by Jon McDonald, Bread Bakery Manager
American food is Latinx food. Our farms, restaurants, warehouses – all function on the labor of people from Latinx backgrounds.
Weaver Street is no different. In our bakery, your French baguettes, German vollkornbrots, and American soft dinner rolls have always been mixed, shaped, and baked by hands that hail from Mexico, El Salvador, and Ecuador.
In the bread bakery, our co-op owes a great debt to a group of brothers from the Martinez family, a family of multi-generational bread bakers in Oaxaca, Mexico. Of six brothers, four have spent time in the bread department at Weaver Street. Mauricio and Guillermo continue to bake with us, arriving every day at 2 am to bake off fresh loaves for the Weaver Street community, like they have for over 20 years.
Because Weaver Street is a co-op, Mauricio and Guillermo are not just bakers, they are worker-owners too. They not only own financial shares in the co-op, but they also own the high standards we hold ourselves to in the bakery, treating each loaf like a universe to itself.
Last year, Guillermo collaborated with his brother Pablo, a Weaver Street veteran who returned to Mexico a few years ago to operate the family bakery, to develop a concha recipe that represented the specific bread they like to eat in Oaxaca. Their version retains more moisture than a lot of mass-market conchas, and it includes ground anise seed, which contributes a truly unique flavor profile. Now Weaver Street customers enjoy a developing line of Conchas featuring various flavors and festive colors. In addition to the conchas, the brothers contributed to introducing the popular Pan de los Muertos a few years ago to great success.
We in the bread bakery value highly our baking dexterity: we take pride in making top-notch baguettes and sourdoughs and sandwich breads, even though all these breads come with different challenges and skill-sets. Every day I am humbled at the opportunity to work alongside such a talented group of people. And it’s an honor to be able to add more breads to our line-up from the great baking cultures to our south, expanding our skills and knowledge as bakers, learning first-hand from the artisans who hold these cultures dear and grew up eating these breads.
We hope you pick up a concha the next time you drop by Weaver Street for a coffee. Watch for Pan de los Muertos to arrive in stores October 11 as well as more breads from Mexico in the future!