By Kathy Chouteau
Dan Gildor, owner and head baker at Marina Bay Bakery, is a man with a mission.
In the case of the Richmond baker, who operates out of his home in—you guessed it—the city’s Marina Bay neighborhood, his guiding business principle is to not use any white flour or commercial yeast in his products. Considering that his main product is artisanal breads, it’s a noble goal.
Gildor, an East Coast transplant who was born in Israel, started Marina Bay Bakery in 2018 after his career as a lawyer came to a crossroads.
“Throughout my life I had always enjoyed baking bread. And I just got to a chapter in my career where I didn’t really see a future moving forward with it,” he said. After consulting with others on how they started their businesses, he decided to make a change and pursue his passion for baking bread.
“We make whole wheat, artisanal sourdough breads, as well as gluten-free sourdough breads,” Gildor said of Marina Bay Bakery’s products. “On the side we make some pastries…gluten-free scones, and will eventually get some bagels and croissants. Everything either fits into the gluten-free world or the whole wheat world.”
Within Richmond, his most popular product is his orange & cranberry scones, which he often sells out of at the Richmond Farmers Market on Fridays. “I don’t think I can make enough,” Gildor joked, adding that his recently-debuted ginger apricot scones also did well at the market.
Also on the horizon product-wise for the bakery is its mission heirloom loaf, which will feature an heirloom Sonora wheat, one of the first wheats ever planted in California. “We’re always looking for the next flavors to provide to our customers,” he said.
Aside from Richmond, Marina Bay Bakery also regularly sells its products at the farmers’ markets in Orinda and Corte Madera as well. Customers can also purchase the bakery’s products via its online store.
According to Gildor, he has received accolades for his gluten-free bread from customers. “One of the things that distinguishes us from other bread purveyors is we provide good quality products to the gluten-free market and all of our breads happen to be vegan also, so we serve the vegan market as well.”
Regarding the whole wheat side of his offerings, he added, “On the whole wheat side, what distinguishes us is that we single-source varieties of wheat and bake them…so while we may not have baguettes, and all these different kinds of breads—and all our breads look the same—internally, they all taste very differently. We’re trying to go back to the way things were 200 years ago before everything got standardized, and the flour you got at the supermarket was indistinguishable from any other type of flour. We’re actually baking breads with individual varieties of wheat and you can taste those varieties of wheat.”
So what are some of Marina Bay Bakery’s future plans? “We’re looking forward to the future and our next steps and trying to find an actual [Richmond] location where we can bake more breads and offer a retail establishment with a café where the community can come and relax and have some coffee or tea, sandwiches and things like that,” said Gildor. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”