Dreams are more likely to come true when they are worked.

And that is precisely what

Paco Jiménez

has done in the last three decades, since that moment when, without "knowing why", he started making bread.

Today, his small neighborhood bakery, just over three years old, is

an almost obligatory stop for those looking for good bread

.

Rare is the day when, at the door of this place that was previously a mechanical workshop,

a line of neighbors

does not form to buy their bars and artisan loaves and their traditional pastries.

But between Paco's dream and reality there has been a lot of effort,

years of training

and even rolling the blanket around his head and leaving a job ("and a fixed salary") to become a baker.

His work in a hospital as a senior technician in

cancer radiotherapy

left him time to devote himself to other things, "from interior design to gastronomy courses", recalls this "man from Cuenca from Madrid" (Fuente de Pedro Naharro, 1976).

Until one fine day he, who had "a lot of cooking behind him," started making bread.

The Levain Tahona Artesana team.

"I started about 15 years ago and

the result was horrible!

But I started what I call a trip of no return and I started to get

hooked

, and that went wrong.

I would get up at dawn or not go to bed and get to it

. First, with flour and yeast, later with sourdough ".

And while he was doing research, he learned on his own, talked to professionals with a lot of trade ... and even did intensive courses at the Asempan School, which no longer exists.

"For the moment, it was enough for me. I already knew the

Christian Vabret School of Bakery, Confectionery and Cooking

, in Aurillac (France), and the idea of ​​going there was haunting me, although I postponed it, because it meant a great investment and to leave the square owned by the hospital. "

The store has an industrial aesthetic.

Until

in 2015 he asked for a leave

of absence and went to Gallic lands, where he obtained the title of baker.

But Paco kept

working

on the dream - he had to

train as an entrepreneur

(he took several courses at the Madrid Chamber of Commerce) - until, in 2018, it became real.

Thus, together with his wife and an

emotional and professional accomplice,

Pilar

Núñez

(an active radiodiagnosis technician and passionate about cooking) opened a charming workshop in Ciudad Lineal,

devoted to sourdough.

"

It's our neighborhood

. Hence, the market study was more than clear. We knew there was nothing like it in the area, so why not open a small shop here with artisan products and not have to go downtown? it will be in the so-called noble areas ", Pilar claims.

Paco seconds her:

"The popular neighborhoods also have the right to have good bread."

Freshly baked loaf.

For this reason, in this cozy and decorated with an industrial air, they bet on the artisan product from beginning to end, whose process can be observed from the store, since

the workshop is in sight.

Here there are only long natural fermentations (minimum 24 hours);

ecological flours, stone-ground and without

national additives and French tradition;

culture sourdough;

elaborations made with time, care and respect and "a

quality bread, honest and with an affordable price

", adds Pilar.

White wheat loaf.

On a daily basis, they usually sell between

180 and 200 kilos

- "we are little ones," says Pilar-, although on special dates, such as Christmas, we get much more

. Best Bread of Madrid,

contest organized by Club Matador), seed, miller (finalist in 2019 in the same contest); special breads of the day; rustic mold;

with roasted pumpkin, turmeric and poppy seeds;

black from Guadalajara (a old wheat) ... "Each one, with different masses, processes and textures," says Jiménez.

Bars are not to be missed on the bread roll:

the baguette, faithful to French tradition,

Paco 's

pretty girl

and the queen of the house;

the greyhound, with sesame (its four points are the manna for the

crazy people of the croutons

and the beaks) and the rustic.

"The baguette is what first gets people

hooked

: then they are encouraged to try the loaf and then the rest," explains the baker.

Paco Jiménez with one of his seasonal breads.

Customers

are no longer just from the neighborhood

, they also come, especially on Saturdays, from

Boadilla del Monte

, Coslada, Móstoles, Arturo Soria, Canillejas ... And "we even have a man who comes every day, taking a walk, from Velázquez ", affirms Pilar, who remembers well - because they are not very far away - the

hard principles

. "We were the two of us, he with the bread and I with the pastries and the sale in the store. We couldn't hire anyone because we didn't know how it was going to work and we spent

hours and hours here, day and night."

"We would leave and, on the way, we would get together with ourselves, we would come again," laughs Paco.

But the heard mouth did its job and, discreetly and without fuss, his house has made a place among the benchmark artisan bakeries

in the capital.

The baguettes are the stars of the house.

Today they are no longer alone, with them four other

crazy people

work with bread and with diverse backgrounds: in the workshop,

Rober

(who studied Physics and has been "an ex-seller of luxury, of more than exclusive firms", says Pilar) and

Jose

( social worker and with great experience in kitchen);

in store,

Daniele

(Italian with studies in international communications) and

Laura

, the eternal smile behind the counter.

Although to be exact,

in the Levain team

there is one more member: the sourdough.

"Something is alive, which is different every day, which is affected by everything, the rain, the humidity, and which

forces you to jump without a net and work the bread in a different way

", Jiménez explains.

Brioche.

And with this "something alive" that Paco conceived about 12 years ago and

whose backup he keeps at home

, they prepare almost all the preparations, except the bars -mixed fermentation- and the occasional bread. Due to its

complex preparation

, the ideal is to reserve it two days in advance. "Do not believe, it has cost us. There are clients who told us how they were going to schedule bread, but this helps us in planning and

favors responsible consumption

," says Levain's

dreamer

, determined to dignify his trade.

But only bread - "that

nourishes and feeds

", in Paco's words, comes out of the oven, also

traditional sweets

, such as the roscón de Reyes that flies (lactose-free and with extra virgin olive oil, eggs, natural orange blossom and citrus fruits), the

brioche

(Paco and his French formation) with sugar and almonds or chocolate filling and with a natural lemon glaze, the lactose-free

muffins

and olive oil, lemon, chocolate, depending on the day), the Swiss and, on occasions , butter cakes.

Their roscones de Reyes 'fly'.

We already leave Paco - wearing his lucky cap, the same one with which he started the job - and his team with the music of Radio 3 in the background and a

rich smell of real bread that reaches the line of waiting customers to enter

.

The dream of any baker, who in the case of this Madrilenian from Cuenca who left his job to make bread has a lot of work behind him.

Levain Tahona Artesana.

Gutierre de Cetina, 49. Closed until Monday, January 10.

Regular hours: Monday to Saturday until 3 pm;

Thursday until 20 hours.

Price: 1 euro for a French tradition baguette and loaves from 3.80 euros.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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