Pandesal goes high-tech with high lysine corn flour

CALAUAN – The favorite breakfast pandesal has gone high-value. Everyday, more than 1,200 pieces of pandesal and assorted bread enriched with high lysine Quality Protein Maize (QPM) are baked and marketed by BoscEnterprises. Behind the "Boscbread" enterprise are the Salesians of Don Bosco who sell the pandesal at P1 or P2 apiece and Spanish bread or pandecoco at P3 to P5 each.

They are sold out just within the Don Bosco Habitat Center at Southville 7, Calauan, Laguna, a relocation site for Typhoon Ondoy victims and former slum dwellers. The Salesians gives out 400 pieces of QPM-enriched bread for free to indigent children in a daily feeding program. Locals peddle another 800 pieces of BoscBread. "When we first came in the relocation site, children here could not even smile," said Don Bosco Father Salvador Pablo. "Just after one month of feeding, they have gained as much 1 kilogram." The nutrition program is held once daily, except Mondays and Tuesdays.

 Three pieces of a 20-gram Boscbread supplies 25 percent of a two-year old child’s daily nutritional requirement out of the required 44-64 milligrams per one kilogram weight. "When it was just starting, buyers said that our pandesal had some roughness in texture," said Dodong Tayactac, the Boscbread master baker. "With more finely-milled flour now, the quality got better." While the ordinary pandesal shrinks when pressed, Boscbread retains its fullness, he said, adding local residents now crave for it. In six years of baking, it was the first time that Tayactac used corn flour which he found to be just like wheat flour.

 Tayactac said the corn flour mix has gone up to higher than the starting 20 percent of the dough part. For other bread types (Spanish, pineapple, or pandecoco bread) which are also used for nutrition feeding, corn flour takes up about a third while the filling (pineapple or coconut) also has corn flour.

 He believes corn flour can be used 100 percent in other breads; fine-textured cakes can take in about 10 percent. The Philippines can save P5 billion annually if wheat flour is replaced by just 20 percent, said Dr. Artemio M. Salazar, Deputy Director of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB)-University of the Philippines Los Banos that developed the low glycemic index white corn. Each day, to market test the product before it is offered to the private sector, the IPB supplies 20 kilos of QPM corn flour to the Salesian fathers. BoscEnterprises hopes to up production since it only caters to 2,000 families, only 5 percent 100,000 people in the relocation site; the target is 10 percent. In partnership with equipment owner Pan de Pinoy, it has already generated gross sales of P126,750 and paid commissions of P18,103 to peddlers since it started baking QPM corn flour in April 15.

To expand, BoscEnterprises is seeking a P800,000 loan grant. It needs a permanent site and bigger production capacity to train bakers and reach other relocation sites. "Peddling is more of a social focus rather than a business as we work to get more residents their daily income," said BoscBread Project Manager Danny Barlicos. Source: