The Evolution of Pandesal

Pandesal was the first bread ever baked in the Philippines! Well, sort of.

Before the Spanish came over, we didn’t eat bread at all, because most bread is made with wheat, which doesn’t grow well in tropical climes. But the Spanish introduced bread-making to us (probably because they’d never before eaten so much rice in their lives), starting with pan de suelo.

Pan de suelo means ‘floor bread’, because it was baked on the floor (instead of in a pan or dish) of a pugon, a wood-fired oven that originally also sat on the floor. But since wheat had to be imported, bakers started mixing their bread flour with tercera (so-called third-class flour, but really just soft wheat flour, normally used for pastry).

This made softer, doughier (yummier) bread, with a distinct salty-sweet taste – different  enough from the harder, crustier pan de suelo that it soon earned its own name. Pandesal means ‘salt bread’, a reference to the pinch of salt used in baking it, giving it that balanced flavor that makes it perfect with everything from peanut butter to Spam.

Today, pandesal is still evolving, going beyond now-classic panaderia options like pan de coco to more contemporary takes, such as whole-wheat and carrot-infused versions. It is now used in anything from bread pudding to pizza to eggs benedict. And where the Spanish dipped it in chocolate, we dunk it in Baraco coffee.

At PandeJoe, we’ve turned it into bite-sized sliders which we’ve packaged by the dozen that you can grab and go. We’ve also upsized it to a burger bun which we use for our sandwiches. You could also buy these in packs of six! We will continue to evolve the pandesal and you will certainly get to taste our new takes on it in our store.

So grab a PandeJoe Pandesal for your cup of joe – or any innovation you imagine!