Why this ‘panaderya’ is different—from sourdough to ‘pan de sal’
Richard Manapat was ready to leave the country and accept job offers in London or Australia. With hardly any market for good and proper sourdough bread in Manila, he was willing to move, with partner Myka and daughter Brie, to a place where he could indulge his flair for bread-making.
That was in 2016. Some time in 2017, this writer gathered chef friends at Toyo Eatery for dinner and catchup. Among them was Manapat, fresh from internship in Australia. That night he met Toyo’s chef, Jordy Navarra, for the first time.
“I saw that they had a bread proofing basket for sourdough. But they didn’t serve any sourdough at dinner, so I asked the chef why,” Manapat recalled.
Apparently, the resto had been having trouble with the starter since it moved from BGC.
Manapat offered to lend his expertise. “I started playing around with the recipe and getting used to their working environment. In time, we were happy with the sourdough and Jordy started serving it,” he said.
Manapat saw this as a glimmer of hope. His kind of bread was finally being appreciated. It prompted him to roll out a bread program in the restaurant.
Now people are loving his breads, with some customers dropping by Toyo to buy whole loaves. Navarra got the idea to put up a bread shop: “We thought that maybe it was a nice concept to explore. We wanted to see what we could do with good bread. But we wouldn’t run it if Richie (Manapat) wasn’t on board.”
Not long after, the two closed a deal, and Toyo Panaderya took shape. “It was a space to make bread,” said Navarra.
“It’s also to supply bread to the restaurant. I told Richie not to think about making money first. Just make the kind of bread he would be happy with.”
Manapat believes in the most natural way of making bread. Everything has to be naturally leavened and unbleached—definitely no chemicals and nothing produced with commercial yeast.
He wanted it to be heavily European in influence, with sourdough as base and dusted with ground local brown rice for greater texture and a distinct aroma.
To achieve this, the partners had to fly in an oven from Italy. The flour is good quality French for now and will be 100 percent certified organic Australian in a month.
Manapat trained beginners with no bread-making background, but who had the passion for it: ex-sound engineer Paolo Achacoso, former bank employee Ria Siccio, and Gab de la Rosa and Chai Avila, who were used to working in the hot kitchen.
Toyo’s breads are not what a lot of people are used to.
The pan de sal is the size of a clenched fist, with a subtly sour aftertaste. The baguette is more Spanish in style, with brownish body and not the French white. The Pan Mayaman (a play on Manapat’s first name) is Nordic-inspired rye bread.
Whatever bread isn’t sold for the day gets served at Toyo, while the rest are turned into breadcrumbs for pan de sal.
There are many bakeries in Manila, but Toyo Panaderya is different. It’s not competing with the best of them, but offering an alternative—a better one. —CONTRIBUTED
Toyo Panaderya is at Karrivin Plaza, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati, and is open
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
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