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WITHOUT CHICHI, BUT WITH A LOT OF TRADITION: SOURDOUGH BREAD, CINNAMON BUNS & MORE AT THE JOHANN BAKERY

WITHOUT CHICHI, BUT WITH A LOT OF TRADITION: SOURDOUGH BREAD, CINNAMON BUNS & MORE AT THE JOHANN BAKERY

On a frosty morning, I visit Johann in his new bakery, my glasses fogging up with the warm air as I am greeted heartily. The smell of freshly baked bread reminds me of home – of carefree mornings at my grandparents’ house. If I had to say where my love of bread comes from, I would certainly say my grandfather. Chatting about baked goods at the breakfast table was how we spent most of our time. In the village where I grew up, you knew not to judge bakeries by appearance, lest you miss out on the crème de la crème. It’s more about tradition, the smell that makes you stop as you walk by, and the warmth of the people behind the counter. I found all of that at Johann’s Bakery – and it took me back to my childhood.

Next to the counter, Johann is busy putting his sourdough loaves in the oven. In between, he takes the time to personally serve visitors and share stories about his ingredients. His focus is sourdough, which he can discuss for hours. It’s clear that Johann has fulfilled a long-awaited dream with the bakery, devoting himself 100 percent to the craft. He hands me a caramelized cinnamon bun, fresh from the oven. Warm, crispy puff pastry on the outside, fluffy on the inside. I wonder for a moment why they don’t make cinnamon buns only out of puff pastry. Behind the counter, I’m allowed a glimpse into the bakery. Here, too, I’m greeted in a friendly manner and spend the rest of my morning with people who enjoy their craft. Although Johann insists on tradition, he allows himself the freedom to experiment and discover – which is why you won’t find the same thing behind the counter every day. But there’s one thing you can always look forward to: Johann’s loaves, which you can also sample at neighboring restaurant Bonvivant and Château Royal.

Text & Photos: Robyn Steffen

Johann Bäckerei, Gleditschstr.47, 10781 Berlin–Schöneberg; map
Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun 8–16h & Fri 8–19h

@johann_bio

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WORKSHOPS, SOURDOUGH, COMMUNITY: KEIT TAKES LOCAL TO A NEW LEVEL

WORKSHOPS, SOURDOUGH, COMMUNITY: KEIT TAKES LOCAL TO A NEW LEVEL

When you think “locally sourced” how far do you think? How about within 100km? That’s the distance that Kolja Orzeszko and Thanos Petalotis decided on when they founded Keit. What started as a market stall and small bakery in Schöneberg is now also an iconic wheat-filled space in Friedrichshain. A neighborhood bakery through and through , they source all their products from 100km of Berlin City. So what does 100km really look like for sourcing ingredients? The fully organic and locally-sourced approach makes sustainability one of the key values of Keit. Within the challenging distance of 100km, they’ve managed to source, not just wheat (the main of three farms they use is Ökohof Kuhhorst, located in Havelland) but even the most challenging ingredient of salt. They work with farmers to support the local ecosystem, supporting them through trial and error to achieve the best seeds and grains they can. The result is a truly non-homogenous Berlin loaf – a taste you can only get here.

On the menu are five loaves, including rye or wheat sourdough, two baguettes, and four brötchen, alongside other seasonal products. The space resembles a wheat field – stems of dried crops stand upright in the chic store on Boxhagener Platz. Also running workshops in German and English, hosted by a Keit baker. We attended one and enjoyed the intimate nature of the workshop, sent home with full stomachs, rising dough, a sourdough starter kit, and the knowledge of how to continue our bread-making passion. If you aren’t in the area you can buy one of their sourdough starter kits to make at home, or try out their loaves at one of the places they supply to: Oh, PanamaKlinke, or Kioski.

Text: Savannah van der Niet / Photos: Savannah van der Niet für Silo Coffee und Cee Cee Creative

Keit, Grünbergerstr.75, 10245, Berlin–Friedrichshain; map
Keit, Goltzstr.18, 10781, Berlin-Schöneberg; map
Tue–Fri 10-19h, Sat 9–17h & Sun 9–13h

Keit’s next sourdough workshops are on 14.01. and 24.03. Book yourself a place here.

