bread varieties usually found in the Tagalog and Visayas region. Binuwelos may sound recognizable to those who are familiar to Mexican Cuisine, and yes, Binuwelos is essentially the same to the Mexican Buñuelos. However, Mexican Buñuelos seem to be more like a Fried Cake, since the dough mostly resembles cake dough, while the Filipino Binuwelos is more like Fried Bread.

Pineapple Pie
A pie with sweet and tangy pineapple pudding filling.

Spanish Bread
A short roll of bread which is filled with a margarine based filling. The dough is covered in bread crust prior to baking, similar to the way Pan de Sal is made.

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