Interview by Wolfgang Doster on 21/04/2018
Mr. Knörrlein, your company has existed since 1900, for 5 generations now. Has it always been clear that you will join in? Originally not, I worked as a metalworker for another firm. After the master degree, I joined my father’s firm at the age of 29. My father is one of the last trained oven-builder with a craftsman’s diploma.
Is oven-builder still a trained profession? No, this profession has become extinct. Today’s alternative is oven and air heating builder.
How has the firm developed? In 1994/1995 it was only my father and me. After having taken over the leading role, I expanded the business by a general metal building branch and now I have four employees.
On your website www.backofen.de it says that you offer baking ovens made of steel and traditional ovens. That’s right. Both versions do not differ from the inside. The corpus around the oven is different.
You also sell assembly kits for baking ovens. Why? So far, we have only built baking ovens for professional use, for bakers or municipalities. The private demand is growing. People want to bake on their own with the ingredients they choose. This trend is growing steadily. We are currently developing a small, appealing oven in a steel corpus for private use which we will offer apart from the assembly kits.
How long can a wood-fired oven be in use? Usually, our ovens can be used over generations. The only consumable is the cover of the stove. It lasts several years for a baker who uses the oven approx. 15 times per week. We then renew it.
Can you name an order which we can use as a reference? At Brot-Haus (“bread house”) www.brot-haus.de in Burgbernheim we installed 8 wood-fired ovens. They are visible to all customers behind a glass façade.
Do you bake yourself? What do you like the most? Yes, I have baked regularly for two years now. Bread and 3-grain-buns made from spelt, rye and wheat flour.
When you retire, will there be a successor? As I have made the decision at the age of 29 to join the company, I do not expect a decision from my children yet.
Mr. Knörrlein, we would like to thank you for the interview and the photos and wish you and your company much success for the future.