"Road trip!" My sister one evening had suggested that I would perhaps like to see a schaü backerei in Emmental as well a Schaü kaserei too? Sure, why not! We headed off in the morning, no breakfast or coffee and with a growling stomachs to boot, we made our way along the picturesque view of the Alps on our left and the Jura mountains to our right. We then headed towards the Bernese region and turned off the road where road sign indicated Emmental.
I had no idea where or what to expect on this trip, a Disneyland for bakers? So as we passed the old houses with huge roofs, my mind was thinking only of what I would order, was I hungry, yes! We finally arrived in the town of Zollbruck, in front was an old building with the typical Bernese roof,and to the right a huge modern building. Aeschlimann schaübackerei!
Signs for the special breads and müesli were advertised in front of the shop, as we made for the sparkling counter covered with the different pastries and shelves laden with different breads. My nephews and nieces already knew what they wanted, I made a selection and asked for a coffee. We went up some stairs to have a seat and I started to wonder why it was a show bakery when in fact I couldn’t see the bakers? Just then I saw a huge window that gave an overview of what was a huge bakery complex,with a huge oven, tables and mixers. As the bakers busily made there way around the bakery and smiling too, I popped out my camera and started to snap. My sister said the owners wife had told her the bread baking was just about over and now it was pastry production. "No matter," I said, as long as I can see what is going on, snap!
Our coffee and pastries arrived and we dug in, my brother in-law had taken my strong coffee, and I got a milky cappuccino sort of thing with a strange spoon, machts nix! The pastries were a definite Swiss style, the kids got some strange green and chocolate sort of pastry and some pastry horn filled with cream, I can’t even recall what I had as I was transfixed on the whole photo shoot! Below the bakers were preparing cookies and some were loading breads into the ovens, my sister pointed out the zopf bread,(braided loaf) cooling on racks,a partybrot,another baker making braided Russian filled sweet nut bread," I’m in heaven!"
We were getting ready to go as the kids were growing a bit restless, a playground would be a better place to spend some time rather than a bakery! The owners wife was talking to my sister,she introduced me telling her I was a baker,with a website, so she went back down stairs and her husband appeared offering me a tour inside the bakery. Cool!
The owner a young Herr Aeschlimann, took me through the doors behind the counter downstairs and as the glass doors slided open I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka. The familiar smell of yeasty goodies wafted through my nose! As we made our way passed the oven I had just seen, he suggested we first look at the old bakery next door to get a feel of the difference of what was a 5th generation business of the very traditional type to what it is today. The low ceiling and old counters remained in the now ghost like store, a small room was where the breads and confections were once prepared. Herr Aeschlimann told me he had spent a considerable amount of Swiss Francs on building his new facility,2.3 million actually! He shrugged it off in a Bernese fashion saying in another ten years he would have it payed off, no problem! We went back to the new bakery where he showed me various sheeting machines that were computerized and automated. As we passed two of his bakers were l hand forming loaves, he informed them I had a website and I snapped some shots.
He took me to the storage area and the silos where he kept various flours, I asked him about rye flour and he explained that this region primarily used wheat and spelt, rye was more common in the mountainous Valais French speaking region. We went into a really cold refrigeration room where loaves of bread were par cooked, he explained that these breads could be re-baked or finished, that was why I wondered at the color when it seemed they had been taken out quite early. We passed the pastry section and I thanked Herr Aeschlimann again for the tour, I hope to visit again, maybe I can come and learn some Swiss baking here on my next trip!