I have written about Osang’s in Baclayon before, previous post here. Several more posts on this blog have featured their broas, which I consider to be the best that I have ever tasted. But of course, you might say I am biased since I first tasted these delicious broas over four decades ago! Over the last 40 years, I have probably eaten THOUSANDS of Osang’s broas! And as far as I can tell from this recent trip, besides the addition of an electric mixer, they are made and baked in exactly the same way they were baked 40 years ago. And while I can wax poetic about the broas, I haven’t really eaten many of Osang’s other offerings, the extensive line-up which includes pastel (photo above) and some plain cookies. Yup, that’s about it, a focused product line of less than half a dozen!
Osang’s is a home based business that is located behind or on the side of the Baclayon church in Bohol. I think they have been in the same spot for the last 40 years, though they may have moved once in that period. They used to hand mix all of their batters, the slow mixing motion a key to the consistency of their baked goods… but today they have a commercial looking mixer that they use on (and this is one of their secrets) very small batches of dough, using a maximum of only 6 eggs at a time! They can make up to 30 batches or so of dough on a given morning and only bake up until lunchtime, after which the goods are wrapped then picked up by those who previously placed orders. They don’t cook that much if there are no big orders, so visiting them unannounced can lead to a huge disappointment if they have nothing to sell you.
You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see a house nearly buried out front with old pieces of hardwoods which are used to stoke their wood fired oven. No gas here. No electricity. No charcoal even… just slowly burning old pieces of tree trunks that they buy from folks who gather them all over the island of bohol! Yikes! One part of me was screaming, “no, don’t burn these” but another part of me was thinking… “now this is really truly a gem of an artisanal, old-fashioned baker.”
Their famous broas are packed by the 100’s in paper bags, followed by thin plastic (they used to be in cans, and we even used to bring our own large cans for them to fill up) and stored 60 packs at a time in these tin trunks. The day we arrived unnanounced, they had about a dozen packages left and we bought all of them. I hadn’t tasted their pastel, a pastry filled with yema or custard and it was wonderful as well. Not too sweet, yet just enough custard for the dough and so I asked if I could buy some. They were finishing off a large order and claimed they might not have too many extras… but being nicely persistent, not to mention letting them know that our family had been enamored customers since nineteen kopong-kopong, yielded 100 pieces of the freshly baked pastel! Also scooped up the last 3 packages of plain cookies (a little too plain for me)…
I was extremely happy to score the pastries, but the real reason I wanted to drop by was to get a closer look at their baking set-up, which is coming up in the next post. Meanwhile, here is a look at their wonderfully simple way of recording customer orders… a blackboard with chalk! Forget computers. And don’t talk to them about taking them national and/or arranging a public offering of their shares. They do what they do the old-fashioned way… and it is going to stay that way for as long as possible. I absolutely love Osang’s.