Pangaea Bakery & Café

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Pangea Bakery | By Kathy Montgomery | Photograph by Paul Markow
By Kathy Montgomery | Photograph by Paul Markow

In January 2016, after more than 20 years in downtown Prescott, Nicole Marshall (pictured) told her customers that Pangaea Bakery & Café would be closing for a few months during construction at a new, larger facility. But because of a series of setbacks that included construction delays and Marshall’s battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer, it took nearly four years before the bakery reopened in December 2019 at the Village at the Boulders shopping center. Prescott’s residents rejoiced.

“I made one post on Facebook and said, ‘I’ve turned on the “Open” sign,’ ” Marshall recalls. “Within an hour, we had a line out the door for two weeks. Old customers said it was the best Christmas present they could have had. I actually burst into tears.”

Pangaea is the name given to the landmass that existed before Earth’s continents separated. For the bakery, the name is a play on words, marrying pan, meaning “bread” in many languages, with Gaea — mother, nurturer and giver of life. 

Pangaea’s crusty European-style breads are worthy of their place in Prescott’s culinary pantheon. The bakery offers baguettes and sourdough loaves every day, with specialty breads on rotation in varieties such as jalapeño with Cabot white cheddar, nine-grain porridge bread and a dense sourdough rye that has developed a cult following among European customers. There’s also a selection of croissants, pastries and desserts, all made fresh daily using premium organic flour and hormone-free butter. 

“We make everything from scratch, 100 percent,” Marshall says. “The bottom line for me is that the food is clean and nutritious. Because if you’re going to eat croissants, there should still be nutritional value and they should be delicious.”

Pangaea also serves sandwiches and salads made with high-quality meats and local produce, and daily quiche and soup selections. There’s also Roman-style pan pizza by the slice, with a different fresh topping each day. Made with high-moisture, long-fermentation dough, it’s tall, like focaccia, but crisp. 

This time around, Marshall’s pet project is a market featuring small-batch artisan chocolates, heirloom beans, Italian specialty pastas, and local organic produce and flowers. When the pandemic hit, Marshall removed the interior tables and expanded the market to include organic milk and eggs, dish soap and toilet paper. “My customers were so grateful,” she says. “It has all the things you really require, so if you’re vulnerable and don’t want to go to a big-box store, you don’t have to.”

For the uninitiated, it’s worth the drive. For the faithful, it was worth the wait.

Pangaea Bakery & Cafe is located at 1260 Gail Gardner Way in Prescott. For more information, call 928-227-2791 or visit facebook.com/pangaeabakery.