Pan de Mallorca is as good as it looks. It’s a sweet Puerto Rican egg bread that turns into huge, beautiful, soft rolls that make Hawaiian sweet rolls look like chump change. They’re good on their own, fresh, with a dusting of powdered sugar. And they also make awesome, savory sandwiches, like our favorite, spicy egg sandwich.
Our pretty-dang-fantastic egg sandwich combo is a fried egg (broken yolk, over medium), 3 or 4 strips of extra thin bacon, cheddar cheese, and Sriracha sauce. You can imagine how tasty the spicy and savory is with a sweet mouth full of this bread. Since there’s so much bread, we double up on everything, split it in half, and each have a half for breakfast. It’s the perfect ratio of flavor to amazingness.
And sharing is caring, right? Unless I make a whole one for myself, save half, and eat it later, which is also amazing. Seriously. Even cold. Noticing a trend here, yet?
Eat them for breakfast. Eat them for lunch.
Eat them with coffee.
Dip them in chicken soup. Sooo good!
Have I convinced you of their versatile deliciousness yet?
And even if you think this recipe makes way too many, I encourage you to make the whole thing. Too many rolls to eat at once? You can roll up the dough, freeze them on something flat, and transfer them to a bag to store until you’re ready to thaw and enjoy them fresh. Or give them away to your friends, freshly baked or frozen. Or bake a bunch and save them to eat over the next few days.
Ours lasted four days (until we ate them all) and were still super fresh and delicious, even in our dry climate. Of course, since they’re so big, and we’re only two people, we gave away some and froze three, so that left us with five or so. That’s manageable. The next time I made them, I only baked five and froze the rest. I think we’re set on Pan de Mallorca for a while.
Any way you enjoy them is the right way!
And here’s how to make them.
Just kidding. I guess it’s a little more involved than that. Here are the full steps:
First, mix up the dough. You can use a mixer if you have one, but I don’t so I do it by hand. Mix up the liquid ingredients, then the dry and add them together. Easy peasy.
If using instant yeast, add it to the dry ingredients. If using active dry yeast, remember to proof the yeast in the warmed up milk or water first before adding the rest of the liquid ingredients.
This dough is very easy to stir because of the butter being added as a liquid, but it firms up enough to knead if it sits for about twenty minutes or so.
And yes, the dough is actually that yellow thanks to the egg yolks and butter.
Honestly, this method of adding all the flour to all the liquid at once has a tendency to leave lumps of flour in the dough. But it was fine for me. A more reliable method for creating a smooth dough would be to mix up the liquid ingredients and sugar minus the eggs and melted butter. Add a cup of flour and stir until smooth. Then add the egg yolks and stir. Add the rest of the flour and mix. Then add the butter and stir until smooth.
Take your pick.
Either way, if you don’t have a stand mixer to knead the soft dough for you, you can let the dough sit for 20 minutes. This resting period actually begins to develop the structure of the dough by giving the flour a chance to soak up more liquid which begins to do some of the work of kneading for you, without kneading.
Begin Side Note and Helpful Tip Resting yeast doughs for a few hours and periodically folding the dough over onto itself a few times during the rest period does as much for gluten development as doing all the kneading at once. It’s a nifty tool to use sometimes, especially with a dough that is very soft or wet, like a focaccia or ciabatta. End Side Note and Helpful Tip
The rest also gives this dough structure because all that melted butter cools down and firms up somewhat. You will see that the dough that poured off of your spoon before the resting period becomes this lovely, cohesive, soft dough which comes together in just a few minutes of kneading and with only a small amount of extra flour.
You could knead as long as you want, but only a couple minutes are necessary for this dough, just until it becomes a smooth, supple mass. The more you knead, the more structure it will have, of course, in the final product. Your choice. I make it easy and knead quickly then form it into a ball-ish shape and let it rise until I can poke it, and it doesn’t spring back. I kind of poked mine a lot of times. I guess I was impatient …
Once it’s risen, it’s time to cut and shape the dough. I know of plenty of people who tear off the dough, but I was taught that that can damage the structure of the dough, so I always cut it. And I weigh it before dividing, so that I know how much each piece of dough should weigh. This results in more evenly sized rolls, which means they bake more evenly, and the final product is more consistent. Feel free to eyeball it, though. I’ve never been good at getting very even pieces when I eyeball it.
In both times I’ve made this recipe, exactly as written, my final dough weighs between 60-63ish oz., which means that if I divide that into 12 pieces, they each weigh between 5-5.3 oz.
