By Eduardo | @cazadordelomejor
Seven years ago, bread maker Hugo González opened up what is known to be one of the best bakeries in Mexico. As you walk along Chihuahua Street in Colonia Roma, a vibrant and historic neighborhood, the strong aroma of freshly baked bread will lure you over.
Hugo studied culinary arts at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, a highly esteemed culinary school in the south of Mexico City and completed his thesis on bread fermentation. Soon after he was given the opportunity to stage at Ferran Adrià’s 3-Michelin star restaurant, El Bulli in Spain.
Everything at Pancracia is made with a sourdough starter that Hugo has been carefully nurturing for over 20 years. The thick & rustic crust and the soft & tangy crumb is a result of the fermentation-focused philosophy, different from classic bakeries in Mexico that stick to more traditional varieties using fresh yeast.
The bakery itself is a tiny ten by ten feet space divided into two different levels. On the first level is a large oven, racks of freshly baked bread and a small wooden working table. Up top is a fridge space where the rare sourdough starter is kept and shelving where dough is left to ferment. The temperature on the second floor is slightly higher and perfect to make the most of the fermentation process.
If you arrive early in the morning, you’ll be able to take home anything from doughy yogurt-based chocolate and vanilla conchas to savor through breakfast or fresh-out-of-the-oven fennel loaves to eat with dinner. Come late morning, some of Mexico City’s most renowned restaurants will be stopping by to pick up their artisanal orders.
One of my favorite things are the vigilantes: oval shaped butter-based sweet bread bathed in lemongrass honey – native to South America. Once you eat one, it’s hard to not eat a whole tray.
Over the years, Pancracia has made its mark on the neighborhood and has evolved into a strong reference for some of the best sourdough bread in the country.
Pancracia, Chihuahua, 181, Roma Norte, Ciudad de México