Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Magical Repulsive Energy and more (Arts and) Crafts

Amazing, no? The repulsive energy every Office Lady (japanese term for women working in the office environment) develops when entering the office-kitchen and seeing the clean, but not cleared dishwasher.
A few hours later and the dishes as shown above would've turned into an artsy cup-tower and some plate-piles. By the time I found this still life at the morning in our office kitchen, I had already met another world, because this morning I'd spent 4 hours in a bakery.

When I say "morning", I mean it! The alarm rang at 3.45am. You could say that my love for the arts and crafts continues well. I visited a small bakery and recorded the boulanger together with his employee while they were baking bread, brioches and "Buttersalzstangerl". Due to the recording device in my hand I was not able to take picutures, so the photo credit goes to Stephan Koja.
Buttersalzstangerl (imagine a small baguette, with salt and a knob of butter inside)

Both bakers I met today have worked in the bread-industry before. They made big money and distributed genetically muteted soy and other bad stuff you would not want to be in your bread, before they ended up in the small boulangerie to go back to basics. I was surprised how much they accomplished in those 4 hours. By the time I arrived, they had already fired the oven with spruce wood and the first brioches and "Semmeln" were cooling down.

The owner had to fight for getting an operational approval for this bakery in an inner-city district. It took 5 years until he finally received the operational approval.
Guess what: the responsible department in the city refused to give their approval first hand because of the "odour nuisance"! Odour nuisance? A boulangerie? Back when I baked my own sour-dough bread at home, Mr Paula fell for the heavenly scent.

Time for some generalisation: Everone I know loves the scent of fresh bread. In Vienna you can find only a few bakeries left which emit this special scent. Most of the bakeries changed into deliver-facilities. Most of them had to close due to the overpowering force of the supermarkets and their "freshly baked" (harhar) frozen bread.
The original scent of freshly baked bread evokes childhood memories, the good memories for sure. I would even go so far and say that this scent is part of our cultural heritage.
Too sad, it is not going to last.
How nice the baker fought for his boulangerie (=oven and salesroom in one place) and even sells the bread at a fair price: 2kg / 9 EUR. No baking aids added.
Wheat, water and salt and lots of love make the best bread.
Sour-dough instead of genetically mutated soy.

Photos 2-5 : Stephan Koja


  1. what a wonderful spirit in this man to be so persistent to get his bakery up and running. i love freshly baked bread too. i usually bake 2 loaves per week. nothing is better than the scent, except the taste of course.


  2. Paula, how wonderful. How did you happen to go?

  3. janet, I remember you posting a recipe, the no-knead-bread. I want to look it up and give it a try!

    LPC, this is going to be a radio report on crafts. I chose the bakery because I heard about it before. You must know, the situation in Austria is like this: major companies bake bread, 20.000 breads per hour, bakers are responsible for machines and the supermarkets bake the frozen bread in the oven in the super market. It is a totally industrialized process and everyone follows the new way. Consumers are happy to get "fresh" bread shortly before the supermarket closes because they can bake the frozen bread anytime. As a consequence small bakeries closed. In the oldfashioned bakery some breads are "sold out" some time in the late afternoon and you have to buy what is left. This does not suit today's consumerism. I am sure the baker will make it in Vienna! By the time I had left (he just opened up), plenty of customers had already visited the bakery and bought their morning breakfast. I left with a delicious brioche and a baguette.
    My father thought I was crazy to get up so early, I am glad I did! It is a beautiful experience to watch how the city gets to life. Contrary to other cities, Vienna does sleep at night. 100%.

  4. I missed this post!!! How?!?!?!? I love bread.

    I'm planning on making your brioche this weekend. Hopefully I get success.

  5. Hi Paula,
    It's me, on blogger.
    I've given up with wordpress trying to comment, and have opened this account.
    LOVE the bread post, what a wonderful morning spent in a Viennese bakery. I am going to love visiting it when I come to Vienna (one day).
    I will save the link you gave me till I get home to Townsville and will watch it with Elisabeth.

  6. Wonderful report; thank you. I'm actually surprised that Vienna has such an industrialized process when it comes to bread given all the pastry shops!

    [It's another reason for you to put the Pacific NW on your travel list -- hand-crafted bread and hand-roasted coffee abound.]