@keit.berlin

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BABKA & KRANTZ — PASTRY SHOP BLENDING ISRAELI CUISINE WITH EASTERN EUROPEAN FLAVORS

BABKA & KRANTZ — PASTRY SHOP BLENDING ISRAELI CUISINE WITH EASTERN EUROPEAN FLAVORS

At Babka & Krantz, the bakery which opened in December 2022 in Friedenau, the pastries come in both sweet and savory varieties. The concept: a blend of Eastern European and Israeli cuisines. The braided babka bread, for instance, reminds owner Marcin of visits to his grandmother. Marcin’s husband Sharar and his sister Rotem are from Israel, where a regional version of the bread – Krantz – rules. Running the cafe together, the dynamic trio are fulfilling a long-held dream. Besides taste and ambiance, sustainability is a top priority, with 90 percent of the bakes made using organic ingredients. Jewish-Israeli specialties include the in-house yeast dough, which rests for up to 48 hours so that the “fodmaps” – which can trigger food intolerances – are broken down.

For me, the highlights are the sweet hazelnut babka with creamy nougat cream and the savory Sabich bagel which masterfully blends the two cuisines. It’s seasoned with zaatar and topped with delicious aubergine and hummus, and like a traditional Jewish bagel, it’s made by soaking the dough in boiling water. With Babka & Krantz, Friedenau has gained what we all want and need: a comfort food haven. 

Text & Photos: Luna Schaffron

Babka & Krantz, Hackerstr.1, 12161 Berlin–Friedenau; map
Tue–Fri 8–18h, Sat & Sun 8–16h

@babkaundkrantz

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THE VEGAN DOLCE VITA — PLANT-BASED ITALIAN PASTRIES AT THE SANCTUARY

THE VEGAN DOLCE VITA — PLANT-BASED ITALIAN PASTRIES AT THE SANCTUARY

If you’ve been to Italy, you’re probably familiar with traditional puff pastries like filled maritozzi, sweet girelle and the croissant-like cornetti. There, locals start their day chatting over sweet treats and espressos – it’s the La Dolce Vita we all dream of. It was this feeling that Federica Fronterre wanted to capture when she opened The Sanctuary, an Italian bakery on Torstraße, in October 2022. The Berlin-based Italian “takes tradition a step forward” by using recipes from her home country and reinventing them using plant-based ingredients. Federica’s pastries are filled with whipped cream made from pea milk and come in a variety of flavors. Whether it’s vanilla, chocolate or pistachio cream you’re after, make sure you stop by first thing in the morning because they sell out quickly. Not the biggest fan of sweet stuff? The Sanctuary also has a selection of savory focaccia and pizza rolls that are just as delicious as the sugary options. The shop’s name, incidentally, comes from the idea of creating a place of inner peace – a cafe where you can sit back and savor a coffee and a bite (or two), Italian style…

Text: Theresa Garwing / Photos: Luna Schaffron

The Sanctuary, Torstr.175, 10115 Berlin–Mitte; map
Wed–Sun 9h30–18h

@thesanctuaryberlin

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MORE THAN A MERINGUE — PERFECT PAVLOVAS AT MARC PATISSERIE IN NEUKÖLLN

MORE THAN A MERINGUE — PERFECT PAVLOVAS AT MARC PATISSERIE IN NEUKÖLLN

In September 2022 a small patisserie opened on Reuterstraße: Marc. Inside are minimalist cabinets where small white tarts are displayed like expensive jewels, garnished with chocolate, pistachios and fruit. Yes: this is a whole shop full of pavlovas. When I first saw this, my heart skipped a beat: when I was little, my mother would make meringues from beaten egg whites left over from other recipes, whipping cream and vanilla to go on top. They tasted how I thought heaven might taste. Many years later, when I was in Paris for the first time, I ordered an unknown dessert and discovered that my mother’s sweet concoction in fact had a name: that of the ballerina Anna Pavlova, whose tutu is the said to be the inspiration for this dessert of meringue, cream and fruit. From then on, I would tell people about my favorite French dessert at every opportunity. I always left out the fact that New Zealand and Australia in fact lay claim to this dessert as their national dish – France just sounded better.

Marc himself has been a presence in Neukölln for a long time: the French pastry chef was a key figure at now-closed cafe Two and Two. Marc’s own shop was designed by Antoine Fichaux, with a lighting concept from Altbeau. At the moment the options are limited to coffee and pavlova, which incidentally was the chef’s signature dessert back in his student days. Will the selection grow? Perhaps, Marc says, but he doesn’t want to promise anything. And he doesn’t have to: these little white tartlets are more than enough to make you happy.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Luna Schaffron

Marc, Reuterstr.53, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map

@marc.patisserie

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