Pan de Leche

What is Pan de Leche, you ask?  Why, it’s only one of the most delicious types of bread around, that’s what!  🙂

Dinner Rolls

Pan de Leche © 2013 AnniesChamorroKitchen

Seriously, though, Pan de Leche is a sweet milk bread that is delicious with just about anything.  Eat it by itself, slathered with butter (honey butter is even better), or stuff it with your favorite luncheon meat.  Just eat it.  You’ll be in 7th Heaven if you do.  Trust me.

I made up a batch of Pan de Leche to take to a party today.  The photo below shows some ham, cheese and baby spinach sliders made with these rockin’ rolls.


What was that…you’ve never baked yeast bread before?  Don’t worry.  I’ll created a whole new post on tips (click here) that will get you over your fear of yeast.

Anyhow, on to more important things–my Pan de Leche recipe.

This recipe yields about 1 9×13 pan, or roughly 2 dozen rolls.

Pan de Leche

pan de leche 2


  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon white, granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (or envelope) active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole, low-fat or skim, it’s your choice)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (or half a stick)
  • 1/3 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (start out with 3 cups; you might not use it all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 stick melted butter (for brushing the rolls before and after baking)



1.  In a microwave-safe cup or bowl, heat the pineapple juice for 30 seconds on high. Using an instant-read thermometer, let it cool until the temperature reaches 105 degrees. Stir in the 1 tablespoon sugar and packet of yeast.  Set aside for about 10 minutes to proof (it will get all bubbly).

DSC_0361      DSC_0368

2.  In a microwave-safe cup or bowl, heat the milk and 1/4 cup butter (about one minute on 100% power). Stir in the 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla extract.  Allow the mixture to cool then mix in the egg.



3.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour, salt, and wheat gluten.

4.  Pour the milk mixture and the bubbly yeast mixture into the mixing bowl.  Using the dough hook on your stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid mixer) mix on low speed (setting #3 on a KitchenAid) until a dough forms.  The dough may still be sticky — this is perfectly okay; you want the dough to be a little sticky.  Keep mixing (kneading) for about 8 minutes.


DSC_0376  Dough ball

5.  After 8 minutes of kneading, place the dough into a greased or buttered bowl (you can spray the bowl with butter cooking spray).  Cover with plastic wrap then place in a warm place to rise until double in size.  The amount of time it takes to rise will depend on how warm it is where you’ve place the bowl of dough.  I usually turn my oven on to warm during the kneading process then turn it off just before placing the dough in it to rise.

DSC_0380          DSC_0381

6.  After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a clean surface and lightly punch it down.  Roll out 28 balls; place them in a buttered 9×13 pan, with 4 rows of 7 balls.  I find it best to use a kitchen scale to weigh exact proportions.  This way, each piece of dough is exactly the same size.  I first cut out 28 pieces of dough using a pastry/bench scraper; then I weighed each piece to 1.1 ounces (a few balls weighed 1.2 ounces).

It’s easy to get nicely rounded balls of dough using my foolproof method.  First, slightly flatten out a piece of dough.  Next, form a small circle with your pointer and thumb (like you’re making the “ok” sign).  Place the piece of dough underneath the circle and push it through, all the while making your circle smaller and smaller.  The dough you push through will form a nicely rounded ball.  Pinch the bottom of the ball closed.

*I have a video clip showing how this is done, which I’ll upload soon.

7.  Spray the tops of the rolls with butter cooking spray then cover with plastic wrap.  Place the pan in a warm place to rise again, until almost doubled.  When the rolls have almost doubled, remove from the oven (if that’s where your dough is rising).

pan de leche

8.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Gently brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Brush with more melted butter after the rolls are done.

pan de leche 2


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  1. Angela Blount says:

    hello- I hate questions about substitutions on great recipes like this one, but I am deathly allergic to pineapple. Do you think if I did 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup orange juice that would work? I love your page! My children are Chamorro, my first husbands family is from Guam. (Pablo family in Denver)

    • Hafa Adai, Angela! I don’t see why that wouldn’t work, but maybe use a smaller ratio of lemon to orange juice to maintain the sweetness. You could also just use all orange juice, or maybe even grapefruit juice. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

      I wonder if I’ve met your husband’s family before. I’m in the Springs. 🙂

  2. Grace C Estes says:

    Thanks for your recipe,Ms.Anne.I been dreaming of making this kind of bread.Growing up in Philippines we always bought freshly made from the bakery shop either early morning, mid afternoon or before delicious and sweet bread.oh so glad you are able to find and share your talent for making the pan de leche I can’t wait to try tomorrow.thank you.Happy good Friday.

  3. Maria says:

    Will try out this recipe. Been dreaming of Pan de Leche of my childhood in the Philippines. In the 1950s , pan de Leche was the bread the ice cream man used for ice cream sandwiches. Getting nostalgic these days.

  4. Yanne says:

    Hi..thank you so much for the recipe. It turned out really great. Pineapple juice is not a staple in my kitchen. Is there a substitute? Can I use powdered pineapple juice dissolved in water? Thank you!

  5. Edgar Pinero says:

    I tried this yesterday and my wife was so impressed. Thanks for posting. Like it!!!!

  6. Ana says:

    Do you have the vid on how to make a rounded balls?

  7. Jessie says:

    Is it ok not to use vital wheat gluten? Or what can I replace it with?

  8. Mae Fernandez says:

    Best ever and thanks for your recipes!

  9. Pan de leche (based on Annie’s Chamorro Kitchen).

    From Dave’s blog: (
    “I like how soft and fluffy these are. These would be great for sliders, whether for pork or hamburger sliders. I guess I made sandwiches with them back when I was growing up, but we never called them sliders. I grew up maoing down on these, usually after school, either with cheese, or butter, with a slice of fried spam and egg, or just by itself. Damn tasty little things!”

  10. Natalie Phillips says:

    Aloha Annie!
    Just made your pan de leche recipe and we loved it! It was the softest fluffiest airy rolls I ever made. Next I can’t wait to try the cinnamon rolls. Looks awesome. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of cooking and baking and your wonderful recipes. I am so happy to find your website. My bestfriend, Cindy, made the Great Guava Cake and it turn out Delicious! Thank you sooooo much!

    Aloha Natalie

    • Hi Natalie! I’m so happy to hear you (and your best friend) like my recipes! Stop by again soon…I’d love to hear from you again. Aloha!

      • Malu says:

        Can we use this recipe for bread machine? Thx

        • I don’t use a bread machine, so I am not sure if you can. Read the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your bread machine. It might have instructions to convert a recipe to work with the machine.

        • Geri A Pinaula says:

          I just used my bread machine to make the yeast donuts this weekend! It worked so well! My donuts came out so fluffy and soft. I think as long as you follow the manufacturers instructions on how to add the ingredients it should work out fine!! I want to try this pan de leche next!!

          Thank you Annie for having this website! It’s my go to when trying out Chamorro recipes!!

  11. […] which is Yucatecan slow-cooked pork dish, cooked in banana leaves, red rice (rice dish from Guam), pan de leche (milky yeast bread from Guam and the P.I.), and Golai Hågon Suni (Taro Leaves in Coconut Milk) […]

  12. […] sweeter breads, see my other posts (coming soon) on Sweet Dinner Rolls, Pan de Leche, Honey Wheat Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls or Honey Wheat […]

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