At Heart Panaderia owner Teresa Finney opened her bakery in Decatur, Georgia, in the summer of 2021. At the pandemic's start, only months before, she had lost her grocery store merchandising job. Finney, who’s a recipe writer and a panadera (baker), had dreams of creating modern takes on traditional Mexican pan dulce.
“I knew I had to do something with my time, of which I had an abundance,” Finney recently told the Guild. “Recalling my earlier life as a part-time baker, I started making Conchas to cope with the pandemic grief and my engulfing sense of homesickness for the Bay Area, California.”
Soon, some chef friends encouraged Finney to offer her Conchas at their pop-up. When they sold out immediately,Finney says her world “burst forward with opportunity and hope during a very dark, challenging time.”
Since then, she’s expanded her menu to include a broader range of pandulce and celebratory layer cakes decorated with locally grown, organic flowers and fruits.
Asked who her bakery heroes are, Finney says that the now long-gone Wilson’s Jewel Bakery in Santa Clara, where she grew up, made a lasting impression on her life. Locally, she loves Little Tart Bakery in Atlanta, not far from her own shop. She calls it "the epitome of a fantastic neighborhood bakery."
As a cottage bakery doing big things on a small scale, Osono Bread is someone she looks to. And nationally, Finney tells the Guild she'sa big fan of Gusto Bread and "their pan dulce using local-to-California grains."
When it comes to the Guild's impact on Finney as a baker, she says "having the Guild as a resource to learn more about bread-baking and running a successful business is invaluable to me."
Find Finney and her beautiful Conchas and cakes online below.
IG: @at_heartpanaderia; Twitter: @atheartpanadera;
Recipe Substack: https://atheartpanaderia.substack.com/