Good things come to those that wait – this is the philosophy of Bernhardt Fey who runs a bakery near where we are staying in Berlin at Knobelsdorffstrasse 39. Michael baked bread with them last Friday morning – from 3.30 am until 6, see photos.
The ones with raisins in are little animals and make children’s sweet rolls. There are croissants, poppy seed rolls; pumpkin seed rolls; sunflower seed and delicious rye loaves and multi-seeded.
This is what he says about his work (translated):
‘On 1 January 2000 I took over the bakery from my predecessors. For my customers I produce bakery products according to the traditional principles of craftsmanship. In order to guarantee a high quality I work according to the following principles:- Production of the bakery products by hand – Let the dough mature in peace – Use of high-quality raw materials – No baking mixes or frozen dough pieces;We use only sea salt – Eggs from free-range chickens; Exclusive use of flour from organic production. As a supplier of flour I have decided on Paulick’s mill in Müschen in the Spreewald. More than 100 years ago the master miller Wilhelm Paulick took over the water mill at the Greifenhainer Fliess. Driven by a water turbine, the grain is processed in the mill. The company uses state-of-the-art technology, especially in the field of grain cleaning’.
A near daily ritual is that Michael gets up early and buys fresh rolls (Brötchen; Schrippen) – that are sold out by 8.15 a.m – and we make a picnic lunch.
Then we cycle into town – me to the Goethe Institute and he to the theological library! We cycle along the 17th June street – a long boulevard, named after an uprising in the East on 17 June 1953, with huge Russian monuments and sculptures of generals – but also with a screaming woman in the middle of the street which is very powerful.
We cycle through the Brandenburger Tor. My great grandad, Jakob Julius, used to go through the middle gate on his horse in 19th century at a time when Jews were not allowed to do this at all, only the Prussian generals!
Then we are in the former east and cycle along a similar boulevard – Unter den Linden, though without as many lime blossom trees as there used to be… and past the Humboldt university where my father studied law and where a hundred years earlier my family’s professional thieves stole the contents of the safe at Christmas.
Michael is going to the local bakery next week at 3.30 a.m to bake with them!
As we’re in Berlin for a few weeks and eating lots of delicious bread, I thought I add a few facts about German bread!
i) Germany is a “Bread Paradise”, and 3050 different recipes have been registered by the county’s bakeries at the Central Association of German Bakers.
ii) On average a German eats 87 kilos, 192 pounds, of bread every year.
iii) There are about 50 bakeries to 100,000 people in Germany.
iv)The huge selection of bread is partly down to Germany’s varied climate, which allows all types of crops to thrive, together with the country’s history. Baking different varieties of bread was one of the ways the small princedoms that formerly made up “Germany” carved out an own identity.
v)There is a culture of craftsmanship in German bread making, and bakers must complete a high standard theoretical and hands-on training before becoming a Baeckermeister. Master Baker.
vi)German bread is as much part of the country’s culture as beer and BMW, and across the world has such strong reputation that bakeries supplying bread of a high standard are often called “German bakeries”.
vii) Deutsche Brotkultur not only has its own set of postage stamps, UNESCO has added the country’s bread to its World Heritage List.
viii) Bread is so much a part of Germany’s culture that for many years one of the most popular children’s TV characters was Bernd a talking loaf. “Bernd das Brot” – Bernd the Bread, was a perpetually depressed and thoroughly bad-tempered loaf of bread, but then he “emigrated” to Sweden.
It’s really called the Baker Way and is named after a Mr Baker but the name seemed too suitable to miss. A few of us walked it on Monday and were blessed with good weather. We were guided mainly by Natasha and Philip (and of course Jet & Theo) who had done it before though in the opposite direction. It’s a lovely 13 mile flat trail through forests and fields with varied scenery, including ponds, rivers and canals. A great time of year to do it too – so much blossom – cherry, hawthorn; wild garlic as well as spring animals like lambs, ducklings and foals……
This fantastic pedunculate oak tree:
And stopping for a picnic:
Through wheat fields
Reaching the Hockenhall Platts.
So maybe this is a walk we could do as a whole group of the bread circle later in the year or explore some other areas of Wirral, Cheshire or North Wales. I like the idea of regular walks ( or bike rides?) with interesting conversations and sharing thoughts and ideas…..Are others interested?
We had a lovely picnic – with delicious bread of course – in a Bethlehem like stable that we found on the island but that I’d never seen before.
Other ideas for the future – a walk through the Liverpool tunnels or the Williamson tunnels. Any particular things anyone fancies? Please let me know if so…..
Here is the recipe for a very delicious and fairly simple cake to make. We had it on Valentines Day at our bakers lunch, made by Natasha.
She says you can use 150g almonds and 100g flour too
We get flour regularly from Shipton Mill and Walk Mill and occasionally other places. We do not keep a large store. Michael ensures it is always fresh and ready for the bake. Often we can arrange for Walk Mill to deliver but we need to collect the Shipton Mill flour. It needs storing on the platform in the bakery. We had visitors who were happy to help – see photos – and when the sacks of flour were delivered, they used (& fixed) the pulley to carry the flour up.
The same system works in reverse when the flour is needed for baking. It is hard work and a bit precarious….there is a wobbly metal ladder, firmly attached to the platform (I hasten to add) but it can be hard opening the hatch and putting the sacks of flour into the bag in order that it can be electrically transported down back into the bakery. It is fun though too and the boys certainly enjoyed it.
Thankyou Karen Creedon for bringing this delicious tart to the lunch today