Danube networkers Brigitte and Wolfgang Doster visited and interviewed Mrs. Theresia Volk, baking woman, and Jürgen Zinsmayer, mayor of Renquishausen near Tübingen.
Hello Mrs Volk, you and many helpers are currently baking for the upcoming baking festival in Renquishausen. Do you have some spare time for us, anyway?
Of course, we just put some breads in the oven, so have some time. Join me for some coffee and freshly baked apple and plum pie.
Thank you very much. Now we can talk a little strengthened. We read about the history of your baking house in your book “So isst Renquishausen” [Eating in Renquishausen].
Thorsten Buhl wrote the chapter on the history, he is a member of the committee for upholding local traditions. Although he is living in Graz, Austria, he is born in Renquishausen and comes here often.
Over there is a stack of wooden logs. I suppose they’re for heating the oven?
Yes, this is spruce wood and the logs are about 1 meter long. The commune provides us with wood, I’m working for the commune and the commune owns the baking house.
How much wood do you need for heating and how often do you bake?
We have two ovens and we need about 30 logs to get it heated. As long as it is still warm, often 15 logs are enough. They burn for about 90 minutes, then the oven is heated to about 350° Celsius. After the wood is burnt down to embers we are at about 260°. To check for the right temperature, I scatter some flour into the oven and look at the discoloration. Afterwards the oven is swept out with a wet broom and is ready for putting in the breads. I bake two days a week, to times each day, respectively.
Do many people bring their dough along for having it baked?
There are about 50 people bringing their dough. Additionally, I myself make dough once a week in a big dough machine which we got from a retired baker. These breads are sold.
When people bring their dough along for baking two women stay and give me a hand. We can bake up to 50 breads in one batch.
How are you organized? Are there lists to subscribe for baking?
We have regulars who are always on the list, they give notice if something comes up. Others have to register.
How much does it cost to get one kilogram of dough baked?
We just raised the price to 95 cents.
What kind of bread do you bake?
Usually we bake bread from wheat, spelt and rye flour. Some people add grains of all sorts, just as they like. For festivities, like the upcoming village festival, we bake yeast bread, pizza, different kinds of sweet cakes and especially “Brittlekuchen”. For Christmas we have also “Hutzelbrot”, Christmas bakegoods and “Springerle”. People also appreciate New Year’s pretzels and lye bread.
That is a great variety! But what is “Brittlekuchen”?
It is a kind of flat bread with holes in it. After baking we spread butter, salt and caraway seeds on it – very tasty!
Besides the regular baking, are there any special events?
Yes, we bake with children from the kindergarten, from elementary schools, for vacation programs, for Holy Communion, with clubs and companies. In the baking house, we have restrooms and enough space to bake in the winter.
Mrs Volk, we don’t want to hold you off any longer. Many of your recipes can be found in your book “So isst Renquishausen”. Thank you very much for your time!