A new bakery called ‘Pão Gigante’ (Giant Bread) has opened in Loulé, specialising in a large loaf of bread which is “delicious, long-lasting, healthier than most and easy on the stomach”.
The business was launched in March by Manuel Gigante, a 27-year-old from Lisbon who was studying management at the University of the Algarve before deciding to move forward with the project.
He invested €80,000 in the idea and chose Loulé to set up his bakery as it is a “dynamic town with a lot of different and interesting projects appearing almost every day” and which welcomes scores of holidaymakers.
But why would someone studying management decide to open a bakery? Manuel comes from a family of bakers, which gave him the extra knowledge he needed to get the project going, but his main motive was his pursuit for quality bread.
“Throughout the years, the quality of bread has decreased a lot. Most bread is made in a short number of hours, meaning it is an almost instantaneous product which is often filled with chemicals,” Manuel told Barlavento newspaper.
In the Algarve, he says he has become one of the first to make naturally-leavened bread, ensuring it remains fresh for longer.
While the name of the bakery may suggest that the bread is especially large and that size is more important than flavour, that is not the case at all. A lot of care goes into making sure that only quality ingredients are used and that the bread is baked to perfection.
Manuel and his team of three bakers use a wood oven – the only of its kind in Portugal – with a rotating platform which makes it easy for them to get the bread in and out.
There are four varieties to choose from – wheat, mixed grains, seeds and spelt – all of which are made just with water, flour and Ria Formosa salt.
“The flour is ground on stone, an artisanal process which is slower and helps preserve the nutrients,” he explained. Baking the bread takes over 24 hours and the process is not rushed to ensure that the bread does not cause digestive problems.
“Our bread has a much richer flavour, light dough, a thin and crispy crust and unmatched durability. I usually say that my bread only ends up in the toaster at the fourth or fifth day,” he said.
The bakery is located on Rua Condestável Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira and is not yet open to the public, although Manuel won’t say no if someone asks to buy a loaf, which costs between €3.50 and €4.50.
His clients include “people who already know about my concept, such as health food stores, and supermarkets and restaurants whose customers include foreigners who are often already familiar with this process of bread-making, well-known and appreciated in Europe”.
Original article written by Sara Alves for Barlavento newspaper.
Photos: SARA ALVES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP