MANILA -- Healthy bread should be the norm and Cusinex Baked offers breads free from dough additives and preservatives to give you “healthy bread.”
Known as a wholesale distributor of baking ingredients, the Cusinex Baked business organically developed when its COO and head baker, Miko Peña, who had a diabetic mother, realized that there were not many bread options available for diabetics in Manila.
To many, bread equals carbs, so a lot of diabetics tend to avoid it. Commercial breads also have additives like food coloring and mold inhibitors to prolong shelf life, which are also unhealthy.
“Technically, bread should be healthy on its own and ironically, it’s the modern take on bread, which, although has its benefits of a more efficient and faster production [that] has led to unhealthy bread," Peña said.
"People are used to using dough improvers, food coloring, preservatives, artificial flavorings, mold inhibitors and even special types of fat that make the bread more resilient to deformation and drying out as well as increasing the sugar content in the dough. All of these are meant to make bread production faster and more efficient, but it takes away flavors and different textures in the bread and makes it unhealthy,” he added.
Whole grain bread with high-fiber ingredients was the answer to Pena’s search. He started creating breads using olive oil, whole flour, and rye flour — ingredients which have properties beneficial to diabetics. There was also a conscious effort to make bread the traditional way.
“We don’t necessarily make bread healthier. We use classic techniques of using sourdough which gives the bread the textures and flavors that we look for since it has more flavor, the better crumb texture, we are able to reduce the sugar by and fat significantly,” explained Peña.
Cusinex Baked started selling their bread in their neighborhood Viber group, but quickly gained a following through word-of-mouth.
"We don't scrimp on ingredients and use only the best and the freshest," Peña said.
Cusinex Baked currently has two lines: the Healthy Artisan and the Pinoy Classic.
As the name implies, the Healthy Artisan line emphasizes preservative-free bread, and breads that simply use the most basics of bread ingredients — sugar, salt, and (healthy) fats. This includes bread like their bestselling focaccia, which are thick but not dense breads generously flavored with herbs and classic toppings like olives; their diabetic-friendly walnut and rye bread; and turmeric rolls that uses the anti-inflammatory spice.
"The focaccia bread instantly became popular with friends. It is tasty and flavorful but low in sugar (80% lower) and salt and uses EVOO as a source of fat," said Peña.
The Pinoy Classic, meanwhile, has breads that cater to the Pinoy taste. Their products like pan de sal, generously filled ube twist, raisin bread, and coffee buns, all use premium ingredients like real butter, ube, and raisins.
“We have a general bake day on Saturdays and there is no minimum order. Just place your order on Friday and we will have the bread delivered to you on Saturday. But for other special orders we can fire up the ovens for a minimum order of P3,000 worth with at least a few days lead time,” said Peña.
With their current ability to scale, Cusinex Baked is looking at expanding their current product line with desserts. There’s also the wholesale aspect of servicing the bread needs of restaurants and cafes.
"As stores are opening back up, there is a wave of new cafes and small restaurants that are potential clients. We are looking for ways to tap into them," said Peña.
Cusinex Baked breads can be ordered for pick-up in BF Homes, Paranaque. You can also message their Facebook page for more details.