Beer and bread: two things Germany does really, really well. While the former tends to be crisp and thirst-quenching, the latter spans a heavenly spectrum from sweet and chewy to rich, dark and nutty. With a burgeoning artisan scene here in Berlin, there are now many dangerously tempting bakeries to choose from. But for the crème de la crème, we recommend this selection – from Nordic to kosher and tiny, family-run institutions promising an array of sticky treats. Here’s the lowdown on Berlin’s best bakeries. Mmmm.
The secret to magical sourdough is to let the yeast work for over 24 hours, says Frank Domberger, the devoted baker who opened his Moabit shop in 2017. Whatever the exact alchemy – it’s working. With a refreshingly simple selection on offer, people queue to sample the three types of bread, one roll, two cakes (with or without apples) and a perfect pretzel. Seven products of exceptional quality.
Essener Str. 11, Moabit | Tel: 030 23560471 | Mon 3pm-6.30pm, Tue, Wed, Thu 8am-6.30pm, Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 8am-1pm | www.domberger-brot-werk.com
Sironi – Il Pane di Milano
Bread is a complicated subject – precisely because it seems so simple. At least that’s how Alfredo Sironi sees it, saying philosophically „bread is more than a staple food, it’s a symbol“. Living by this mantra, Sironi can be found at a place that is almost symbolic of the integrative power of bread: Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg. This is where his much-vaunted Pane di Milano, the bread of his childhood, and an incredibly moist, loosely-baked Focaccia alla Genovese, for which Sironi imports stone-ground wheat flour from Italy, are made.
Eisenbahnstr. 42/43, Kreuzberg | Tel: 577 09 46 61 | Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Thu until 10pm, Sat 8am-7pm | https://www.facebook.com/sironi.de
Brot & Butter
In the Berlin branch of high-end delicatessen and department store Manufactum in Charlottenburg, fresh bread is baked every day. Some consider the sourdough bread – and the walnut variation – to be the city’s finest. Beautifully chewy and textured within, its trademark is the dark, strong crust. Just as wonderful are the sponge cakes.
Hardenbergstr. 4/5, Charlottenburg | Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm | www.manufactum.de
If you’re after a loaf of diligently-made challah, head to Stefan Kädtler’s Prenzlauer Berg bakery. As Berlin’s only kosher bread station, Bäckerei Kädtler offers a delectable range of sweet and savoury treats from traditional breads to cherry-marzipan croissants. Established in 1935, the family business combines the bustle of a medium-sized company with quality awareness and dedicated craftsmanship. The bakery’s non-kosher offerings are distinguished by thoughtful labelling.
Danziger Str. 135, Prenzlauer Berg | Mon-Fri 6am-6.30pm, Sat 7am-12pm | Tel: 030 4233233 | www.kaedtler.de
There’s something extremely reassuring about knowing a bakery has been family-owned for four generations. The current boss, master baker Nils Siebert, is the great-grandson of the original founder. In the small kitchen directly behind the shop, a dozen types of bread emerge fresh from the oven each morning. But quality comes at a price: the Saturday queue often stretches to the next street corner.
Schönfließer Str. 12, Prenzlauer Berg | Tel: 030 4457576 | Tue-Fri 6.15am-6.30pm | Sat 6am-12.30pm | www.baeckerei–siebert.de
The Bread Station
As we all know, pretty much everything that filters down from Scandinavia is great. Hailing from the Danish capital, this compact little establishment on the Kreuzkölln canal does what other new(ish) bakers in Berlin have already done: focus on fresh, rustic ingredients and only a few, signature types of bread. Where the Bread Station stands out among its artisan contemporaries is with its grainy wholemeal bread and chocolate-laced cinnamon swirls. Unreal.
Maybachufer 20, Neukölln | Tel: 030 70220200 | Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat+Sun 8am-4pm | www.facebook.com/thebreadstationberlin
Zeit für Brot
Head baker Pierre Stelling works his magic behind a glass pane – and sells oven-fresh treats to a hungry breakfast crowd accompanied by sausages, cheese and jam. But Stelling’s signature dish is, and always will be, the Zimtschnecke – a doughy swirl oozing cinnamon sugar. Despite further offshoots in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne, this remains a decidedly artisan business and one of the best bakeries in Berlin.
Alte Schönhauser Str. 4, Mitte | Tel: 030 28 04 67 80 | Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 8am-6pm | www.zeitfuerbrot.com
The huge clay oven in the middle of this quaint little shop is the heart of the SoLuna philosophy. Its natural wood fire gives the hearty round loaf, a two-kilo rye sourdough bread with an unusually high sourdough content of 50 percent, its characteristic aroma. SoLuna is also a convincing example of the new significance of bread culture in upscale cuisine. After the early death of Berlin bread pioneer Peter Klann, star chef Michael Hoffmann took over the bakery. At weekends you can pick up the delicious loaves at Kreuzberg’s Markthalle Neun.
Gneisenaustr. 58, Kreuzberg | Tel. 030 61671191 | Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 8am-4pm | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soluna-Brot
Rheinische Bäckerei Mälzer
Klaus Mälzer’s approach to baking is as purist as it gets. To see what we mean, head to Steglitz for some truly delicious bread made with rye, salt, water – and nothing else. Mälzer sees the arduous sourdough production process as a badge of honour, and would never dream of compromising his hard-earned reputation by cutting corners. Undoubtedly the finest bread destination in the southwest of Berlin, they have five more branches between Lankwitz and Wilmersdorf.
Ahornstr. 16a, Steglitz | Tel: 030 792 32 30 | Mon-Fri 6.30am-6.30pm, Sat 6.30am-1pm, Sun 8am-12pm | www.baeckerei-maelzer.de
Bäckerei Waltraud Balzer
80-something Waltraud Balzer made quite a name for herself in recent years, unable as she was to find a suitable successor for her traditional bakery in Mitte. Despite all the hype about artisan bread, handcrafted baking remains a tough job. Now run by Manuel Schulze, visitors should not be fooled by the inconspicuous appearance of this little place – every kiez needs a bakery like this.
Sophienstr. 30/31, Mitte | Tel: 030 2826537 | Mon-Sat 9am-6.30pm
A pioneer among Berlin’s organic bakeries, Endorphina is based in a charming Neukölln courtyard with stalls at many of the city’s weekly markets. Whether it’s spelt croissants, crusty baguettes or wedding cakes you’re after, all products are carefully made by hand. The bakers pass this wealth of knowledge on to their apprentices in a tradition-conscious way. The ‘open bakery’ takes place regularly and gives an insight into the daily workings of a modern bakery.
Elsenstr. 52, Neukölln | Tel. 030 29047303 | Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat+Sun 9am-4pm | www.endorphina.de