A Slice of Life: the Bread of Manna Sourdough
Good bread is hard to come by. Fortunately, there are a handful of small enterprises that have devoted their time to becoming artisans of the oven. Manna Sourdough is one of these.
Anyone with a passion for the grain will admit that good bread is hard to come by. The flimsy, overly processed supermarket slice has a lot to answer for when it comes to what bread should be. Fortunately, there are a handful of small enterprises that have devoted their time (and often successful careers in corporate) to becoming artisans of the oven. Manna Sourdough is one of these.
Single-handedly headed by Marinus Kruger, this small start-up came about during a chance trip to Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2018. Having spent time working under the guidance of René van der Veer of the De Veldkeuken restaurant, where a bakery devoted to sourdough was set up, Marinus was able to build on his previous experience of making bread. As he himself is sensitive to gluten, sourdough had always been the natural choice of bread and so Manna Sourdough was born.
Now operating from a microbakery built on to his spacious seaside home, Marinus balances Manna with a job in hardware and spending time with his beautiful family.
Situated in the West Coast fishing town of Saldanha Bay, Manna’s unique location is evident in the bread produced by Marinus. Locally sourced ingredients are combined with stoneground flour from the Swartland and hand-harvested salt from Velddrif to provide the perfect prove and since Marinus only bakes once a week, he has the freedom to change up varietals to incorporate seasonal flavours. Having swiftly built up a strong following via Manna’s social media and through the sale of his breads at various eateries and farmer’s markets, Marinus’ famed seaweed or carrot and cumin sourdough has become somewhat of an institution, with loaves usually selling out before they’ve seen the inside of an oven.
A trained Cordon Bleu chef, Marinus specialises in sourdough, but the occasional seeded loaf, rye or 'Weskus Wit' makes an appearance. As does interesting flavour combinations – like Manna’s cashew and dried fig bread or the Paternoster Pilsner loaf. Love, passion and strictly no preservatives or commercial yeast set Marinus’ breads apart from the rest – a detail evident in both in taste and traction.
Manna Sourdough is currently sold at Cup of Cake in Saldanha Bay, Hyssop Health Shop in Langebaan and Café Graze in Vredenburg as well as at the seasonal Groote Post country markets. Bread can also be bought to order through Manna’s new online shop and fans are encouraged to follow Marinus’ progress and comment on his creations via social media.