Local baker seeking to share cultural tradition

Robin Bradshaw
rbradshaw1@gatehousemedia.com
Ruben Contreras a seasoned baker with over 60 years of experience specializes in the cultural tradition of Mexican pastries.

Local pandero or baker Ruben Contreras opens the kitchen by three in the morning, turns on the ovens, sets up his mixers, makes the coffee and starts the day by preparing his traditional pan dulces. A morning routine Contreras has continued for over 35 years in the area.

Contreras, a seasoned baker with over 60 years of experience specializes in the cultural tradition of Mexican pastries.

“Baking is the only job he’s ever known,” said his daughter Sara Contreras Cadena. “He began baking at a young age in Nuevo Laredo, now at 76 years-old he is wanting to pass his knowledge and skills in traditional Mexican baking.”

The well known local baker from Nortex’s has been recognized for his pan dulce and tortillas since 1985.

“My father takes great pride in his craft,” said Cadena. ”He will pay a little extra money for best ingredients because his product represents his name. He can hold flour in his hand and know exactly if it is good, has nutrition or is stale and poorly made.“

Contreras, originally owned and operated the business, but decided to lease it out in 2016, to a local restaurant owner. Since that time, he has continued to open the kitchen and share his labor of love to the community.

Now, approaching his later 70’s Contreras will be looking to share his wealth of knowledge and culture- while going out on his own again. Contreras, is currently looking for the right kitchen and right person to carry the tradition by opening his own specialty bakery that focuses on the Hispanic culture he embodies with the pastries he creates.

Local pandero or baker Ruben Contreras has been getting up and opening the kitchen at 3:00 a.m, turning on the ovens and mixers to prepare for today's pon dulces for over 35 years in the area.