Endorphina Backkunst is a small organic bakery located in Berlin Neukölln, which has followed the slow food movement by having used high-quality, locally sourced ingredients for over 20 years. Its handcrafted breads are free from any preservatives and based on homemade sourdough, which has to rest for up to 18 hours. We talked with Richard Krebbers, marketing manager for the company, who gave us an insider’s view into the traditional ways of the bakery trade.
"We don´t see food as something that you just need.
In terms of health and well-being, it´s probably the most important factor in our lives. So we want to put as much time and love as possible into the preparation of our bread."
How did it all begin?
Richard: Jochen and Wolfgang, the two founders of Endorphina Backkunst, met back in the 1980s, when they were part of a collective named “Backstube” – the first organic wholegrain bakery in Berlin. Over the years, they started to experiment with their own products, and, in 2000, they founded their own bakery called “Ciabatoni”, which was later renamed “Endorphina Backkunst”. In 2007, Katharina Rottmann, our managing director, joined the team. She implemented a strong focus on transparency with the aim of showcasing our traditional baker´s trade to the public. Today, as back then, the preparation of the doughs and the further processing is performed by hand. Only the basic machinery is used, such as scales, dough mixers and ovens. We don´t see food as something that you just need. In terms of health and well-being, it´s probably the most important factor in our lives. So we want to put as much time and love as possible into the preparation of our bread.
"As part of the slow food movement, our aim is to support small regional producers and to return to the agricultural tradition of the region."
Your production is based on the slow food movement. What exactly does that mean?
Richard: In the manufacture of our products, we only use high-quality ingredients from local producers. The flour we use comes from a mill in Brandenburg, who get their grain from organic farmers from the surrounding area. Eggs are bought from a local farmer, with whom we maintain a long, close relationship. And all our milk is purchased from the delivery service of Markthalle Neun, which offers fresh regional products from small, independent farms. Thus, we can support our domestic agriculture, and we know exactly where our ingredients come from. In addition, we pay above-average prices for the raw materials used, but try to keep the selling prices as low as possible. We want our bread to be affordable for everyone.
Why is it important for you to use grain from local, organic farming?
Richard: We don´t want to use raw materials that are damaging to the environment and contain fewer vitamins, due to their long journey around the globe. Neither do we want to work with conventionally cultivated grain, which contains harmful ingredients because of the use of pesticides. As part of the slow food movement, our aim is to support small regional producers and to return to the agricultural tradition of the region.
What are some of the most important aspects of how modern farming and industrial baking have affected the quality of bread?
Richard: Nowadays, farmers work with a lot of chemicals to increase their crop yield. These chemicals have a negative effect on our environment and, when consumed, on our health too. Besides using inferior quality flour, industrial bakeries also use different emulsifiers and preservatives in order to mass-produce long-lasting bread, and to replace the time-consuming, expensive sourdough. Not infrequently, bread is dyed with malt or even with caramel to obscure the fact that there´s not a single whole grain in the bread.
How do your breads differ from conventionally produced ones?
Richard: As our name suggests, we see baking as an art. Every morning we sell the loaves we´ve produced at night. We don´t offer freshly baked goods every hour like many bakeries, who work with frozen goods – a 24-hour desire which can be served only through the use of preservatives.
At Endorphina Backkunst, we completely dispense with preservatives and emulsifiers. We give the bread, and especially the dough, the time that it needs to grow and to evolve. We use sourdough as the basis for all our breads, with the exception of our toast bread. This is particularly good for allergy sufferers and makes the nutritional value significantly higher than that of industrially produced bread.
"Transparency has a very high value for us.
It means honesty, trust and a close bond with our
suppliers and customers."
What is your favorite Endorphina bread?
Richard: The newly introduced 2 kg Swedish bread. It only contains water, wheat flour, salt and three different kinds of sourdough. It has a light and fresh taste and can be served as sweet or savory.
What does transparency mean to you?
Richard: Our bakery is designed in such a way that customers can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the everyday routine. It doesn´t matter at what time you come by, you´ll always see somebody preparing or baking something delicious. Transparency has a very high value for us. It means honesty, trust and a close bond with our suppliers and customers.
Additional info about Endorphina Backkunst can be found .
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Photos: THE FRANK STORY