Porto's Bakery and Cafe hopes to create largest Rosca de Reyes in LA

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Porto's Bakery and Cafe expects to sell 5,000 Rosca de Reyes across their four stores this year and plans to create the biggest pastry in Los Angeles. (KABC)

Porto's Bakery and Cafe expects to sell 5,000 Rosca de Reyes across their four stores this year.

The ring-shaped sweet bread is part of the tradition of celebrating Three Kings Day in January for many Latino families.

It's a tradition which Chef Tony Salazar feels members outside of his community should know more about. So he decided to go big this year.

Inside Porto's kitchen in Commerce, he and his team are putting together a 24-foot by 2-and-half foot Rosca.

"I remember as a kid waiting for that day, Jan. 6, as a day where they would leave gifts for the kids so it's really the Hispanic version of Christmas," Salazar said.

He said he wanted others, outside his community, to share in the day.

The ring-shaped sweet bread is adorned with dried and candied fruits and a plastic baby Jesus is baked inside, signaling for many people that they're the lucky person who gets to hold the family get-together the next year.

More than 20 years ago, Salazar began selling Roscas. At first, he only sold a few, but this year the bakery expects to sell thousands.

The California Milk Processor Board approached Porto's about joining together to create an event highlighting the bread and the milk drinks that are usually consumed alongside it.

"I think people love to see things that are different, so we said let's make a big one and what was the biggest one ever made in Los Angeles?" Salazar said.

He said a Rosca creation of that size and magnitude called for some incredible amounts of ingredients: 125 pounds of dough, 12 pounds of sugar, 18 pounds of butter, 70 eggs, 60 pounds of flour, and to top it off, 1 1/4 gallons of milk. And let's not forget the plastic baby Jesus.

The lucky person who finds the baby Jesus receives a top prize at Porto's unveiling of the biggest Rosca de Reyes with milk in L.A. on Friday. Customers will get a slice of free Rosca from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at their Downey location.

For customers like Kimberly Reinoso, of Los Angeles, the Rosca means more time with family.

"If we didn't have the bread, I don't think we would have gotten together and enjoyed the time as a family," she said.

Downey resident Mirca Sanchez believes the pastry is an important tradition.

"We usually make a party or make tamales. It's more like a tradition to our family now. It became a tradition," she said.

The cultural divide seems to melt away when bread is broken together, as Lorie Padilla said. She drives in from Long Beach to eat at Porto's.

"You know, we're not Cuban, we're Asian, but we love how they do their breads," she said.

Related Topics:
foodculturebakingholidaylatino liferecordbusinessfamilycommunityreligionDowneyLos Angeles CountyCity of CommerceGlendaleBurbank
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