by Antonia Kögl & Benedikt Steinle
It’s been a few years since artisanal bread has taken Vienna by storm, with small bakeries offering delicious loaves, rolls and pastries made with exceptional skill, quality ingredients and a regional focus to the hungry masses. And thankfully, the trend shows no signs of stopping: following the resounding success of Joseph Brot and Öfferl, Motto Brot has now joined the fray, setting up shop in a prime location on Mariahilfer Straße last December.
The lovely, small bakery with its 19th century varnished wood storefront and gold-lettered sign stands for passion and a baking tradition that is very much alive, making bread just like in the old days with carefully selected grains, sourdough and lots of time.
As the name implies, this new purveyor of our daily bread is the brainchild of Bernd Schlacher of Motto and Motto am Fluss fame, who teamed up with noted expert and author Barbara van Melle, best known for her own charming baking atelier in the 4th district. Called Kruste & Krume, it’s a veritable temple to the art of baking, offering everything from specialist tools to rare flours, spices and, of course, workshops for aspiring bakers. In addition, the international star baker Claudio Perrando consulted them.
“Our bread should be affordable, but at the same time made from the best ingredients and with the utmost care,” as Schlacher puts their simple, but ambitious, philosophy. Hence, at Motto Brot, they only use organic flour – and frequently, ancient grain varieties.
Besides crunchy sourdough bread and baguettes as well as a large selection of Weckerl (bread rolls), their viennoiserie is particularly remarkable: These typical Viennese pastries have been somewhat forgotten here, but were popularized in 19th century Paris by the Austrian entrepreneur August Zang, who opened the Boulangerie Viennoise on Rue de Richelieu 92 in 1838. Introducing Viennese recipies and baking methods, these so-called viennoiseries were an overnight sensation and are still breakfast staples in France today. In particular, his Kipferl were highly popular – they were later made with puff pastry eventually evolving into the modern croissant.
“Hardly anyone in Vienna knows that Viennese baking tradition helped French bakery to international fame,” Bernd Schlacher, an avowed Francophile, points out. It was therefore of special importance to him, van Melle and Perrando to reintroduce some of these semi-forgotten gems to their hometown, and we, for one, are very happy that they are now making a comeback.
Motto Brot offers six varieties of baked goods – light and dark, crunchy-tender and juicy-firm, viennoiserie and sweet temptations like popcorn chocolate tarte or the classic Viennese Scheiterhaufen (a type of bread pudding with apples, raisins and cinnamon),with the latter our personal recommendation. Taste for yourself!
Farmhouse bread | makes 2 loaves
- 220 g Whole grain rye flour
- 220 g Water(30°C)
- 22 g Rye poolish
- 75 g Rye breadcrumbs
- 150 g Water(70°C)
- Rye sourdough (see above)
- 10 g Yeast
- 370 g Water (25°C)
- Scald (see above)
- 250 g Ryeflour (Type 960), sifted
- 250 g Wheat flour (Type 700), sifted
- 20 g Salt
1. Sourdough: Mix flour, water and poolish, cover the mix and let it ferment for about 12–15 hours at 27–30°C.
2. Scald: Mix the bread crumbs with hot water thoroughly and let the mixture sit for at least 3 hours.
3. Main dough: mix the rye sourdough with yeast and water. Add the scald, flour and salt and knead in a food processor – 8 minutes slowly and 2 minutes at medium speed. Cover and let the dough sit for two hours.
Put the dough on a floured work surface, split into two equal parts and shape them into round loaves. Dust two flour baskets with rye flour, then place the dough pieces in them. Let them sit there upside down for another hour at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 250°C, then reduce the temperature after 10 minutes to 230°C; add a baking tray filled with water below the bread before baking for 50 minutes. Let them cool, then enjoy!
Tips for Home Baking
The most important ingredient for a good bread or pastry is time. The sourdough is the bread’s soul. It gives it aroma, longevity and makes the bread palatable. With a little bit of knowledge and practice, it’s easy to bake bread at home. The quality of flour and other ingredients is critical for a loaf’s quality, as grain and flour are the most important ingredients.
– Taken from Der Duft von frischem Brot (The Scent of Fresh Bread) by Barbara van Melle