This ube cheese pandesal is flavored with purple yam and stuffed with quick melt cheese. It’s a modern take on a classic Filipino bread roll.
Disclaimer: Let me preface by saying that I have never tried the original ube cheese pandesal from Cavite that sparked this internet sensation. This is my version of the popular bread roll based on what I assume it would taste like.
Kimmy Bakes Bakeshop in Cavite is often credited as THE ORIGINAL ube cheese pandesal that started this craze a few years ago. By now, many bakeshops throughout the Philippines sell their own version of this colorful bread.
Some are filled with ube halaya and cream cheese, some have ube halaya and melted cheese, and others simply are filled with cheddar cheese.
My version of ube cheese pandesal is made with dehydrated ube powder and lightly flavored with ube extract. It is stuffed with a quick melt cheese to create a runny, cheesy filling.
- All-purpose flour
- Non-fat dry milk powder
- Granulated Sugar
- Kosher salt
- Instant Yeast
- Ube Powder (dehydrated purple yam)
- Ube Extract (optional)
- Milk & Water
Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder: Non fat dry milk powder provides additional flavor. It is optional and may be omitted. Milk powder is found in the baking aisle of the supermarket along with the flours. It is also labeled as “instant dry milk.”
Kosher Salt: I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. Diamond Crystal is less salty than Morton’s kosher salt, table salt, and fine sea salt.
Instant Yeast: This recipe uses instant yeast. If you would like to dry active yeast, dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until foamy and fragrant.
Milk & Water: I use a combination of whole milk and water. You may use all milk or all water. Any milk (whole, skim, reduced-fat) will work. For a sweeter pandesal, use canned evaporated milk.
Butter: Unsalted butter, margarine, shortening, or oil may be used in this recipe. Butter will provide the most flavor.
What makes ube pandesal purple?
This ube pandesal recipe is made with powdered ube. Powdered ube is simply dehydrated purple yam.
Ube extract is added to intensify the dough’s purple color. Ube extract also helps to give flavor.
Own it’s own, purple yam is quite bland in flavor. Think of potato, sweet potato, and yams. When these tubers are steamed or cooked, they don’t have much flavor. It’s the added seasonings that make the tubers shine.
The “ube flavor” we have come to assiciate with the tuber is sweet and coconut-y.
Why use ube powder? Why not use ube halaya?
I would love to use fresh ube. However, ube is very difficult to find in the United States. As such, I rely on the self stable powdered ube for all my baking and cooking.
Ube powder is sold in store and online. I suggest purchasing it stores (such as Seafood City, Island Pacific, 99 Ranch) instead of online, where it often double or triple the price.
I don’t like to use ube halaya in baking. Ube halaya is a cooked, prepared product that is very sweet and often made with preservatives. I prefer to use the powder so I am in control of the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
After mixing the dough together, the dough is allowed to rest and rise for about an hour until doubled in size.
Proofing time may vary depending on temperature of dough and surrounding environment. Ideally, proof the dough is a warm room around 75 degrees F.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap traps the warmth created by the activated yeast, creating a humid environment for the yeast to rise.
Use a kitchen scale to evenly portion out the dough. My dough was roughly 840 grams. Divided into 12 equal portions, each ball should weight 70 grams.
If you are in an air conditioned environment, it’s a good idea to cover the dough with plastic wrap after dividing to prevent dough from drying out and forming an unwanted “elephant skin.”
STEP BY STEP: How to assemble ube cheese pandesal
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten dough.
- Place piece of cheese in center of flattened dough.
- Pull up sides of flatten dough to cover cheese.
- Pinch seams together to encase cheese to prevent cheese from spilling out during baking.
- Turn over dough seam side down on work surface. Roll dough into an oblong (elongated rectangle or oval shape).
- Turn over and dip smooth side of oblong dough into breadcrumbs.
Baking Sheet Tray used for Pandesal Recipe
This recipe uses a 9×13-inch pan, also called a quarter sheet tray. The sheet tray photographed above is an Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Quarter Sheet lined with natural parchment paper.
The assembled balls of dough will seem small at first. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for an hour, or so, until the dough had puffed and doubled in size.
At the optimal warm temperature, the dough balls will puff up and touch each other. The pandesal dough is ready for baking once the dough has nearly filled up the sheet tray.
Quick Melt Cheese and other alternatives
Quickmelt cheeses are very popular in the Philippines. There are several well known brands that available in the United States such as Magnolia Quickmetl, Che-Vital Quickmelt, and Eden MeltSarap.
