5 min read

Pan de Leche


Do you ever wake up in the morning and find your thoughts are immediately consumed with food?

I know I do!

Usually it’s a bowl of muesli or porridge for breakfast but lately I’ve been springing out of bed and baking up a storm.  Nothing too elaborate mind you!

Considering my body clock is all over the place, early mornings for me can be anywhere from 4-6 a.m.

It was on a recent Saturday morning that I found myself, bleary eyed, surfing the internet for something to enjoy with a few cups of freshly brewed coffee.

I wasn’t craving muffins.  I think I’ve had enough of those to last me a life time.

I was after  something “yeasty” with a little “oomph!”.  And there I saw it.

Pan de leche.

I assumed by the title that the recipe was South American.

Further investigation revealed that pan de leche is actually Filipino.  Another web page claimed it was Spanish.  Is it Mexican?

I’m sure there is an explanation out there and if anyone can help me clarify this milky bread mystery I’d appreciate it!

Mysteries aside, these little breads hit the spot.  The butter and milk make them almost brioche like.

Slathered with more (ahem!) butter and jam I greedily consumed them as the sun was rising.  Just be wary with the dough as it can be quite sticky.

The trick is to cover your hands with oil as you shape them.

Pan de Leche Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pan de leche-warm, sweet bread rolls made with milk and butter
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
  • 100 ml of full fat milk
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast (mine weigh 7 grams)
  • 50 grams of softened butter
  • ⅓ cup of caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams of flour
  • extra milk for brushing
  1. Gently warm the milk on the stovetop or microwave. Do not boil!
  2. Add the yeast to the milk and give it a good stir ensuring everything is dissolved. Cover with a towel and set aside, whilst the yeast does its magic.
  3. Using a hand mixer or mix master (Kitchen Aid) cream the butter and sugar until it’s nice and creamy and add the egg ensuring it’s incorporated well.
  4. Add the milk/yeast mixture and again ensure it mixes well with the other ingredients. (at this point you may want to switch to a dough hook-if you don’t have one a baking spatula or wooden spoon will work fine)
  5. Start by adding the flour half a cup at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball. If necessary add a tablespoon of flour until you achieve the right consistency.
  6. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise for half an hour.
  7. Once the dough has risen, lay it on a bench and knead it for one minute. (you may want to use some oil on your hands as the dough might be a little sticky to handle)
  8. Form into little balls and place side by side in a well oiled baking tray.
  9. Allow the pan de leche to rise for approximately 15 mins.
  10. Brush with a little milk and place in a preheated 200 deg C oven and cook them until they are browned (about 7-10 mins-depending on your oven this may take a little longer)
Adapted from here