Have You Heard About This 75-Year-Old Bakery in Kamuning?March 22, 2015
At the height of ‘artisanal’ bakeries churning out carbohydrates more complex than they already are, local Filipino breads have somehow found themselves in limbo, waiting to either be championed by the media or tossed into the fiery furnace of failure.
Among the throng of tiny bakeshops that put local breads under the spotlight is Kamuning Bakery—still standing at a ripe old age of 75, it is heralded as one of the oldest bakeries in Metro Manila and the oldest in Quezon City. Recently acquired by businessman Wilson Lee-Flores, Kamuning Bakery is soon expanding into a coffee shop where both loyal and new customers can enjoy Kamuning Bakery’s offerings and at the same time enjoy a good cup of coffee. Viands, we are told, include a Vigan longganisa pasta and an all-day Filipino breakfast menu. But still, it’s the bread that makes this institution what it was then, and still is, today.
“The focus has always been on quality,” Wilson tells me. “You see all these other panaderias and bakeries using LPG gas ovens and more modern production methods, but we still make our breads preservative-free while using the old-fashioned way, which is by use of a wood-fired brick oven—just like with pizzas.”
In the more popular pizza joints we’re seeing in the metro today—Motorino and Gino’s, specifically—the wood-fired brick oven is their weapon of choice in churning out those slightly burnt, blistered, and smoky-tasting crusts the Filipino palate has grown to love. The same technique, when applied to breads, generates the same incredible effect. A lot has to do with the poofy bubbles that are formed in the dough’s gluten upon contact with heat, but loads more has to do with how the wood affects the bread’s flavor. The effect of the hot air mingling with the dough forms breads that are soft and chewy—hardly ever dry, and with a deep color to boot. If anything, they are delicious breads that I would love to have on my table any time of any day.
Wilson also tells me that what makes Kamuning Bakery the same, reliable go-to bakeshop for generations now, is how they never compromise on their ingredients’ quality. The pineapple pie’s fruit stew comes from fresh produce—never canned. “I used to think that it was only psychological, but you can really taste the difference of using fresh pineapples as compared to the ones that are loaded with syrup and preservatives,” he says.
Kamuning Bakery has a lot of history, but I think loads of people frequent it because of the quality of their breads. Bestsellers include a luciously sticky pan de coco that encases mounds of grated coconut, with a balanced amount of sweetness. A ‘kalihim’ or ‘pan de regla’ has a soft, bouncy texture on the surface, revealing a dense fuschia-colored filling that I found irresistible.
The classic pan de suelo is also a bestseller–it is the local rendition of a baguette, sporting a tough yet crackling exterior and a soft, almost-meaty center. A pack of biscocho is demolished upon minutes of tearing its plastic casing, with fingers scrambling to mop up stray crumbs left on the plate.
“Despite the quality of our goods being higher than most local Filipino bakeries’, we still keep our place low and affordable. Sure, it might be a risk on the business side of things, but I really do not want to compromise our products’ quality.” What I find pretty darn ballsy yet admirable about Kamuning Bakery is that, in the midst of all these Parisian, Japanese, and Korean bakeries trying to make a bigger mark by constantly innovating, Kamuning Bakery is proof that tradition, especially when kept intact and done right, can definitely still stand the test of time…75 years and counting.
Have you been to Kamuning Bakery? Which of its pastries are your favorite? Sound off with a comment below!
Pepper.ph was invited to feature the above establishment. Therefore, the feature includes no rating whatsoever, which can be influenced or biased.
Address: 43 Judge Jimenez Corner K-1st Streets Cor 1ks St., Kamuning