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Fri January 14, 2011
Does anything smell better than a bakery? I can’t think of any other place where one can walk in and be enveloped with an aroma that gives such a feeling of goodwill and welcome. Every bakery I have ever visited has a yeasty, sweet, warm fragrance that immediately puts me at ease, no matter where in the world I am. I have been to ancient French boulangeries and brand new upstart artisan bakeries and they all smell like heaven.
For a state that bills itself “The Breadbasket of the World,” Kansas has surprisingly few great bakeries compared to other, less wheat-y states. Wichita is lucky to have a few really good ones who make their breads and pastries from scratch, by hand. Sadly, most of the bakery items we consume in Wichita are made in factories.
Not at Juarez Bakery, however. I love going to their cute little light-filled shop on Waco that’s a combination bakery and grocery store. The Mexican pastries and breads are stacked up in cubbies against the window and you get a tray and tongs and select what you want from the piles of treats available. If you go early, some of them will still be warm.
I like to choose a couple of different things every time. I like their orejas, a Mexican-style palmier that is flaky with butter and lightly sweet from caramelized sugar. I am obsessed with their churros, fried eggy pastry tubes filled with dulce de leche and coated in sugar. Their yeast donuts are pillowy and not too sweet, with a nice chewy texture. Not everything is labeled, but you can ask the counter ladies and they are quite helpful. There is cake as well, and many kinds of pan dulce, a lightly sweet and chewy roll that is good for dipping in coffee or hot chocolate, and a variety of cookies. I have tried everything…but I always get at least one churro. They are amazing.
Stop in to Juarez Bakery and get a whiff of the real deal. They are hardworking people making bread and pastry in a traditional way, with care. You can smell the love when you walk in.