By VIRGINIA ANNABLE, Hickory Daily Record
HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — The sweet smell of hundreds of royal cakes being baked wafted from the Odalys Bakery in Newton on Thursday.
The Cervantes family and a team of bakers began baking about 600 small and large king cakes, or rosca de reyes, at 11 p.m. Wednesday. They worked through the night and into Thursday, baking and selling the cakes to celebrate the biblical feast Epiphany or Día de Los Reyes, the day the three kings visited Jesus.
The day is the busiest day of the year for the bakery, said Alejandro Cervantes, the son of owner Salvador Cervantes.
The bakery has been in Newton for 19 years. It’s one of 10 Odalys Bakery locations, including a new location in Hickory, Cervantes said. His family also runs the Hickory site on Fourth Street, SW, which opened in the summer of 2021.
“There’s a lot of demand there (in Hickory),” he said. “We had clients coming to Newton from Hickory.”
The Hickory location is a storefront only, provided by Newton’s Bakery. Eventually, the family hopes to expand to start cooking in Hickory as well, Cervantes said.
While January 6, Epiphany, is Odalys Bakery’s busiest day, the winter season keeps them busy for months, Cervantes said. Several cashiers and a handful of bakers put products like fresh bread, cakes and pastries into the hands of customers.
On busy days, the storefront is packed with customers picking up their items behind glass doors. Metal shelves with finished baked goods are rolled on the floor. Cashiers greet customers with friendly smiles and conversation — customers become friends over time, Cervantes said.
Out back, the kitchen is filled with the sounds of the rhythmic click of the whisk in the industrial mixer, the hum of the ovens and the kneading of dough on the counters. With expert ease, the bakers shape the dough and fill the metal molds with the bread until the racks are full and ready to bake.
The bakery is a well-oiled machine run by Salvador Cervantes, who has been a baker since he was a teenager, said Alejandro Cervantes. The baking tradition was passed down from father to son. The bread is made with the same care taken in their home kitchen, Alejandro said.
“We make our bread with dedication, care and patience for our customers,” he said.
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