A love letter to microbakeries
The beauty of our daily bread
We all have little things that bring us moments of joy throughout our days. Some of us need our morning exercise or a morning coffee or tea. For me, having bread at home is deeply important. There is something about a beautiful loaf of bread made with love and care by a local baker. As a child, my father would drive 20 kilometers every Sunday to get his favorite bread. It was from a small restaurant that would bake its own crunchy white loaf. Obtaining this weekly loaf is still a deep-rooted part of his routine.
© Freja Mikrobaekerei
My father-in-law also has his bread round. Every time we visit him, he gets up very early to get a Pain Paillasse from the village bakery. There is something about this bread that I can never resist. I’ll start off having one slice and the next thing I know, I’ve eaten eight tartines! Other large bakeries have attempted to mass produce these loaves of bread, but we all know it isn’t the same. They have to cut corners, take shortcuts and add preservatives and unnecessary sugar. This might be beneficial for feeding the masses, but the simple and beautiful tradition of breadmaking is lost.
This is why microbakeries are important to me. Not only do they remind me of my childhood, but they connect us to traditions over hundreds of years. I have greater trust in the craftsmanship of these local bakeries, and I find that breads from these businesses stay fresh much longer than ones you find in the supermarket.
© Freja Mikrobaekerei
The attention that microbakeries put into their bread is one of love and care. One of my favorite microbakeries is Freja, located in Oerlikon, a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland. Sarah Asseel is the woman behind this magical bakery and a dear friend of mine. Every ingredient that goes into her bread is local and intentional. The organic flours that she uses are sourced from a ninth-generation run mill. Even her salt from Sel des Alpes is a part of Swiss history dating back to 1554.
All of Freja’s breads are made from sourdough which is a centuries-old baking method. This fermentation process not only makes the bread more digestible but ensures a delicious loaf. She is filled with endless creativity, constantly pushing herself to find new recipes and flavors from rum brioche to IPA bread. My favorite is the house bread by the name Freja. You can have her bread delivered (by bike), or there is also the option for you to pick it up in person in Oerlikon. Either directly where the loaves come to life, or at a few chosen locations: Brauerei Oerlikon, Rent-a-Barista in Wipkingen or Le Petit Marais in Altstetten. Her goal is to one day open a small bread shop in order to reach more people and gain meaningful connections with her customers. Be sure to follow Freja on Instagram @freja_mikrobaeckerei.
What Freja offers is irreplaceable. It is more than bread; it's a hug from a loved one.
If you have other great recommendation on where to find delicious bread, please leave a comment below! Check back for more related articles about the magic of routines and sustainable small businesses.
Julie / 06.2023
Oh I didn’t know FREA had a bakery! Thanks for sharing! I love also the bread from Neumanns in Berlin
Pia / 06.2023
Zeit für Brot (Frankfurt & Berlin), AERA (Berlin), and FREA Bakery (Berlin) are my go-tos for slowly and carefully prepared bread that tastes like a hug :)