Baby, it’s cold out there. As winter is finding its way to the Yakima Valley, it seemed a good move to go inside. The steamy windows of the panaderias lured us like a siren song. There is something about the baking of bread that is comforting on a DNA level. The kneading of dough, the hot oven, the scent of fresh, warm loaves and confections—being around it feels like all is right in the world. The panaderias are blissfully old school.
Up long before the crack of dawn, they make all their goods in house, and actually roll their bakers’ racks of freshly prepared delights right out into the shop. You select offerings off the sheet they’re baked on. If you’re lucky (and chances are good) you can feel the warmth still emanating off the racks, and select a bona fide, fresh out of the oven product.
We went to five different panaderias from Tieton to Toppenish. Walking through the door, that fragrant humidity hits you immediately, but because of the day after day nature of it, there is a lovely permanence to it that cuts deep. After grabbing a tray and a set of tongs, you can select your own goods from the bakers’ racks or cases and go to town.
Cream filled churros and bread filled with jalapeños and cream cheese were a favorite. We tried a little bit of a lot of stuff—strawberry topped cupcakes, vanilla cream filled pastry rolls, molasses cookies shaped like little pigs, conchas with their swirled pink tops, squares of cake topped with coconut flecks, loaves of brown and white breads, empanadas filled with goodness and love, the list goes on and on and on.
We encourage you to take a moment, head on in, and revel in your own steamy delights. Comfort your senses, satisfy your soul, and remember all that is good in the world.
Thank you to the following Yakima Valley panaderias: