Pan De Sal Continue to Shrink in Size and Increase in Price

A bigger pan de sal (3 inches by 2 inches) on the breakfast table such as these costs five Philippine pesos a piece, but not too many can afford now.

The staple breakfast bun of Philippine pan de sal we often see on the table courtesy of our friendly baker continue its saga of evolution in price, size and weight. The bakery either diminish the size of the Filipino favorite bread, decreasing its weight, or increase its selling price, two options both of which are not favorable to the consumers at all. The pan de sal (PDS) of course is made of poor quality hard wheat flour with the necessary ingredients of water, salt, yeast and brown sugar.

PDS was introduced in 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.

To compensate for the declining quality of wheat flour available that could no longer result in the ideal crusty exterior and chewy interior, PDS gradually transformed into a sweeter and richer type of bread. The common quality though that the old style lean PDS shares with the modern sweeter version is its coating of bread crumbs which actually now provides its identifying flavor.

PDS can be made from any type of dough and still resemble pan de sal as long as the unbaked dough is rolled in fine breadcrumbs before baking. The softness of the new type of Pan de Sal, that consumers unaware of the correct texture now find desirable, is due to its weak dough structure derived from inferior quality of flour used.

A piece of PDS costing two Philippine pesos is hardly good for two big bites! To get a feel for the bread, one need to consume more than five pieces in one sitting. At a diminutive size of roughly two inches in length and one to one and one half inches in width, the bread is a light weight source for anything but good breakfast.

Very recently, we learned that there is an increase in prices of flour in the global market. This translates to the retail price attaining another round of increase. In April of this year the previous price of (the lowest ) P880.00 to (the high) P920 for a 25 kilogram sack increased a notch higher of between P900 to P940. With the looming price increase in the world market, we need not guess what to expect locally.

Commodity prices of grains and flour in the global market continue to rise due to the following factors: (1) Grains are now widely used around the world as source of fuel and energy, (2) the prevailing climate change, many still disregard and view as fictitious, yet plays a huge role affecting wheat/grains production and (3) the ever increasing population of the world, increasing demand for flour and bread.

As for us, we have learned to love the more energy packed and natural kamote (sweet potato). Back to the basics, back to our roots, and back to checking out the still reliable root crops hereabout. (

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