Gourmet bread-makers open shop in Jocotepec

Bread is the staff of life, the old proverb says. But not all bread is created equal. Proof of that is the outstanding artisanal products available at a new bakery that was opened last month in Jocotepec by brothers Carlos and Josué Arredondo Campos.

pg8The pair of enterprising siblings gained baking experience from working in a family business since their teenage years. About a year ago they began building a nest egg as they worked up plans for running their own bakery with an eye on producing oven goodies made with high quality, healthful ingredients and top grade equipment.

They found a suitable locale at Calle Juárez 29-A, conveniently located in the center of Jocotepec, a half block east of Hidalgo and just two blocks away from the town plaza. The combo bakery and coffee shop is now open for business daily, 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The first thing that strikes customers as they step inside is a gloriously enticing aroma wafting from the kitchen. The next impression is the wide assortment of fresh baked items displayed in attractive straw baskets shelved near the entrance.

Many of the products are modern upgrades of traditional Mexican sweet and savory rolls: tasty sourdough bolillos, foot-long baguettes, king-size telera sandwich buns, and lightly sweetened conchas deliciously flavored with almonds, pecans, cranberry raisins or cocoa and enhanced by a buttery topping. Whole loaves of standard breads are available in multi-grain, sundried tomato and basil, mixed nuts and fruits, and other varieties.

The bakers also turn out excellent croissants and rolls filled with chocolate or pastry cream fashioned from the same dough. A display of mouth-watering pies and cookies is kept in a refrigerated glass case.    

On the side, the Arredondo brothers offer clients fresh brewed coffee, assorted teas made with loose leaves, and a menu of sandwiches and panini for carry-out or sit-down service.

Of special note is the engaging demeanor of the pair of young bakers, who clearly enjoy their trade and take pride in their excellent merchandise. They greet customers with broad smiles, ever-cheerful despite the stress of long working hours.

They begin preparing sourdough before closing shop in the evening to allow for eight hours of fermentation required with use of a natural starter and low ratio of yeast to flour. They get back to work at 4.30 a.m. to fire up the oven in an immaculate kitchen and start baking. And in free moments they mull over a definitive name for the business, provisionally identified by a banner above the entrance that simply reads Pan Artesanal, a modest description of the temptations created inside.