Bakery kneads technology into artisanal bread making

PANIC is a bakery in Madrid, Spain that combines old-fashioned bread making with modern technology

by Robin Dalmas

Javier Marca opened his bakery PANIC 3 years ago in Madrid, Spain. The capital city is known for age-old traditions that include medieval castles, bullfighting rings, and flamenco shows.

PANIC loves tradition, too. The store on Calle del Conde Duque bakes its crusty loaves of artisan bread with simple ingredients: organic flour, sourdough, yeast, water, and salt. “We are home bakers here,” Marca said. “We never worked in an industrial bakery before. We decided to bring down to the street level the same bread we used to bake at home.” The other old-fashioned ingredients include “time and love,” as he is fond of saying.

But PANIC isn’t just another place to buy white, wheat, and rye loaves.

“What makes us different from another bakery is the way we mix tradition in the way we bake our bread, and the use of new technologies, in the way we communicate with customers, restaurants, or providers. We are in constant contact with everybody.”

PANIC has a notable presence on social media, using Facebook as its website. It shows off its crunchy kilos of bread on Instagram at #panicmadrid, has more than 2,500 followers on Twitter, and is revered on Yelp.

“We use every tool of social media to build the community around bread,” Marca said. “Without that, we would be just a neighborhood bakery. We get customers not only from all over the city, but also from other countries.”

PANIC also teaches classes on how to bake bread at home. Sometimes, Marca uses live-streaming video to get the job done. “We have over 6,000 people in our database that are interested in learning to bake bread,” Marca said.

And for those who find themselves in the middle of a bread making disaster? “We also have an online 24/7 counseling service for home bakers.”

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Javier Marca is a graphic designer-turned bread baker. He opened Panic Bakery in Madrid, Spain in 2013, kicking off a bread scene in the city.