There was a time when, if you wanted freshly baked breads, you had to go to the bakery and buy. If you wanted fancier breads or pastries, the nearest bakeshop or French bakery were your best bets.
Now, after the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) pandemic threw the entire country — and the world! — into forms of lockdown, things have drastically changed. If you want bread now, all you have to do is message the bakery and your order will be delivered straight to your doorstep — sometimes for free, sometimes for a minimal delivery fee.
Midnight Bakers is one such online bakery. It has no physical store, only a kitchen commissary and delivers almost 50 different varieties of breads all over Metro Manila and its suburbs. They arrange pickup or delivery (mostly delivery), charging a delivery fee depending on distance. It is now working on a tie-up with a motorcycle delivery company to ensure that customers get their breads freshly baked and hot.
Initially, Midnight Bakers thought of going the usual path of opening a bakery and selling its breads and pastries through the store, eyeing Chinatown in downtown Manila, Greenhills, The Fort, Quezon City and Makati as possible locations. But then the lockdown suddenly happened, and so they had no choice but to operate as a cloud kitchen, focusing on online orders and delivering freshly baked breads every day to fulfill those commitments.
Long toying with the idea that cloud kitchens were the future of the baking industry, the brains behind Midnight Bakers were no longer surprised that business boomed with the online setup. It was a win-win situation for both the bakery and the customers. For the bakery, they did not have to pay rent for commercial space and there was no wastage since they only baked upon order. For customers, they enjoyed the convenience of having their breads delivered right to their doorstep and the wide selection of breads and pastries ensures that there is something for everyone no matter what their taste buds and cravings dictate.
Reasonably priced for the quality of ingredients used and the amount of care that goes into every loaf or cluster of breads, Midnight Bakers’ product line includes staples such as pandesal (P80 for 10 pieces), egg monay (P16 per piece), doughnut (P26 each), Spanish bread (P24 each), soft roll (P18 each), French bread (P50 each) and plain loaf (P100 per loaf).
They also include classic and familiar items given a contemporary twist, like egg pie and ube-egg pie (the ube version has got pure ube halaya incorporated into the filling), Coconut Burst with macapuno strips (often mistaken for pan de coco, it boasts of fresh coconut and macapuno stuffing), cheese roll (using a denser dough instead of the usual light and fluffy bread), cheese ensaymada and ube ensaymada (more like the big gourmet ones generously topped with cheese), HK asado and bola-bola siopao (with a firm and dense steamed dough), and cinnamon rolls (in clusters of 12, offered with glaze, with cream, or with cream and pecans).
Keeping up with the times, Midnight Bakers offers its own version of the popular ube cheese pandesal — stuffed with cheese and ube halaya — and takes it to gourmet level with an original creation called Nautilus (bread shaped like the nautilus shell and stuffed with not just ube and cheese but macapuno as well).
Savory breads include bola-bola bun and asado bun (which are the baked versions of siopao, but with bola-bola bun in regular size and sold per piece and asado bun in clusters of 16 minis), chicken pie (filled with chicken and mushrooms), snow bun (with sweet pork filling and a special white cream covering the bun), tuna bun, chili-beef bun, chicken floss bread and pork floss bread (with spicy versions of both), ham and bacon twist, jumbo hotdog roll, sausage bun, ham and cheese bun and hotdog pizza.
Speaking of pizza, while the hotdog pizza is basically bread stuffed with hotdog and cut up to look like a flower cluster, Midnight Bakers offers real pizzas for pizza lovers and they come in two flavors — margherita pizza (four kinds of cheeses — mozzarella, cheddar, feta and parmesan — with slices of fresh tomatoes on top) and all-meat pizza (stuffed with slices of Hungarian sausage, sweet ham and smoked bacon). Both must-tries!
Then there is the raisin roll to try, too. Inspired by the famous raisin bread of Baguio, it is 14 inches long and studded with raisins inside.
As for loaves, take your pick among plain loaf, Hokkaido cream loaf, wheat loaf and Russian black bread (a type of coffee bread best enjoyed with butter or jelly) or the more indulgent raisin loaf, ube loaf or bacon ham and cheese loaf. You must not forget the braided challah bread, which is made using olive oil. Healthy, flavorful and the texture is simply beautiful.
There are more items on the menu, which you can find by visiting Midnight Bakers’ Facebook and Instagram pages. Orders can be made by calling or sending a text message to 0918-9628158. Since the breads and pastries are baked fresh to order, make sure you order a few days in advance. Payment options are online transactions through BDO and cash on delivery.
If you’re asking for personal recommendations, since I have tried most of the items on the menu, my favorites are chicken pie, Nautilus, chicken floss bread, ube loaf, Hokkaido creamy loaf, margherita pizza, wheat loaf, ube-egg pie and braided challah bread.