It was a good decade ago this year that the two master bakers Manuel Grundei and Nico Scheller founded their “LOKALBÄCKEREI BROTZEIT” in Grünwald. And thus realised their vision of offering fresh baked goods every day, prepared according to old craft traditions and with organic quality ingredients from the region. Consequently, they then transport them with electric vehicles such as the Nissan eNV200.
Local appointment at the Semmelbackstube in Pullach, a small community south of Munich. Manuel Grundei and Nico Scheller have prepared something. They are the head duo of the “LOKALBÄCKEREI BROTZEIT” – a German-Bavarian nomenclature whose second part is generally considered to be “the most beautiful time” of the day. At least every Bajuware knows this not only from the folk song of the trio “Die 3 lustigen Moosacher” (The 3 Merry Moosachers) with their always popular request “Mach ma Brotzeit…” (Have a snack). Traditionally, this includes at least two pretzels. For all those who do not speak the Bavarian dialect: These are two pieces of salty pastry in a typically looped shape that are dipped in sodium hydroxide solution before baking. The craftsmanship of this pastry design is somehow and anyway not an art. But the insane speed at which the two master bakers go about it is – especially in the eyes of the average pretzel biter.
And anyway, not all pretzels are the same. There are not only huge regional differences. Above all, there are differences in quality. As in the case of this pretzel (as well as all other baked goods) from Manuel and Nico’s local bakery: unlike in an industrial or large bakery, the ingredients here all come not only from the more or less broadly defined Munich region. They also come from certified organic farms. For example, the grain for the flour: it is grown by farmer Amadé Billesberger in Moosinning and bears the Naturland seal. Or the hay milk: it is supplied by the Pilch farm dairy in Eurasburg. They know each other and their work: “This means that the production chain is always traceable, which is extremely important to us,” explains Nico as he brings the last roll of dough into the looped pretzel mould with nimble hands. “Through this direct contact as well as the constant exchange with our suppliers, we can guarantee the high quality of the ingredients and thus, of course, that of our breads and all other baked goods.”
In addition to dispensing with baking agents, premixes and technical enzymes, this also includes the time factor. The long leavening of the natural sourdough of up to 72 hours, which Manuel and Nico estimate for their breads, is rather unusual, but ensures the characteristic crust of the “Braumeister”, “Brotzeitstangerl”, “Pfundskerl” or other loaves. It is similar with the spelt, pumpkin seed or multi-grain sandwiches as well as the “Knepferln” or “Roggerln”.
Back to the pretzel baking: While they dip the curved blanks into the lye, Manuel points out the largely machine-free set-up of the bakery: “We still work in the true tradition of craftsmanship. That means: as little machine use as necessary, as much manual work as possible.” A credo he internalised during his training in an organic country bakery in the east of Munich and which ultimately drove him, together with Nico, to found the “LOKALBÄCKEREI BROTZEIT”: “We didn’t want to work in an industrial baking line, this monotony had no perspective for us. After all, our craft is so traditional and multi-layered: you can be wonderfully creative, develop your own recipes, look for individual ingredients and try them out. In this sense, it was our idea to counteract the trend of the baker’s death. To establish a micro-bakery as a role model for other colleagues.”
In fact, the Grundei-Scheller initiative is also a model in that it has grown into a successful model over the ten years since it was founded in 2011: in addition to the original bakery in Grünwald, the duo and their dedicated team opened another one in the same town in 2016 and took over the location of a family bakery in nearby Pullach in October 2017. All three bakeries offer the full range of products, including the “Bread of the Month” and various sweet and savoury “specials” – also made from the basic organic ingredients, including the obligatory natural sourdough.
The fresh bread assortment is delivered daily to organic markets, selected restaurants and cafés in and around the centre of the state capital. Part of the van fleet is battery-electric, in line with the sustainability concept and the environmental zones. Like the Nissan eNV200, for example, with its compact dimensions ideal for the city and its range of around 170 kilometres predestined for short distances. For delivery in the wider urban environment, however, Nico would like an electric van with a larger load space and longer range for an acceptable price.
This year, the fourth branch in the Oberhaching district of Deisenhofen was the priority for the investments: it will be opened in summer and – like all the others – will not only offer the complete range of bread, but also the possibility to enjoy all the delicacies in an equipped café or on the sun terrace: “After all, our bakeries should also be a meeting place for people in the best tradition,” Nico explains the concept of the local bakery. All the other bakeries also have a cosy café and an outdoor area.
The alarm sounds from the oven: the pretzels are ready. Manuel fishes them out and opens a bag: “Oane oder zwoa… fits? Now it’s time for lunch!
Text: Egbert Schwartz
Pictures: E. Schwartz, Local Bakery Brotzeit