Chef Kris Edison Tan is the owner and head baker of Masa Madre. He attributes his mastery of his craft to to the Lyceum of the Philippines and his professor, the late chef Danilo Basilio.
He recounted how he was Chef Dan’s personal assistant in his classes and Chef Dan was like a father to him.
While a formidable mentor matters, it is Kris’ innate gift and talent that make him one of the most formidable in the field. Kris specializes in laminated breads made by folding butter in between layers of dough, creating hundreds of layers of thin flaky pastry. Croissants, kouign-amann, pain au chocolat are laminated breads.
Masa Madre’s kouign-amann was the first of Kris’ breads I fell in love with. His rendition of the Breton butter cake crackles with sugar on the outside, yet on the inside, is soft with a delightful kind of chewiness. It is also ultrabuttery. The coffee version is also very good.
The kouign-amann was such a pleasant mouthful that searching for its baker became the next thing on my to-do list. Just thinking of his other creations made my mouth water.
I learned that apart from chef Dan, Kris’ pastry skills were honed by chefs Peter Yuen and Tomohiro Nogami.
Kris launched his career by joining competitions such as the Philippine Culinary Cup and the Mondial Du Pain in Nantes, France. He was recently featured in the prestigious Pastry Arts Magazine in the United States, only the second Filipino showcased by the magazine and the youngest baker ever featured, at 27.
After sampling his creations, I profess to the world that there is not one bread that Kris makes that’s just OK. Every single bread touched by his hands is not just delicious but worth every calorie.
His breads are “soulful.” It is through bread that his person is best expressed.
Kris is not just a baker but an artist. His menu is fresh, innovative, playful.
What to try
These are my recommendations:
Who would have thought that aligue would have a place in a croissant? Well, it does! Think of flavorful bites of aligue cream cheese, pickled chili and a garlicky salted egg sauce on a smoky brûléed croissant. The taste of crab fat is evident. Kris doesn’t skimp on the aligue.
The BananaRhuma is his tribute to the turon—brûléed croissant filled with caramelized bananas, candied langka, and finished with toasty bits of latik on top.
Their Bibingka Croissant is stuffed with creamy scorched coconut filling. It is sprinkled with salted egg and a generous topping of cheese.
I equally love the Ube Puff that’s so generously stuffed with haleya that oozes out with every bite.
The Pork Floss Croissant is the most decadent I’ve tried. Lots of floss, made tastier by their signature butter croissant.
For the chocolate lover, the Rocher is a must. A thick coating of melted chocolate and hazelnuts enrobes the whole croissant.
Kris even transformed the beloved carbonara and bolognese to Bolognese kouign-amman and carbonara kouign-amman.
The best way to enjoy his creations is to buy an assortment.
Kris has every right to be proud of Masa Madre. He called it such because the Italian words masa madre translate to mother dough/sourdough. The chef intimated that his breads consist of masa madre because he wants to keep customers healthy. The sourdough in bread makes it more digestible. He also only uses French butter.
Kris added, “We respect the method of making breads and we don’t use substandard ingredients and we don’t put any preservatives.”
Kris now trains budding chefs and encourages them to join different competitions locally and internationally. His ultimate dream is to open a boulangerie academy in the Philippines and to showcase Pinoy talent to the world. (Tel. 0917-9790336; follow @masamadrebakehouse on Instagram)
Chef Kris Tan’s Brioche
1 kg bread flour
350 ml milk
300 g eggs
17 g salt
40 g milk powder
240 g sugar
20 g yeast
320 g butter
20 g shortening
Freeze all the ingredients before mixing. Let liquid ingredients reach a minimum temperature of 5 degrees Celsius. Make sure the liquid and dry ingredients are cold, except for the salt and yeast.
Make sure that the dough is fully developed, mixing for about 10 minutes. Add the cold butter. Mix at low speed. Make sure that the butter is fully incorporated.
Rest the dough for 30 minutes before cutting. Rest another 15 minutes before shaping into desired shape.
Proof for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Bake at 170 degrees C in a convection oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
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