Decorative breads are gaining popularity as a canvas for creativity. As bakers look to wow customers and drive sales with eye-catching products, one effective way that panaderías are achieving success is to decorate breads in fun and inventive ways.
The bakers at La Flor de Puebla in Riverdale, Maryland, experiment by making cute faces on pan dulce using red dough for the eyes, nose and mouth. This works because once customers start talking about the products, they want to try something new.
“It’s that little touch of creativity that makes a difference,” co-owner Mario Hernandez says. “Our bakers enjoy it because they get to make something new. Our conchas are very popular.”
Conchas are one of their top-selling products, and La Flor de Puebla’s bakers get creative with the toppings throughout the year. They recently joined in on the trend to make unicorn conchas, which are colored in bright pinks and light blues.
Earlier this year, El Bolillo Bakery in Houston began selling a unicorn concha, a.k.a. the uniconcha. Inspired by the success of products like Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, the bakery’s colorful sweet bread has customers standing in long lines. El Bolillo Bakery is known for specializing in traditional Hispanic treats like tres leches and pan dulce, but it is a truly unique offering that is generating the recent buzz for the bakery.
These Instagram-worthy products quickly became one of El Bolillo’s biggest sellers. According to the bakery, it sold 600 on a single day. The bakery’s Facebook and Instagram pages witnessed well over 200,000 hits on social media posts related to the unicorn conchas.
The sweets are made with individually colored sugar crusted on marbled dough or by placing the colored sugar on by hand before baking. Each color has its own flavor, including raspberry, strawberry, piña colada and bubblegum.
Others can learn from this example as an effective way to bring excitement to their panaderías throughout the year.
Using colors and decorations on breads can signal the changes of the seasons, enticing customers to buy more products and encourage them to come back again for more.
These days, it is a highly effective strategy to use social media to post creative photos of decorative breads — not just cakes anymore —to attract the attention of more customers who will become curious and want to come to your bakery to check it out.
With rosca de reyes season fast approaching, there is a lesson here for panaderías to push the envelope of creativity and create new designs that will attract even more customers.
At Mega Farmers Market in Hyattsville, Maryland, bakery manager Leo Soto says they plan to gear up for this January celebration by using a full complement of products from BakeMark, their bakery supplier. The store uses Trigal Dorado citrons and figs, as well as Trigal Dorado Bizcocho Mix, to make decorative rosca de reyes.
“When we first started, we had an issue getting the right ingredients,” Soto says. “Then we started working with BakeMark, and they supply us with everything we need. Now BakeMark is providing us to the bizcocho mix and the margarines that we want. That’s a big hit for us.”
Soto says they also plan to start using the figs throughout the year to decorate a variety of products and create eye-catching products that their customers will love.
Hernandez of La Flor de Puebla also credits BakeMark as a valuable source for the ingredients they use for rosca de reyes, which is a huge seller for them in January.
“Rosca season is stressful but very rewarding,” he says. “People line up just to buy our hot rosca out of the oven. We always try to make it better, and that is the great advantage of working with BakeMark. They have the right ingredients we need, and it makes our life easier.”
Decorative breads also play an important role for panaderías such as Victoria Bakery in Central Islip, New York. This retailer focuses on Central American breads, especially from El Salvador, where owner Jose Ramos grew up and started baking in his youth.
Santanecas and novias are examples of specialty breads that their customers know and love. Santanecas are round breads topped with sprinkles or sesame seeds. Novias are similar to conchas, only they are typically smaller in size. “Our customers love the flavors of our breads,” Jose Ramos says.