I recommend Kraft pasteurized cheddar cheese product. It’s a processed cheese that is sold in short cans.
All the quick melt cheeses mentioned above are processed cheeses. The American equivalent is Velvetta, which is also a great alternative for this recipe.
If you are fancy and against processed cheese, go ahead and swap in real deal cheddar cheese.
How to store cooled pandesal
Cheese pandesal is best enjoyed warm, fresh from oven. Since this pandesal contains processed cheese, it is best stored in the fridge to prevent mold or spoilage.
Cool ube cheese pandesal to room temperature. Then, transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
How to reheat cheese pandesal in the microwave
Place one chilled pandesal on a microwave safe plate. Place in the microwave with a mug of water. Heat for 20 second intervals until bread is warm and soft.
The mug of water helps to keep the bread moist as it reheats. DO NOT MICROWAVE WITHOUT THE WATER! Without the mug of water, the bread will dry out and turn gummy.
Ube Cheese Pandesal
- Stand mixer
- Large bowl
- Sheet Tray
- Parchment Paper
- 325 grams (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour , + 8 grams (1 Tbsp)
- 115 grams (½ cup) ube powder, (dehydrated powdered ube)
- 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 18 grams (3 Tbsp) non-fat milk powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast, (see notes for dry active yeast)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup water, room temp
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed to 100°F
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 2 teaspoon ube extract, or more according to taste preference
- 28 grams (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened, room temp
- 170 grams (6 oz) quick melt cheese, such as Velvetta, divided into 12 equal portions (about 14 grams each)
- 30 grams (¼ cup) plain breadcrumbs
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 ½ cup flour, ube powder, sugar, powdered milk, and salt. Add in yeast and whisk to combine. Pour in water and warm whole milk.
- Attach dough hook attachment to stand mixer. Mix ingredients together on low speed for about 1 minute. Add in whisked egg and ube extract. Continue to mix on low speed for about 2 minutes until dough starts to form. Add in softened butter. Increase to medium speed and knead for 2-3 minutes. Dough will stick to the sides of bowl. Add remaining 1 Tbsp flour and continue knead until smooth and incorporated.
- Transfer dough to a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for about 1 hour to double in size. *Place covered dough in a warm place, such as the garage or over the refrigerator.
- Line 9×13-inch quarter sheet tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Punch down risen dough. Weigh dough and divide into 12 equal portions (about 70 grams each) Cover dough with plastic wrap as you work to prevent dough from drying out. *Use a kitchen scale for precise even portions.
- Work with one piece of dough at a time. Flatten dough. Place one piece of cheese in center of dough. Pull up aides of dough to cover cheese. Pinch seams together to encase cheese. *For a sweeter version, add 1 tablespoon prepared ube halaya with the cheese.
- Turn dough over seam side down on clean work surface. Roll dough into an oblong (elongated rectangle or oval shape).
- Turn dough over and dip smooth side into breadcrumbs. Place breadcrumb side up (seam side down) onto parchment lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining dough. Evenly spread assembled pandesal on baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough proof for about 1 hour to puff up and double in size.*Place covered dough in a warm place, such as the garage or over the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap covering from risen dough. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan midway through baking, until tops of breads are lightly brown. Cool in pan for 3-5 minutes before eating. Enjoy ube cheese pandesal warm while cheese is melted.
- If using dry active yeast: Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoon dry active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (about 100-110 degrees F). Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until foamy and fragrant. Add to dry mixture along with the milk in the step 1.
- Ube extract is optional. It adds color and that iconic “sweet and coconut” flavor associated with prepared ube. Ube extract is sold at Filipino markets such as Seafood City or Pacific Island.
- Recipe calls for 2 teaspoon, but you may add up to 1 1/2 Tablespoon for more flavor and color.
- For a sweeter version: add 1 tablespoon of prepared ube halaya with the cheese filling during assembly.
Storage and Reheating Leftovers:
- Cheese pandesal is best enjoyed warm, fresh from oven. Since this pandesal contains processed cheese, it is best stored in the fridge to prevent mold or spoilage.
- Cool ube cheese pandesal to room temperature. Then, transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
- Place one chilled pandesal on a microwave safe plate. Place in the microwave with a mug of water. Heat for 20 second intervals until bread is warm and soft.
- The mug of water helps to keep the bread moist as it reheats. DO NOT MICROWAVE WITHOUT THE WATER! Without the mug of water, the bread will dry out and turn gummy.