Last week we had the pleasure of savoring another round of “Berlin’s Best Bread”, tasting sourdoughs, toasts, and multi-grain breads from the finest bakeries in the city to find the most delicious of them. A carb-feast celebrated by a jury of bread-lovers, with samples from artisanal bakeries judged in two categories by many criteria and loads of discussions. In the end we had two winners, however, almost all of the submitted baked goods were of very good quality. So while you enjoy reading the following ranking, keep in mind that all of the bakeries are worth a visit, pursuing traditional and artisanal bread baking. But for now, let yourself be surprised who won this year’s Berlin’s Best Bread!
This year, I was joined by Cathrin Brandes, food consultant, writer of Berlin Tidbits and founder of Speisenclub Neukölln; Malin Elmlid, Swedish baker, initiator of Bread Exchange and a book with the same title; Kavita Meelu, initiator of Street Food Thursday, Breakfast Sunday and host of Mother’s Mother dinner club;Luisa Weiss, food-blogger and author par excellence; Florian Duijsens, writer for this very blog and carb lover extraordinaire; and Jessica Jungbauer, my precious assistant and author of Best Wishes from Berlin.
Beforehand, we voted for a shortlist of bakeries we’d like to include, all artisanal bakeries with production facilities in Berlin, many of them organic, and also agreed to judge the breads in two categories. The first one simply called “Best Breads”, where we asked the bakeries to submit what they thought is their best bread. We received a lot of different breads, naturally, some classic German multi-grain breads baked in a tin, some very white, some filled with nuts and seeds. It might seem hard to compare those given that they were so different, but handing the bakery the decision which bread they considered their masterpiece proved to be working: as different as they were, some stood out.
The second category was called “Basic Breads” – not to be confused with the more popular “basic b….” and not as in “bland” or “irrelevant”, but as in: simple, modest, pure. We allowed only 3 ingredients (plus water and salt) and only sourdough (no yeast, no Backferment). To fill this category proved to be much harder for most bakeries and thus we received only four entries. However, we found that restriction very exciting and enjoyed some excellent baking artistry.
And, here we go! The jury ranked the breads according to taste, crumb and crust, structure, smell and looks. Enjoy the results!
Runner Up: Sironi – Il Pane Di Sironi
A beautiful round and golden white bread made by the Italian bread artists from Markthalle Neun, made with semolina, barley malt and wheat sourdough. As last year, we loved the crunchy and delicious crust, the fluffy structure. Or, as Kavita put it: “This sophisticated bread is basic enough to fulfill all my bread needs, it’s as great with fruity olive oil as it is with sweet jam or as the base for a hearty Abendbrot. And of course my favorite to slurp up dinner plate juices”. A great bread you should instantly taste if you haven’t already. Get it here.
Winner: Soluna – Rundling
This almost classic German sourdough bread won our hearts instantly, made from 100% rye flour, salt and sourdough, it has a crunchy crust and a moist crumb with fine holes and a deliciously sour taste. Malin especially loved the contrast of the sour crumb in contrast to the slightly charred, sweet crust. The decision was unanimous – This is Berlin’s Best Basic Bread of 2015 and after the baker was revealed everyone was very happy to see Soluna back on top after last year, when they were troubled by forces outside their control. Get it here.
BEST OF BREAD
As said, for this category the bakeries were allowed to submit whatever they wanted, we were asking them to field a candidate they thought would be able to beat all the other breads. These are the breads we received that didn’t place in the top five: Alpenstück’s carrot and walnut bread, Ben’s Bakery’s walnut and sunflower seed filled Everest that’s available at LPG, Beumer&Lutum’s Schweizer Brot (that placed 2nd last year in the “white bread” category and is still a favorite for a Sunday toast with honey), Brotgarten’s classic German multi-grain bread and Soluna’s beautiful elongated Walchenbrot.
And here are the top five:
#5 Endorphina – Couronne
An elegant ring of rye flour, wholewheat, semolina, some yeast, and sourdough, that would look lovely in any bread basket. But not only that, with its moist crumb and gentle flavor it’d make a perfect dinner bread. Get it here.
#4 Zeit für Brot – Vollkorn-Saftkorn-Brot
Just look at this beautifully embellished crust with loads of seeds and you know why this was a receiving high grades – made of whole grain rye, sourdough, spelt, flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sesame and oats. The very rich textures and crunchy crust will have this one stay fresh and delicious for a long time. Pair it with butter only and you have a great meal. Get it here.
#3 Dresdner Feinbäckerei – Walnussbrot
Going all the way out to Friedrichshagen to get one of Dresdner Feinbäckerei’s walnut’s breads seems like a lot ask but is certainly worth the time. We had several walnut breads in the competition, but the roasted nuts of this number won us all over with their intense flavor and balanced taste. However, it totally doesn’t look like it – a bit small, a bit pale, a bit average, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving: this one’s super delicious (That’s also the reason there wasn’t much left when we photographed the bread). Get it here. And get some of their scrumptious Teilchen (sweet pastry) once you’re there.
#2 Sironi – Il Pane di Sironi
Another great runner-up slot for our favorite Italian baker from Markthalle Neun – Alfredo Sironi submitted his masterpiece, the wonderful round Il Pane di Sironi in both categories and scored equally high. Get it here. And don’t forget to try their Focaccia. Especially the sweet one with cinnamon!
WINNER Weichardt Brot – Leinsamen-Weizenbrot
Wait, what? Didn’t they… Yes, they did. Weichardt Brot from Wilmersdorf won last year’s Dark Bread category and they won again with a beautiful tin loaf that wooed us with its crazy good shiny crust and the velvety crumb filled with nutty flaxseeds. Since the bread tasting was done anonymously, it was a lot of fun to see the jury slowly agreeing on this one (though everyone voted for themselves) and the surprised looks on their faces when the winner was revealed. Weichardt Brot is a damn fine bakery and they proved it once again. Congratulations! Pay them a visit and get the winner of this year and last’s here.
Woohoo, that was it for this year! Enjoy your carbs!