In the village of Beuren there are two bakehouses: The Upper and the Lower Bakehouse.
The Lower Bakehouse (Unteres Backhaus) was built in the mid of the 19th century and used until 2010. Due to technical problems it can no longer be used. However, in order to keep the village’s baking tradition alive, the building will be preserved.
The Lower Bakehouse
The Upper Bakehouse (Oberes Backhaus) formerly equipped with a vaulted oven was renovated in 2017. The new oven with two doors is heated with wood, bundles of brushwood and small branches, or firewood. The installation of a post-combustion system will reduce the smoke nuisance for the neighborhood.
The oven is big enough for 40 traditional one-kilogram loaves of bread.
About 15 families use the bakehouse. Everyone who regularly bakes has a key and is responsible for the entire activity including the cleaning. The new oven produces few ashes, so that the local public services have to empty the large ash containers only once or twice a year.
The Upper Bakehouse and the new oven
Nadine lives close by, and every now and then she looks after the bakehouse – on behalf of the municipality. Whenever newcomers want to bake, Nadine takes over and teaches the apprentices.
For optimum public use the Upper Bakehouse is equipped with a toilet, table, chairs and a worktable to knead the dough.
We met Mrs. Buck, who bakes together with her daughter-in-law. They bake 15 loaves each, and they store most of them in their freezers. Mrs. Buck uses high-quality flour (type 1050) to bake spelt bread as well as white bread.
To heat the oven, she uses “Krähle” (bundles of brushwood and small branches) which she brings along with her trolley.
„Krähle“ in a trolley and in the oven
The oven is pre-heated to 400 degrees centigrade, for the baking 280 – 300 degrees are required. Mrs. Buck uses rising baskets and a baker’s shovel to put the dough into the oven. Others use a “Schapf”, a kind of ladle, to place their baking goods in the oven without accident.
During the second Beuren Bread Market in 2018 a total of 160 loaves of bread were baked. The local music association has a dough mixer for 35 kilograms of flour, which makes the dough kneading much easier.
Translation: Eberhard Eisler