By Hope S. Philbrick
“There’s literally nothing I can’t make out of bread,” says Pratt G. Morales, founder of Golden Crown Panaderia in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As proof he’s not joking, he points to the pictures hanging on a wall inside his neighborhood bakery that show off a few of the various bread sculptures he’s created, including a castle, a turkey and a Chinese dragon.
The single dad brought his son to work, taught him what he knows, and today Christopher H. Morales runs the business alongside his father. (Chris also teaches tango professionally and sometimes dances in the bakery.)
“We’re known for bread,” says Pratt. Most especially, the bakery is famed for its New Mexican green chile bread.
“My goal was to take the ‘neighborhood bakery’ to an artistic level,” says Pratt. He’s also committed to showcasing his community and state. “This old-fashioned neighborhood bakery is the only New Mexican bakery in the whole state”—by which he means that almost all recipes and ingredients are sourced from New Mexico.
Biscochitos, the official state cookie, are of course on the menu. Golden Crown produces nearly 2,500 dozen biscochitos a day and, like all the products that fill the shelves, “we do it all by hand,” says Pratt. In addition to the traditional 200-year-old anis-cinnamon recipe of the cookie, “We took it upon ourselves to go beyond with different blends and expanded the basic to five varieties,” including cappuccino and chocolate flavors.
Empanadas are popular. “We sell out most every day,” says Chris.
Pizza is relatively new to the menu and was an instant hit. “The crust recipes came from our bread recipes,” says Chris.
“We are the original New Mexican pizza crust,” adds Pratt. “We added another item to our New Mexican menu. It’s been fun.”
There are three pizza crust options, and the recipes are complex: blue corn has 19 ingredients, New Mexican green chile has 25 ingredients, and peasant multi-grain has 18 ingredients.
In the kitchen, Chris is growing fresh basil in a hydroponic garden currently filled with about 300 plants. He started the garden in 2011 to offset high gas prices’ impact on the price of ingredients like tomatoes, bell peppers and lettuce. “This is what’s possible,” he says. “This is the solution to world hunger.”
Visit Golden Crown Panaderia and there may be a line at the order counter, but it’s worth the wait whether you crave lunch, a loaf of bread, a to-go box filled with the state cookie, or another temptation.
Don’t miss the “World’s Best Coffee Milkshake.” The name is a bold claim, but one sip and it’s hard not to agree.
Is your mouth watering yet? Better book a trip to ABQ: “We don’t ship because we’d get overwhelmed,” admits Chris. “Our focus is more on high quality than volume.”
Odds of Encountering Children: High. All children get a free biscochito cookie. Take your order to go or visit during the day when school is in session for the lowest odds.
Golden Crown Panaderia
1103 Mountain Rd NW
Albuquerque NM 87102
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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