Alternatively, if not weighing, divide the dough in half. Then divide each half in half. Then divide each of those into thirds. Hope they are roughly even.
Roll each piece of dough out into a rope about 1/2″ wide. Roll the very end of one side into a thinner taper. This is the end you will tuck under. If you don’t do this, you may find that your beautiful spiral bun ends up a lopsided spiral when baked. But by rolling the tucked end thinner, they will bake up evenly, tall, and mostly symmetrical.
I also don’t use much if any flour to roll out the ropes since they aren’t really sticky, even though they’re moist. They’re moist because of the high oil content. I do, however, sprinkle a dusting of flour on the rope and roll it in that before I shape it into a coil. I find it helps keep the coils from melting into each other as they rise and bake.
When I make my spiral, I find that it works best to hold the center in place and wind the rest of the rope around the center, instead of starting from one end and rolling the center of the dough toward the other side. Does that make sense? Wrapping the rope around the center keeps the coil relaxed and flat, as long as you don’t roll it very tightly; whereas, moving the center around tends to misshapen the coil, stretching it or tightening it too much and possibly squeezing it into a higher shape. Try it out and see what you think.
The above is actually a terrible example of a finished roll, even though it shows the process well. It’s terrible because I was trying to take the photos while showing the process, and the coil ended up lumpy and thick. I’ll show you what I mean.
The coil on the left is actually the one I used as a demonstration of the rolling technique. As you can see, it’s lumpy and fat because I didn’t roll my rope out long or even enough. The second roll is also one that I was trying to photograph. I didn’t roll that rope out long enough either and rolled it too tightly. After I realized that the distraction and interruptions of trying to photography the process were interfering too much, I just gave up on the photos, and the rest of my coils turned out more or less all exactly like the last one on the right. In other words, perfect.
And here’s what those rolls looked like after baking. I could have let them rise just a touch more before baking. Still, though they’re not all equal in beauty, they are all the exact same level of delicious.
Also, the original recipe calls for brushing the rolls with butter right before baking. Ludicrous! That’s what I thought when I saw that instruction. They’ve got a half pound of butter in them, and you want me to smear more butter on top!? Well, it turns out that coating them lightly with melted butter actually helps minimize the splitting between the coils. I could theorize on why that is, but I’ll just let you see the evidence. I think they’re slightly prettier when baked with the coating of butter.
At first, I didn’t think there was any difference, but that’s only because I was trying to experiment with whether or not they would brown more when coated with butter beforehand. Turns out I couldn’t see what I wasn’t looking for. See for yourself.
And then I commit the unthinkable. After they come out of the oven, I again brush them with butter to bring out their beautiful golden color. Trust me, it’s the right thing to do. If you’re going all out, might as well go all out.
P.S. My baking pan measures about 13 1/2″ by 11 1/2″, on the inside. Here’s a full pan of nine, risen, brushed with butter, and ready to bake.
These rolls are huge.
Should you choose to serve them as Puerto Rico originally intended, wait for them to cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. If there are any left over, and you store them in an airtight container — which I recommend — the powdered sugar will have melted. Just an FYI. They’re still amazing! And you can always re-dust them or wait to dust them until they are served.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to eat them. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
P.S. Frozen and thawed, mine never rose quite as large as when freshly baked. Also, they took about 8 hours in my cool kitchen, on the counter, to thaw and rise enough to bake. You could try setting them out overnight if your kitchen isn’t above 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, try putting them in the fridge to thaw and take them out to warm up and rise fully. They should look puffy and you should be able to poke them and have the dough spring back a little bit. It shouldn’t stay fully compressed.
2nd Yeast Dough Tip of This Post You always want to leave a little wiggle room for the dough to be able to rise in the oven with the force of air expanded by heat. If the dough is fully risen, it won’t be able to stretch any more when heat is applied and may end up collapsing. If not risen enough, it will expand unevenly in the oven and also tear. This is why many free-form loaves are artistically cut. It’s practical and aesthetic. Cutting the dough before putting it in the oven is essentially a controlled tear. End 2nd Yeast Dough Tip
Pan de Mallorca
Yield 12 large rolls
Fluffy, buttery, sweet. Pan de Mallorca is a Puerto Rican-style bread that is amazing plain or combined with any savory, sweet, or spicy sandwich fillings. This recipe feeds a crowd.
- 2 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast (1 packet, 7 g, or 0.25 oz)
- 1 C warm milk (8 fluid oz, 236 ml)
- 1/2 C warm water (4 fluid oz, 118 ml)
- 3/4 C sugar (5.75 oz, 164 g)
- The standard for sugar is 200 g/1 US Cup. Mine weighs 219 g/1 US Cup. Sugar is considered a liquid for baking purposes, so if you find discrepancies in the recipe, try weighing the sugar instead of measuring by volume.
- 8 egg yolks
- You: "What am I going to do with all the extra egg whites?"
- Me: "I don't know. I had a gazillion egg yolks left over from experimenting with meringues. That's the only reason I ever made this bread in the first place. Egg whites are easier to use up than yolks anyway. Make meringue. Make waffles or cake batter that use whipped egg whites. Make egg white omelettes. Freeze them in an ice cube tray and put the cubes into a plastic bag; I hear they freeze well. Like I said, much more versatile than extra yolks."
- 1 tsp salt
- 29 oz. all-purpose flour, I use unbleached
- Why am I putting this measurement as a weight measurement? Because this is the exact amount I use, and it's a stable variable. This is equivalent to approximately 6 1/2 Cups if you use all-purpose flour that is measured correctly. The culinary world standard for AP flour is 4.5 oz/1 US Cup. I can achieve this somewhat consistently by scooping a cup of flour, shaking it back out into the container so that it gets aerated and light, then scooping a cup back out from what I just dumped out. Then I level it by gently shaking my measuring cup or leveling it with the back of a straight, flat utensil.
- 1/2 lb. butter, melted but cool (1 C, 226 grams)
- Multiple methods for mixing the dough:
- #1. Mix all the liquid ingredients, including the sugar and egg yolks. Separately mix the flour with the salt and instant yeast and add them together, mixing with a spoon until cohesive. This can sometimes result in small lumps of flour that do not get fully incorporated. But it's easy. If I come across a lump when I'm kneading it, I pick it out.
- #2. Mix the water and milk with the sugar and yeast. Add a cup of flour and mix. Then add the eggs and salt, mix. Add the rest of the flour, mix. Add the butter, mix. This results in a little smoother dough.
- *Don't forget to proof your yeast if using active dry yeast rather than instant yeast.
- The dough will be quite thin right after mixing. If you have a stand mixer, knead it until cohesive and smooth. If mixing by hand, let the dough sit for at least 20 minutes, then come back and knead it for a minute or two until it is cohesive and smooth. You should find it very soft but easy to handle after the resting period. You may use some extra flour to keep it from sticking too much.
- Now, form it into a ball-ish shape, set it back into your mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and let it rise until you can poke it with a finger, and the indentation stays without springing back.
- Once risen, remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times to gently deflate and work out the large bubbles. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. You can do this by sight or by weight.
- Roll each piece into an even rope about 1/2" in width, making the very end of one side tapered. Sprinkle with flour to lightly coat the rope.
- Roll the rope into a coil by starting with the non-tapered end, holding it in place, and wrapping the rest of the rope around the center. End by gently tucking the tapered section underneath the coil. The coil should be firm enough to stay together yet loose enough that the roll is more or less even in height across the top.
- Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a lightly-colored baking sheet greased with butter. Take care to know that using an un-lined and dark baking sheet may result in the bottoms of the rolls browning beyond a pleasant amount or even burning, due to the sugar content of the bread.
- Let rise about 45 minutes, brush lightly with melted or softened butter, and bake at 350 F/176 C for about 25 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown. Flip baking sheets around halfway through, however you need to, to ensure even baking.
- I realize that "until golden brown" is an overly used phrase. However, I believe that these rolls actually do become a beautiful golden brown when done. They will still have lighter, whiter areas as well.
- Immediately after removing from the oven, again brush with butter to make their golden color glow. Wait until completely cooled and dust with powdered sugar for a lovely presentation. Store leftovers in the freezer or at room temperature in an airtight container. Powdered sugar will dissolve when stored in an airtight container.
These are the exact opposite of low-calorie. There is nothing low-calorie about them. Consume in moderation or eat them right before you perform a large amount of physical activity, unlike me who just ate half a roll plus a couple sausages and watermelon for breakfast and then half for a snack and have been sitting at my computer writing this post all morning.
Quick and dirty macro-nutrient analysis PSA --
Per roll: Approx. 482 calories, 67 g of carbohydrates (of which, 15 g are sugar), 9.7 g protein, and 19 g fat.
It could be worse though. Do with it what you will. Enjoy life. Just make food choices wisely, from an informed perspective.