ConcepciÃ³n Flores has seen bread made since childhood.
His father, Dimas Camarillo, was a baker in TehuacÃ¡n, Mexico. And like most bakers in Mexico, he started his workday so early in the morning that some might consider the start of his day to be late at night. The goal: Prepare fresh and hot bread for customers from 6 a.m.
Although her two-location business, PanaderÃa Flores, is not located in Mexico, but in the western part of Salt Lake City and does not offer hot bread for early risers, Flores and her team work hard to provide a authentic experience that looks like the real deal found. in the Mexican streets. The displays around the Rose Park boutique present around fifty kinds of breads, pastries and cakes.
The aroma of vanilla, sugar and toasted crust of their bolillos – a tasty and chewy Mexican bread – permeates the space. In a typical after-work rush, every word is in Spanish and the door keeps opening and closing as more regulars are given paper bags full of fresh baked goods.
âA lot of people in Mexico eat bread that is hot in the morning and hot and fresh in the afternoon,â she said. “They will not eat the morning bread in the afternoon.”
Besides bolillos, conchas – a sweet bread topped with shell-shaped cookies – are popular vendors at the bakery.
Some Utahns, mostly of Hispanic origin, imitate this tradition and visit the PanaderÃa Flores on a daily basis. At home, they dip the bread in hot chocolate or coffee, or fill it with beans, meat or vegetables.
Flores rarely takes a day off and spends most of her time, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., baking and serving bread.
The bakery was already an integral part of her life when she met her husband, Santiago, who is also a son of Mexican bakers. When the couple moved to Utah, opening a bakery was a natural fit.
âWe have it in our roots,â she said.
âWe Mexicans cannot live without bread and coffee,â said Silvina MartÃnez, a client. “I have bolillos in the morning or save them to make tortas – a Mexican sandwich.”
Originally from Mexico City, MartÃnez discovered the bakery over 10 years ago and makes sure to visit it at least once a week.
âThe bread is very tasty and soft and made every day,â she said. “It tastes like that of Mexico.”
A business like this bakery is not only a meeting point for immigrants looking for a taste of home, but it also allows their children to connect with their culture.
Angelica Malmaceda, a second-generation American born in Utah, patiently lined up at the bakery for bolillos.
âMy whole family loves it,â she said. âWe eat them all the time, with beans or chorizo.
Mexico’s love for bread dates back to the mid-1500s, when a viceroy dipped bread into hot chocolate in front of crowds of people, the gourmet website Eater reports. Then, in the 17th century, French immigrants opened bakeries, popularizing âFrench breadâ across the country. This bread, which looks like a short baguette, has reached tortilla levels of popularity.
Some parts of Mexico and other Latin American countries know bolillo as French bread, Spanish bread or water bread.
Rose Park Bakery makes around 600 bolillos per day. It’s the kind of piece that draws most customers from various countries, including Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala, Flores said.
âWe have customers who come exclusively for the bolillo,â she said. “They often come from far away places like Idaho, Wyoming or Tooele.”
Since opening their first bakery at 904 S. 900 West in 2003, the Flores have developed their own way of baking Mexican bread and adapting to the Utah market. In 2005, they expanded to a second larger location at 1625 W. 700 North in Rose Park.
Despite Mexican traditions, they let their bread cool before selling it.
âMy family and I like to eat bread when it’s already chilled,â she said. âThe real flavors are then accentuated. “
Like any business visited by diverse communities in search of authenticity, they are sometimes the subject of criticism. But Flores is not yet expecting to make any substantial changes to her recipe.
âA few people say we should bake bread like people do in their countries or in their cities,â she said, âbut then that wouldn’t be our style anymore.â
Alixel Cabrera is a Report for America body member and writes on the status of communities on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley for the Salt Lake Tribune. Your matching donation to our RFA grant helps her continue to write stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation of any amount today by clicking here.