Since opening his first store in 2019, young baker Julius Brantner has become a big name in Munich’s food scene. I caught up with him at his new store to chat everything from crusts to compliments.
In hindsight, Saturday morning wasn’t the best time to schedule an interview with a busy baker. Ovens were beeping, the coffee machine was whirring and a queue snaked out of the door.
But in a quieter moment, Julius – dressed in his trademark white t-shirt and shorts – emerged from the baking studio and offered me a seat between boxes of fresh bread and flour-dusted worktops.
“I’ve been here since 2am,” he tells me. He doesn’t look tired but still I ask him when he sleeps. “I normally head home in the afternoon,” he explains, “but only once I’ve visited the other bakery in Nordendstr.”
Julius is currently based at his recently opened second location in the old town but he likes to keep an overview of both: “I can’t relax otherwise!” he jokes. I get the impression he’d spend all his time at work if he could.
A cut above the rest
Julius comes from a generation of bakers but decided not to take over the family business in the Black Forest. Instead, he travelled the world before cautiously opening his own place in Munich in 2019.
Despite his passion, know-how and experience, he never anticipated the success that followed. Just months after opening, his bread featured on menus at many of the city’s top restaurants and was pulling people away from the comfort of their own neighbourhoods.
I glance at the queue and see everyone from families with small children to old people clutching canvas Hofpfisterei bags. “I’ve been told by a number of customers that my bread tastes like it used to,” he says.
“There is no greater compliment.”
A new look
The diversity of his clients is even more impressive if you consider his initial target audience (young people) and the feel of his stores. Both locations have a minimalist modern design and the not-so-common option to pay by card.
There’s also music – which isn’t quiet. During our chat, Julius occasionally glances at his phone and changes the track. “We normally listen to techno during the day and meditative trance during the early morning baking sessions,” he says. Watching his team working methodically and calmly, I can see how the beats fit the mood.
The fab five
The other key difference to “normal” bakeries is the number of products available. When customers reach the front of the line, they’ll only find a few options showcased on wooden blocks on a large marble counter.
Just five classics (three loaves and two rolls) are baked every day, along with a varying daily special bread from Tuesday to Friday. The Nordendstr. branch also has sweet options such as the fast-selling cinnamon and cardamon rolls on Wednesday and organic butter croissants from Thursday to Saturday.
While the inspiration for the display came from a bakery in Melbourne, the limited assortment reflects his own thinking.
“Good dough takes a lot of work,” he explains, “and I’d rather focus on five than twenty.” Variations in weather, wheat and water all influence the quality and qualities of the dough and are monitored closely by Julius and his team. He also doesn’t want to rush the baking process: “Flour and water need to get to know each other to stay together!”
Bio Brothandwerk 25
For those new to the bakery, a good place to start is the signature bake. Bio Brothandwerk 25 – a name inspired by both his birthday and the address of his first bakery – is a crusty loaf made using organic sourdough that rests for 48 hours before being baked at 260 degrees. The top-seller is also a personal favourite of Julius.
He cuts open a loaf to try, using his finger to scoop out the inside like butter. He gives me another to take home. While it will stay fresh for five days, I’ve eaten most of it before I reach my front door. It seems spending an hour in a bakery makes you pretty hungry.
Nordendstraße 23, 80801 München
Kreuzstraße 1, 80331 München