When I was a kid, my favorite bread was called “potpot.”
We used to live on Hemady Street in Quezon City where this man would pass by on his bike in the afternoon, with two giant tin drums on either side, filled with all kinds of bread.
Potpot was a sweet part of my childhood. It was five centavos a piece and I haven’t been able to find it since.
Long gone are the bike-riding bread vendors, but quaint little bread shops can still be found in local neighborhoods. Now you can buy all kinds of bread in chains around the mall.
What makes Panaderya Toyo special for me is, first of all, how it looks.
I was drawn to its interiors, imagined and created by Architect Arts Serrano.
Because it was conceptualized by the same people behind Toyo Eatery, which I love, you know this isn’t your typical bakery.
For one, Panaderya Toyo has its bread on display in the middle of the store and in limited quantities, instead of heaps.
It has tables and chairs for those who would like to have their bread with coffee. They have fillings or palaman if you want something extra. Your sourdough could be topped with scrambled eggs and eggplant, and when you bite into it, there are unexpected flavors and textures, such as crispy dulong (silver fish) and shallots.
The breads, made by Panaderya Toyo head baker Richie Manapat, aren’t your usual, too.
Most of the breads are sourdough, except for the bicho-bicho, or the twisted Filipino version of doughnuts.
The breads, which include pan de sal, pan casero, baguette and buttermilk loaf, are all crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The recipes use real butter instead of just margarine or oil.
Richie is very passionate about breads and baking.
“The style of bread making in the Philippines is very Americanized. Lots of white bread. People are afraid to make breads this dark and crusty,” said Richie, who studied culinary arts but is a self-taught baker.
Panaderya Toyo breads, said Richie, are rustic. He compared it to breads baked in European villages in the old days.
“We don’t use additives or preservatives. The bread is wholesome. We use bleach-free flour. You don’t want to eat bleach.”
Toyo Eatery executive chef Jordy Navarra met Richie when the latter had dinner with Margarita Fores at the restaurant. Since then, Richie has helped bake Toyo Eatery’s breads, including their famous Tocino Bread.
“We’ve been doing our Tocino Bread for a long time but Richie helped professionalize our bread program,” said Jordy.
For me, what makes Panaderya Toyo a must-visit is its visual appeal, with interiors fashioned out of mango tree wood and walls in plain-gray cement.
The bakery is divided into sections. There is the open bread-making area with the equipment. Then, there’s the bread display which reminds me of the glass box in church, where they keep the Black Nazarene (but that’s just me). Then, there are the tables and a long counter which chairs—the best area for me, if you are alone.
Panaderya Toyo is at The Alley, Karrivin, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
Open Tuesday to Saturday from from 11 AM to 6:30 PM
To know more, follow them on Instragram @panaderyatoyo