How Krajina Klas became a bakery and confectionary powerhouse
Rooted in Tradition, Family and a Little Bit of Ice Cream
Founded in 1995 as a small bakery shop, family-owned Krajina Klas is now one of the most successful bakeries in the region. During the Bosnian war, the family made friends with a baker and learned to love the art of making bread. After the war was over, they decided to open a small bakery in their hometown’s city centre: Banja Luka.
„It was a good time to open a bakery and it was a chance for my parents to make something of their own after the war. There was high demand for good bread and not very many professional options in our area“
, Nemanja told - the son of the founder.
At first, Krajina Klas was just four employees - Nemanja’s father, mother, grandmother and aunt. Although Nemanja’s grandmother was the only one with baking experience – she had been a pie master for many years - the family rallied and worked together towards becoming a family of bakers.
The family started with just six different bread products like bread, buns and salted breadsticks. In 1997, they opened their second bakery in the city centre. However, community members kept coming into the bakery asking for cake and ice cream. So, the family decided to meet customer demand and started developing cake specialities and serving it with homemade ice cream. This was the impetus behind the bakery’s popular collection of cakes and other confectionery products like chocolate pralines and cookies.
Krajina Klas, named after the historical landscape in the northwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is now a company of 575 employees with 15 departments that has a strong presence in both wholesale and retail bakery needs in the region. The bakery is best known for smaller breads and mini cakes, although Krajina Klas boats more than 270 products. They have more than 1,000 points of sale through supermarkets, restaurants, retailers and 35 of their own small shops and introduce 15-20 new products to market every year.
Krajina Klas’ best known products include the bakery’s version of the most popular bread consumed in Bosnia called Manja Mix, also the name of their retail shops.
Other popular Krajina Klas products are their baguettes made with cornflour as well as the one made with milk powder, resulting in a soft, fluffy bread. And of course, their cakes sell very well – especially their chocolate cream cake, orange cake and forest fruit cake.
“Cakes are harder to produce and the cost of production is high but the demand is high,” Nemanja said. “It’s a lucrative market to enter if you can keep the quality of the products high which we are able to.”
Krajina Klas wanted to expand their product portfolio, so they decided to invest in a FRITSCH CTR paired with the vacuum coilers, the CSV 500, to make filled and unfilled croissants with a high number of coils. These two machines together are a synonymous for the highest quality and process reliability during the production of croissants. A larger number of coils can be achieved by rolling the cut dough pieces out long with an integrated unit before coiling.This enables optimum use of the dough sheet width when cutting the dough pieces. Moreover, this process is particularly gentle on the dough and can be deployed for different product shapes. Krajina Klas uses the machines to create a variety of croissants filled with sweet and savoury fillings.
Quality has always been at the core of what drives Krajina Klas, dating back to Nemanja’s mother and father’s original vision for the business. The company creates its new products in the development department, inspired by customer feedback on their individual needs and a desire to have the most comprehensive catalogue of bakery products.
As for Nemanja’s passion, it’s driven by something a little different.
„I like to eat!,” he said.” I love trying new things and the food industry is always changing so you’re constantly trying new products, new tastes, new processes. It’s not a slow industry so it suits me very well.“
Nemanja is looking forward to new trends he see's coming along the horizon including a higher demand for gluten-free products, additive-free products, and breads that are high in fibre and seeds.
A little about Nemanja
Nemanja (photo: right-hand side) is the son of Krajina Klas owners. He worked at the bakery throughout high school during the holidays & went straight to working full-time thereafter attending university. He's now the Director of Marketing but has spent much time in various departments in the company including sales & product development. He has 2 favourite products: French baguette & any of the various cakes made by Krajina Klas.
The croissant machine...
... CTR is the specialist for a variety of coiled products. It is the first choice for the gentle production of different croissant varieties, salt and lye bars, croissants and baguettes in artisan production. The dough pieces are processed in one single step ensuring extremely gentle dough treatment. Due to the punching process nearly any shape is possible.