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A bag of pandesal.

Pandesal (Spanish: pan de sal salt bread) is a rounded bread usually eaten by Filipinos. It is a bread made of flour, eggs, lard, yeast, sugar, and salt.


Pandesal is the most popular yeast-raised bread in the Philippines. Individual loaves are shaped like garrison caps due to its unique method of forming. The dough is rolled into long logs (baston) that are rolled in fine bread crumbs before being cut into individual portions with a dull dough cutter and then allowed to rise and baked on sheet pans. Its taste and texture closely resemble those of the very popular rolls of the Dominican Republic called Pan de Agua and Mexico’s most popular type of bread Bolillos. These breads all use a lean type of dough and follow similar techniques that were learned from Spanish or Spanish trained bakers early in their history. As in most commercially produced food items, they vary in quality to meet taste requirements and economic standards of various communities. In the Philippines, bakers in particular cities and towns, such as Pampanga and Bulacan, produce better quality pandesal and as a result, they command higher prices, gain renown and their pandesal is sought after by consumers all over the region.


Despite the obvious Spanish origins of its name, pandesal actually came from Portugalmarker and was introduced to the Philippines in the 16th century. Pandesal originally started out as a plain roll, traditionally served for breakfast accompanied by such items as butter, cheese, scrambled eggs or filled omelets, sausages, bacon, Spanish sardines, jams, jellies and marmalades, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Originally, pandesal was similar to the French baguette, as the only ingredients needed were hard wheat flour, water, yeast and salt. Over the years, to compensate for the declining quality of wheat flour available that could no longer result in the ideal crusty exterior and chewy interior, pandesal gradually transformed into a sweeter and richer type of bread. The common quality though that the old style lean pandesal shares with the modern sweeter version is its coating of bread crumbs which actually now provides its identifying flavor. Pandesal can be made from any type of dough and still resemble pandesal as long as the unbaked dough is rolled in fine breadcrumbs before baking. The softness of the new type of pandesal, that consumers unaware of the correct texture now find desirable, is due to its weak dough structure derived from inferior quality of flour used.

Yellow Pandesal

To mitigate the potential impact of white flour's increasing costs in 2008, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Philippines presented an alternative dubbed the "yellow pandesal." Although tradition dictates that pandesal makes use of white flour, the recipe substitutes about a third of the white flour with squash puree. The FNRI endorsed the yellow pandesal's nutritional value and potential remedy to the rising cost of flour imports. Despite the FNRI's endorsement through a pilot program in Zambales, the yellow pandesal failed to capture the attention of the market.


  2. Fenix, Michaela (ed.). 2008. Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine. Anvil: Pasig.

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