Bäckerhaus Veit Interview: How to Fuse Old World Craftsmanship with New World Technology

Bäckerhaus Veit brings the European bread heritage in America and Canada. They are backed by over 85 years of experience in making European bread and recipes. It all began in a small village near Stuttgart, Germany in 1927. Now, they are offering over 200 varieties of the finest handcrafted breads, rolls and pretzel products, baked in their stone hearth and rack ovens using nutritious ingredients and time-tested family recipes. The family-owned artisan bakery explains that it “fuses old world craftsmanship with new world technology”. To find out more about their products, story and strategy, WorldBakers.com spoke with Camille Krupa, director of marketing Bäckerhaus Veit Ltd.

How would you define “artisan bread”?

Camille Krupa: Artisan bread throughout history is the staff of life — it crosses boundaries, borders, time zones and cultures. It provides more than sustenance. It brings people together to share and foster a caring community. Integral to that are the skilled bakers who ensure Bäckerhaus Veit bread continuously delivers a delicious and nutritious eating experience, whether it’s hand crafted or made with the time and energy-saving advantages of our state-of-the-art technology.

What are the challenges of creating the perfect artisan bread?

CK: When you craft artisan bread made with traditional recipes, you’re working with a living, breathing thing where time and temperature are critical. Many variables must be monitored and cared for to deliver a nutritious and memorable eating experience. For example, the flour coming from the mill will always have seasonal variations that are only seen once mixing starts. Processing a dough without the use of artificial chemicals and additives means that the experience of the team involved in making the product comes into play so they make small adjustments to ensure the end product delivers on our quality artisan bread promise.

Many bakers are proud of their recipes or special approaches when it comes to their bread. What is Bäckerhaus Veit’s secret?

CK: At Bäckerhaus Veit, we do more than make great bread. We are guided in all that we do by the ideals of traditional artisan bread making – willingness to share, to act as one community with common goals and to never offer anyone less than our best. Marry that with ingredients free of artificial flavors and colors, a longer, gentle dough process and higher hydration and you get artisan bread that stands out from the crowd.

What is the most important part of the bread making process for your company? Is it in the ingredients, the fermentation process or something else?

CK: There is no one part of the process that stands out from the rest, and that includes everything from engaging with customer partners to packing and shipping our artisan bread. Our team never offers less than our best, whether selecting quality ingredients, or mixing, proofing and baking our breads just in time to ensure the freshest solution for our customers.

When we look at crafting artisan breads, buns, rolls and pretzels in small batches, our bakers pay particular attention to the temperature of the dough and the time for each step from mixing to proofing to baking. Using only the finest ingredients also ensures Bäckerhaus Veit products deliver a great tasting, nutritious eating experience.

The company has a history of over 85 years. What does bread mean to Bäckerhaus Veit now?

CK: We are grounded in all we do by the traditions of artisan bread making which is as important today as it was when we started. We craft our bread and grow our business with integrity. The choices we make when expanding our capacity never sacrifice product quality. We always find ways to grow and improve, never wavering from the traditions of time-honored artisan bread making.

What does working with sourdough starters mean to your company?

CK: Sourdoughs have a long history in German bread making, rye sours specifically. With our German origins, we intimately understand the steps it takes in any given timeframe to hold pre-doughs and sourdoughs in readily available quantities for production. In addition, many of our products have dough process times reaching well past 24 hours, this means tracking the quality of the sourdoughs throughout the entire process.

Where does Bäckerhaus Veit sell most of its products?

CK: Bäckerhaus Veit artisan breads, buns, rolls and pretzels are available across North America. We are well regarded as a premium, private label artisan bread supplier to any and all channels that sell and incorporate memorable and nutritious bread in their daily offerings.

What dynamics do you anticipate for this market for the following years?

CK: We believe the opportunities are endless as we cater to the world as a private label manufacturer. Customers continue to demand better quality, nutritious products as their consumers become more aware and are demanding clean, quality products from them. Premium artisan breads crafted in the traditional way delivers that delicious and nutritious eating experience.

What is your advice for preservation and extension of the shelf life of artisan bread?

CK: The words shelf life and artisan bread should really not be in used in the same sentence. Usability and performance are the important considerations. The crumb and crust of the bread, roll or pretzel must complement the protein on a sandwich or hold up in the kitchen to be enjoyed with every meal. It’s about how the bread holds the ingredients together.

Artisan breads baked on stone hearth ovens, like those that we use at Bäckerhaus Veit, are popular for sandwiches as they have a firm crust that keeps the ingredients in the sandwich without falling apart. While flour, water and salt is all your bread needs, you also want to win consumers over with the perfect crumb, texture and bite, and a degree of resilience so it does not tear easily. Bread that’s made following traditional recipes and processes, a mix of clean ingredients and good crumb structure, results in a delicious and nutritious eating experience without the use of artificial additives, flavors and colors.

Bäckerhaus Veit has certifications for vegan and Kosher products. Why did the company decided to make steps in this direction?

CK: Bäckerhaus Veit is grounded in the ideals of traditional artisan bread making. Our Vegan certification is a natural evolution of that as it reflects the way bread is meant to be, free of animal products like milk and egg. Kosher is similar as it represents neutral foods that contain neither meat nor dairy.

Another tradition in crafting artisan bread is working together as one community. As part of that, our Kosher certification supported our customer partner’s ability to serve a specific consumer segment that recognized the quality the Kosher designation provided as it reflects the commitment to quality and tradition they are looking for.

What is the profile of your typical consumer?

CK: Artisan bread offers such a variety of tastes and textures that it truly appeals to everyone. A hearty multigrain Panini with a strong crumb and firm crust is perfect for a grab and go sandwich. Our traditional Bavarian Soft Pretzel crosses occasions from breakfast to an afternoon snack to a late night treat. Whether they’re a busy on-the-go mom looking for a nutritious, quick alternative for the family, or a group of friends gathering to share a meal, artisan bread provides a great tasting option.

Photo source: http://www.backerhausveit.com 

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