Local bakery Manu Mano makes sourdough pandesal, Auro salted tablea brownies
MANILA, Philippines – Ready to get that bread? Manu Mano's got some, and they're local, artisanal, and freshly-baked every day.
Born in August 2019 (a business still as fresh as their buns!), Manu Mano's humble, lil' bread stand is located along Banawe, corner Scout Alcaraz, much to The North's joy.
On display in their glass bread box every day are their 3 main offerings – hybrid pandesal (P10), banawe base loaf (P275), and hybrid baguette (P90) – each made with a sourdough starter and unbleached flour.
We love our butter, sure, but we love our bread even more, especially if it's handmade. Manu Mano, which in Filipino means to "haphazardly make by hand," means exactly that. They wanted to reclaim this practice by making everything from scratch, sans any machines.
"When you do something by hand and not commercially, that doesn’t mean it's not modern or not of quality. It’s just slower, sure, but it takes skill. It's 'artisanal' not just because of its ingredients; you have to know what you're doing," one of Manu Mano's founders, Sam Gonzalez, said.
So, what's so special about this "hybrid" pandesal anyway?
Manu Mano's take on the Filipino classic is made from sourdough, which isn't the norm. The "hybrid technique" uses sourdough, a leaven for bread that's made with fermenting dough, which gives the bread a more savory, tangy flavor, compared to the sweet, light taste of typical pandesal.
The fresh yeast used also gives the pandesal a chewier texture, with more bite. It wasn't dense at all.
Personally, as a savory savant more than a sweet tooth, this pandesal is pande-sarap! Not only is it filling, but its savory taste profile makes this pandesal an even better partner to sweet palaman, jams, and cheese-based spreads. I like my bread with a bit more texture as well, rather than just soft, airy fluff, so this was definitely my jam.
Award-winning local Auro Chocolate is also in the picture, teaming up with Manu Mano for their spreads and pastries. Available for purchase is Auro's White Chocolate Cashew Spread (P300), a chunky-smooth spread that tastes like a lighter, less sweet, peanut butter, with a tad of chocolate – which goes well with your Manu Mano pandesal.
There's also a dessert option for the chocoholic sweet tooths: Manu Mano's Salted Tablea Brownies, made with 100% tablea from Auro. If you like your brownies cakey, crumbly, and rich in dark chocolate flavor with a dash of salt – go for it.
You know what's better? Having one brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, ala mode style – just watch out for your blood sugar levels!
The brownies are sold in a Box of 6 (P200) or a Box of 12 (P350).
When it comes to their sourdough bread, Manu Mano doesn't loaf around (pun intended). Their Banawe Base loaf (P275) is 700 grams of pure sourdough, crunchy and perfectly-baked on the outside.
The homemade love is real: Manu Mano makes the bread 8 hours before opening in a kitchen only a few blocks away. The authentic taste of sourdough is something they're proud of, as they don't use bleached flour. Although cheaper and easier to find, bleached flour uses agents that speed up the aging process of flour to just two days, while unbleached flour takes 2 to 3 weeks.
However, this allows the bread to develop its own flavor naturally, as compared to bleached flour, which usually requires flavor enhancements and preservatives.
For appetitzer trays or merienda parties, why not get Manu Mano's Hybrid Baguette (P90)?
Also made from a sourdough starter, this long, thin loaf of French bread is crisp to the bite, yet chewy upon first chomp. Perfect with veggie dips, chunky spreads, fruity marmalade, or just good ol' butter.
The bakery is owned by 5 partners, one of them being Chef Alexa Verzosa, head pastry chef of Metronome; and Chef Richie Manapat, the resident "bread guy" who used to work for fellow artisanal bakery Panaderya Toyo.
"The high quality of bread is here in this country already, but it only existed in places around BGC and Makati," Sam said.
"For me, as a citizen of Quezon City, if I wanted to spread the message of good bread, I knew we had to bring the prices down," she added.
Coming up on Manu Mano's menu are their new Revel Bars and Churros na May Tsokolate o May Cinnamon (P65), both made with Auro.
Customers can buy in-store or get in touch with Manu Mano to reserve their items, and have a Grab or Lalamove express deliver it for them. Manu Mano will be on Foodpanda and Zomato soon.
Use this GrabFood promo for discounts on local and artisanal bread.