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  • Writer's pictureFelipe Garcia

Don Guerra - Why?????? This Bread is SO GOOD!!!!

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

If you are like me, I am sure you LOVE bread. And if you happen to be in Tucson, you will be connected one way to the other to #BarrioBread. Don Guerra, a kind of bread superhero (yes, he has some supernatural powers for making bread) is our #BarrioBaker. If you happen to go to his store and wait in line for a few minutes while sipping some coffee from Ombre Coffee or after breakfast from the Bisbee Breakfast Club, it is likely you will meet this master bread maker.

Ratatouille of Bread

I am sure you have watched Ratatouille from Pixar (if not, you are missing a great foodie movie). If you have, you remember how Remy (the rat) changes the mindset from food critic Anton Ego? SPOILER ALERT! He makes a plate of ratatouille, and all of a sudden Alton Ego remembers when the critic was a child and very likely he was in a state of Hygge! So what that has to do with our #BarrioBaker? Well, it is simple. The bread crafted by this baker, and his talented crew, will make you feel like that food critic. You will realize that you can get a recipe for bread, measure, weigh, mix, bake, and voila! you have some bread. But after tasting Barrio Bread baguette or the Cubano rolls (by the way the family favorite is the cranberry walnut bread slightly toasted with some nice butter) will make you understand that “everyone can cook (in this case bake) but only...”

From a Garage to a Daily Sold Our Store

Don studied anthropology at the University of Arizona and then moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where he worked ad different bakeries before relocating to Ashland, Oregon where he opened The Village Baker of Ashland. Don shared with me, that one day he realized he was now the owner of a bakery and not a baker. So he decided to return to Tucson to complete a degree in education, and teach K-12 grade students.

During those days as a teacher, Don continued studying, and in 2009, the garage of his house became Barrio Bread, a Community Supported Baker. Selling his bread to local restaurants and to members of the community, he eventually moved to his current location, where the community still gathers in conviviality, while waiting on line to get some bread.

White Sonoran Wheat

Barrio Bread is all about simple ingredients. Using what the people and geography of the Sonoran Desert have provided to the residents of this magical part of the world. One of these ingredients is the Sonoran White Wheat. Thanks to Don, this ingredient, brought by the Jesuits centuries ago, has become one of the star foods of Tucson. You can try it not only in bread but also in some great beers and of course you can prepare a fresh salad with its berries.

The Days of Bread

In 2018, Krakow and Katowice in Poland hosted the annual meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. In addition to the annual meeting of UNESCO, the city also hosted The Days of Bread, an annual gathering celebrating bread-making around the world. Don Guerra was one of the invited bakers from the different UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy, and that was the first time I realized the impact of Don Guerra around the world. All of a sudden, bakers in Poland were eager to connect with Don to get together and talk all things bread. And being a really humble individual, Don met with as many bakers as possible not only in Krakow, but he actually took a train to Warsaw to meet with other bakers.

Before leaving for Krakow, Don and I discussed how great would it be to share the Sonoran White Wheat with our friends in Poland. We talked to Robert Valencia, Chairman of the Pascua-Yaqui Tribe, and with no hesitation, he provided us with some amazing White Sonoran Wheat, harvested and milled in the Yaqui Valley in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. Working with the U.S. Commercial Service and the State Department, we shipped the wheat from the Yaqui Tribe and some from BKW Farms to Poland.


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