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Daniel Frank – the specialist for sourdough breads
The Frank bakery is situated in the Old Town part of Riedenburg, a town on the river Altmühl in Bavaria. This traditional bakery is a family-run business in its third generation, operated since 2010 by Daniel Frank. Today, it is the only bakery in town that makes its own bread. Furthermore, it is a model company when it comes to top quality craftsmanship.
mber 2018, Daniel Frank was awarded the state honour award for Bavarian bakery handcraft – for the third time. Bavaria presents this award to businesses that have proven to maintain top quality for more than five years continuously, as rated in tests by the German Bread Institute. The bakery’s sales figures have also been growing at double-digit rates since 2010. That’s more than enough reason to take a look behind the scenes and to ask what lies behind the secret to their continual success.
In 1958, Daniel Frank’s grandfather Michael laid the foundation stone for the present bakery just a few kilometres upriver from Riedenburg, in Deising. Over the years he amassed valuable experience, which he passed down to his son Richard Frank, who completed his master’s in the bakery trade in 1976. That was the incentive to buy the bakery in the Old Town part of Riedenburg, the present address of the Frank bakery.
Four years later, Richard Frank and his wife Anja moved from Deising to Riedenburg, and made the branch into the company headquarters. In addition to a new bakehouse, they also opened their first café right alongside the bread shop. The bakery is being carried on by Daniel Frank, who is also a master baker and confectioner since 2005. Although Daniel was contemplating other career options at first, an apprenticeship in his parent’s business convinced him to follow in his father's footsteps after all.
Today, Daniel Frank is a baker with excellent connections. Twice a year, he meets up with colleagues from other regions at the Erfa sessions organised by the Bavarian Bakers’ Guild, where everyone shares their knowledge and ideas. From these sessions, he gains inspiration for new products to delight his customers with, which he then tests and gauges their success. Among the best hits are Swabian Seelen (“soul”) bread rolls, and crusty loafs “Krusterl” made from spelt dough. “I brought out the popular favourites from Allgäu and Swabia, the Seelen, with a new recipe using spelt flour. And I got the inspiration for the crusty loaf from a baker in Lower Bavaria. Again, I modified the recipe for a dough made from spelt. Both are big hits,” says Daniel Frank, who assesses new products long enough to make sure he gets the production processes just right.
HOLZMICHL - a speciality made from sourdough
Besides spelt products, the bakery has made a name for itself above all for sourdough breads. The basis for sourdough breads like the Holzmichl, named after the bakery’s founder Michael Frank, is the self-made 3-stage natural sourdough. It consists of a mixture of 60 percent rye flour and 40 percent spelt flour, a little sea salt, water, and yeast. The high-quality flours are milled from regional grains at the Poschenrieder Mill, 30 kilometres away in Sinzing on the Danube. Apart from excellent ingredients, the dough also gets its high quality from the method of preparation: Daniel Frank cooks the spelt flour, for example, to make it absorb water better. That way, the bread stays fresh for longer. During the 22 hours of maturing, the natural sourdough is refreshed three times to provide more nutrients to the microorganisms in the dough.
„Our proprietary production of natural sourdough makes our breads unmistakable in flavour and keeps them fresher for longer. So, our customers are willing to drive a few extra kilometres to buy from us“
, says Daniel Frank.
Naturally, the Frank bakery also creates many fine patisseries from puff, filo, and short pastries. The doughs for these specialities have always been produced on a ROLLFIX dough sheeter. “Until quite recently, we still had a very old ROLLFIX, on which you would adjust the dough thickness manually,” Daniel Frank relates. “Encouraged by discussions with colleagues, we have now upgraded to a fully automatic ROLLFIX 600. The replacement of the equipment and the instruction for operating the new machine from the people at FRITSCH were a smooth success. Ever since, we have achieved a much more consistent dough thickness in our puff and filo pastries and a wonderful baked volume. The purchase was no doubt one hundred percent the right decision,” he says of the upgrade. And so the business will continue in future, baking goods right there in the main building on the Riedenburg marketplace and bringing them out each day, fresh and oven-warm, straight from the bakehouse to the shop next door. And that’s not all: the Frank bakery supplies delicious baked goods to other sales points in the region, as well as to all hotels in Riedenburg and the surrounding area.
A little about Daniel Frank
Daniel Frank is a trained master baker, confectioner and business economist, and is the third generation to run the traditional Frank bakery in Riedenburg, Lower Bavaria. His specialities are breads and pastries made with high handcrafted quality from natural sourdough, for which he uses the best ingredients from the region in an elaborate process according to a family recipe.
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