If there is one thing that Berliners, and in fact Germans everywhere, cannot live without, it is their bread. Bread is a staple at nearly every meal; it’s always on the table, always in the house. Berliners line up to get their bread nearly every morning. And they are very particular about what kind of bread they buy. The pappy white bread popular in America is not tolerated in Berlin, except perhaps as bread for toasting: the real deal is the dark, dense, chewy round loaves dusted with flour or studded with caraway seeds. Even chain bakeries like Thurmann, sell only this type of heavy, crusty bread. This is the satisfying, filling stuff that Berliners want, and its widely available, so when in Berlin, this is the kind of bread you eat.
But Germany is also equally passionate about other kinds of baked goods, and with good reason. The tasty treats that are on offer in most Berlin bakeries are enough to make anyone swoon. Tortes,tarts, buns, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pastries and pies, and all manner of other magnificent sweet things make for delicious eating. One can hardly pick up the daily loaf of bread without also sneaking a few treats for later into the shopping bag as well.
So to make sure you aren’t missing out on any of the good stuff, here is a list of some of Berlin’s best bakeries. This list can help you choose which bakery you want to try out, but when you get to the counter and have to choose which delicious loaf and which scrumptious pastry – well, you’re on your own!
#1 Zeit für Brot
If you are on the hunt for a luscious piece of cake, a big salty pretzel, or any number of toothsome, sweet, and sticky cinnamon buns, then look no further than Zeit fur Brot. This cafe and bakery in Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood offers good coffee, great sweet treats, and a very friendly atmosphere for indulging your sweet tooth and enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon break from the hustle and bustle of running errands or meeting with friends. The communal tables outside make for a great way to meet a new friend on a sunny day.
This is a charming little place nestled between Spandau and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the west of Berlin. Healthy, hearty loaves of Vollkorn (whole grain) bread are on offer here, as well as delicious poppy-seed torte, Lebkuchen, almond cookies and pastries. They make a mean espresso, and their Kaffee Milch, a milky coffee beverage beloved in Berlin, hits the spot. Order a peppermint or chamomile tea, and you’ll get it in a charming glass cup with a woolen cup holder to protect your digits from the heat. Adjacent to the bakery is a great storeroom of organic grains, muesli, and other dried goods for purchase. If you are in the neighbourhood, Brot Garten is not to be missed.
3. Wiener Brot
Wiener Brot has every kind of bread you could possibly imagine and then some. Sourdough rolls, big, fluffy buns, baguettes, boules and braided loaves are all on offer at this sweet little bakery. This is actually a bit of a dangerous place: no matter how much you might try, you’ll definitely leave with more than you came to buy, even with the help of a list. Trying to resist all the tasty treats at Wiener Brot is an exercise in futility: instead, its probably best to go in knowing that you’ll pick up some extras, and be okay with that. The best thing at Weiner Brot? Of course everyone is going to have their own favourites, but you can’t do much better than the poppy-seed studded twist loaves. They’re fragrant, floral, crunchy and delicious.
DoubleEye is a hip and happening cafe, perfect for meeting up with your coolest friends and talking art and music over a cup of coffee. And of course, one can’t have coffee without a croissant or a luscious, bright yellow custard tart. Their cappuccinos and lattes are big, comforting, and pretty: their gargantuan cups of coffee and tea are always decorated with milky patterns and a biscuit for dunking. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere relaxed and soothing, and the treats delicious. Best of all, it’s impossible to miss this place: an enormous double eye hangs over the door.
Despite the less-than-appealing name (Mehlwurm means ‘meal-worm’ in German) this organic bakery and cafe has plenty of nice things to eat. Dense loaves of bread with their crusts scored and dusted with flour sit nestled alongside danishes, pastries, baguettes and turnovers. You can also get your hands on different kinds of flour, cornmeal, rice, and other dried goods to stock up your pantry. And because this bakery is in centrally-located Neukolln, popping in to grab some almond flour, a loaf of bread, and a Kirsch-plunder (a pastry sort of like an open-faced danish, filled with cherries) is a cinch.
Home-made southern German standards, along with more typical daily fare make up the wheelhouse of Alpenstuck, a bakery in Berlin’s Mitte district. Loaves of bread, pretzels, cookies, buns, bars, and other tasty bites make up the bakery side of this establishment, but the other half of Alpenstuck is a restaurant. This means that you can pick up a loaf of bread and some yummy goodies to take home after a nice lunch date or dinner out with friends. We recommend the thick, velvety cheesecake, but then again, why stop at just one treat?
7. Konditorei und Cafe Buchwald
This family-owned and operated cafe in Berlin is less a place for bread, and more the spot to go when your cake craving can’t be ignored one more moment. Fudge-y wedges of chocolate torte, elaborate cheesecakes, layered bombe cakes, and a startling array of pies and tarts are good choices here. The Buchwald family has a specialty, however, that isn’t easy to get your hands on, so when you visit this bakery and cafe, your best bet is the Baumkuchen. This is a style of cake cooked on a spit, so it develops concentric rings of batter which resemble a tree-trunk’s rings when sliced. A piece of Baumkuchen (or two) and a cup of cheering tea are all you need to feel better on a gray and gloomy day.
8. Beumer und Lutum
There’s a few locations for this locally run bakery and cafe, so no matter where you are in Berlin, you’re likely to be close to delicious organic, whole grain bread. One of the best loaves is a poppy-seed-covered boule with the most delicious, crispy crust you could possibly want. Or choose one of the many kinds of buns and pretzels baked daily. There are also all kinds of sweet and savoury treats, like foccaccia and turnovers. Beumer und Lutem is an ideal spot for dropping in and grabbing some last minute items for a dinner party, ingredients for a quick feast at home, or a few tasty treats to make the trip home a little bit sweeter.
9. Pasam Baklava
No list of Berlin’s best bakeries could be considered complete without mention of a Turkish bakery. There is a vibrant Turkish population in Berlin, and one of the sweetest things these Turkish ex-pats have brought along with them from their home country is, of course, baklava. This is a sugary, sticky pastry made from layers of phyllo dough, pistachios, and honey. The finished product is definitely greater than the sum of its parts: if you have never tried baklava, you are missing out. Pasam Baklava offers a wide and delicious array of baklava to tempt you, including chocolate and walnut baklava alongside the more traditional variety. Luckily, you don’t have to choose just one: Pasam Baklava makes baklava boxes to take home.
10. Weichardt Brot
The final bakery on this list is a bright and cheerful place where all your baked goods need can be met. They make wonderful fresh bread daily: try their challah, a yeasty braided loaf, or Frankenbrot, one of the darker, heftier types of bread to be found in Berlin. You can also find all kinds of dry goods like flour, rice, cornmeal and other baking essentials to stock up on when you go. But the best part is, as always, their gleaming glass case stuffed full to bursting with baked treats. Poppy-seed pastry, tiny cakes, almond tarts, you name it. For a wonderful German holiday experience, try their Lebkuchen: these spiced, chocolate-coated cookies are a great accompaniment to a warm cup of tea or coffee on a snowy winter’s day.
Of course, a city as large as Berlin has plenty of other cafes and bakeries to meet all your needs, and everyone has their favourite haunt. But these ten places are a great introduction to Berlin’s bread culture, and all the tasty treats and yummy choices Berlin bakeries have to offer. Happy munching!