Kalihim is as pretty as it is tasty. Soft and delicious with a sweet, bright-red pudding filling, this bread, also known as Pan de Regla, makes a great breakfast or snack treat.

With perfectly soft buns encasing a vibrant filling made of day-old bread, eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and red food coloring, it’s a stand-out in looks and taste!

What’s in a name
While the bread can be easily distinguished by its beet color, it’s not as easy to pin down its name. Depending on what region of the Philippines you ask, it’s known by various monikers from the innocent kabukiran, balintawak, pan de pula, lipstick, and floor wax to the racier pan de regla, ligaya, alembong, bukirat, and kalihim.

The name kalihim, which implies “a secret”, is said to be from the fact that bakers use the previous day’s unsold bread to make the filling. Another evocative epithet for the bread is Pan de Regla, owing to it resembling the cross-section of a used feminine pad.

Step-by-step procedure

Step 1: Pudding filling

While you can use ube, pineapple, monggo, or pandan flavor, the most popular filling is the bright-red bread pudding.

  • Tear the bread into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine the bread, milk, beaten eggs, and sugar. Stir well until bread pieces are moistened.
  • Add the red food coloring and stir until the color is evenly distributed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to soften the bread and absorb more liquid.
  • Transfer the mixture to a medium pan and over medium heat, cook the pudding while continually stirring to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the butter and stir until melted and distributed.
  • Continue to cook the pudding into a chunky, paste-like consistency. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract for flavor.
  • Let the mixture cool completely before assembling the bread as the escaping steam might tear the dough.

    Step 2: Bread dough

    • In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, active dry yeast, and two teaspoons of the sugar. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Check that the water is at 105 – 115 F temperature as too hot liquids will kill the yeast.
    • If using instant dry yeast, use the same amount, and add directly to the dry ingredients. Reduce the rise time by 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Add the warm milk, the melted butter, the remaining sugar, and salt. Stir everything well with a wooden spoon.
    • Add 2 ¼ cups of flour, about one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Gradually add and stir in the remaining flour, just until the dough gathers up into a shaggy mass.

      Step 3: Assemble bread

      • Gently deflate the risen dough and transfer to a flat board.
      • Roll out the dough into a 10 x 16-inch rectangle using a rolling pin and slice in half horizontally.
      • Spoon a heaping mound of the pudding in the center length of each half.
      • Using a spatula, slightly flatten the filling.
      • Fold the edges of the dough towards the middle to cover the pudding and pinch the seams to close.
      • Turn the logs around to seam side down and slice the logs to 2-inches pieces.

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