Señorita Bread

Recipe by Hannah Dela Cruz

Despite its Spanish-sounding name this recipe is native to the Philippines, where the rolls are a treasured snack at the traditional mid-afternoon break (merienda). The light, airy bread is stuffed with a sweet swirl of rich, buttery breadcrumb filling, then topped with more crumbs for delightful crunch. Our thanks to Hannah Dela Cruz, who shares this recipe with us and observes that each bakery adds its own special take on the ingredients or process; hers is to toast the flour in the filling, which she notes “imparts a rich nutty flavor.”

45 mins
20 to 25 mins
4 hrs
12 rolls
Senoriate Bread on a platter set on a breakfast table - select to zoom
Senoriate Bread on a platter set on a breakfast table - select to zoom
A dish full of senorita bread showing the swirled filling inside - select to zoom
Seniorita bread dough that is spread with bread crumbs and ready to be rolled up - select to zoom


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  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Place all the dough ingredients into a large bowl, and mix and knead — by hand, or using a mixer — to make a smooth, elastic dough.

  2. Round the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place for 30 minutes.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it again for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will appear even smoother and feel very supple and bubbly.

  4. Round the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover and let it rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.

  5. To make the filling: Toast the flour in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until it smells toasty and darkens in color slightly.

  6. Add the butter, breadcrumbs, and sugar to the saucepan. Stir until the butter melts and is thoroughly combined with the flour and sugar.

  7. Once the sugar begins to melt, add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. The filling should be thick and caramel colored. Set the filling aside and allow it to cool completely.

  8. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

  9. To shape the rolls: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 55g each).

  10. Round each piece of dough into a tight ball and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Allow the dough to relax for 15 minutes.

  11. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and the milk in a small bowl.

  12. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll it into an 8” x 4” oval. Spread a tablespoon (about 22g) of filling evenly over the dough. Starting with the short side, roll the dough into a tight log.

  13. Brush the top of the dough with milk and roll it in breadcrumbs to coat. Place, seam side down, on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

  14. Cover the rolls and allow them to rise until they’re puffy and have just about doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  15. To bake the rolls: Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  16. Remove the rolls from the oven and place them on a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy warm.

  17. Storage information: Store completely cooled rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.