6th July 2017
Interview with Paul Bailer, owner of the Wood Oven Bakery, Achstetten
Carmen Stadelhofer, Bertram Wegemer, Franz Flock, Wolfgang Doster
Question: Mr. Bailer, you run a big baking company today… How did you get there?
I’m a trained baker. After the apprenticeship, I baked bread with a small wood oven in a small garage. This hobby soon led to self-employment. Today I sell bread on weekly markets.
You bake bread every week. How do you bake it and how do you sell it?
I sell at 10 weekly markets. I have 3 big vending carts and a small, older vehicle. I bake some 1000 breads per week, approximately 100 kg of bread can be baked at the same time in my oven.
Which basic ingredients do you use, where do you get them from?
I use flour from a small mill in Grundsheim. I buy between 100 and 200 litres of milk from a farmer. My ingredients are transparent; I display the recipes on my website. My raisins always have the best quality. I use flour, salt, water, yeast, sour dough and curd. I bake 9 – 12 products, also pastries.
You solely bake with wood ovens. How does that work?
In a wood oven, you can bake different things one after the other. The oven measures 3.5 x 3 metres. There is a baking space that you light from the front. In the dirty area, a separate room, the ash comes out. You don’t have wood, dust or ashes in the baking room.
The first heating of the oven needs 2.5 hours, later less. Heated on 400 degrees, then let rest for half an hour. Firstly, I bake bread, buns and seelen. Then yeast pretzels, buns with raisins twice, then yeast wreath and then nut breads.
How is your company organized?
We bake from 23:00 to 10:00 or 12:00. A baker works at night. You have to love the job. I employ 5 bakers and up 32 temporary employees – especially in the sale team – in busy times (Easter, Whitsun, October to Christmas). Now, when it’s hot, people don’t buy big amounts of wood oven bread.
Who buys your bread?
As soon as people have children, they care about a healthy diet. The older generation is more health-conscious.
What happens with leftovers of bread?
Everything consumed is net profit, throwing it away is a loss. I give them to inns or freeze them and then sell them to inns for a cheaper price.
There are many products where nothing is left over. Some products may be sold by 12 o’clock.
Here, we can see one of your vending carts. How does that work?
I used to have simple stands. Then I bought a trailer and built it with 1 – 2 ovens. I built 3 trailers myself. I am outside 365 days a year so there are problems during the cold season.
Today I have a complete vending cart which was very expensive and tailor-made for me. It is in Ulm every Saturday. I have some more carts which are a bit smaller.
I heat up the oven at 3 a.m. and then drive to the market with the hot oven. A cold oven smokes which is very unpopular on a market.
Achstetter Holzofenbeck“, Rotgässle 19, 88480 Achstetten, www.achstetterholzofenbeck.de/