An event where I was able to get a glimpse into how a local bakery works, their dedication to high-quality organic ingredients and the effort of the Hofer brand “Zurück zum Ursprung” to bring regional quality products to a discount supermarket. I was kindly invited to the event by Hofer Österreich and this post is brought in friendly cooperation with them as well. All opinions are my own, as always.
Since starting to work full time, attending blogger events is not that easy anymore, as they are often during the week. When I was recently invited by Hofer Austria to an event with the family owned bakery Sorger in Graz, I was very excited. Not only was the event on a Saturday, but it was also for their organic and local line of products. Being able to get a glimpse behind the scenes and getting an insight into how the bread and pastries are made, was a very interesting and enlightening.
For those not familiar with Hofer, it is a discount supermarket that has started to focus a lot on regional, quality products in the last few years, with their own brand “Zurück zum Ursprung” (back to the roots). I’m personally a big fan of the products from this line, as they are regional/local, organic and often bring crops back in vegetables that have become lesser known. While this brand has a higher price point in comparison to other products in the store, the quality is amazing and it is still at lot less expensive than organic brands in other stores. The bakery Sorger is a family owned bakery from Graz, which exists since 1688! They focus on regional and organic ingredients and do not add any kind of enzymes or other chemical nasties to their baked goods.
Arriving at the event, we were warmly welcomed by a team from Hofer and Albin Sorger himself, the head of the bakery. After a short introduction, it was already onwards to the bakery itself! Hygiene is very important, so we all got those super flattering aprons and hats – yes, the one in the blue and white stripey sweater is me. 😉 I was pleasantly surprised to find out that their sourdough still has enough time to rest and is made the day before, so no artificial speeding up of the process and additives. This also helps with keeping the bread fresh longer and ensures a better taste. Yay for this, because who wants bread that goes stale after a day or two?
We were not only shown how bread and pastries were made, but we were actually able to do it ourselves. Starting with a nut pastry/bun, traditional to Austria, then we went on to making hand rolls, bagels and some special poppy seed buns. A very Austrian thing as well. 😉 The final baked goods were brioche plaited buns, which is so so good! It’s a typical breakfast food here, just with butter and jam or with coffee in the afternoon. Trying out different braiding techniques (3, 4, and 6 strands) was so much fun and really made me want to do some more baking at home. The most difficult part was actually the hand rolls! Getting those 5 folds in it perfectly was a nearly impossible task for all of us, but it made for some good laughs. 😀
While our goodies were resting, we were served an amazing breakfast with fresh baked goods and everything else you could wish for at a typical Austrian breakfast buffet. We got served a lot of “Zurück zum Ursprung” products as well, like the honey and dairy products. As you guys know, I’m not exactly big on dairy, but I’ve been told that the yogurts are delicious. 😉 There was enough choice though for every taste and food preference, from vegan to omnivore, everyone was happy!
After indulging in the generous and delicious breakfast, we were shown around the rest of the bakery and also where they roast their own coffee. The smell is great and it’s really good to know that they get the fresh coffee beans directly from the exchange in Hamburg and roast it in small batches and low temperatures themselves. I’m not much of a coffee person, but even I know that a slow and less hot roasting is better for the coffee. 😉 So if you happen to drink coffee at a Sorger coffee house, you know it really is good quality and fair trade on top of it.
The takeaways from the event
I was super happy to see how much emphasis is put on high-quality ingredients and regionality for the “Zurück zum Ursprung” line of products. While I already knew that the were good quality products with local ingredients, I was not aware HOW local they were and that chemical additives really have no place in this bakery. Seeing how bread and pastries were made there and that most things are still done by hand, made me really confident that it’s not just a marketing scheme but that they really care about supporting local producers and value high-quality ingredients. <3
Photo credit: Foto Fischer – thanks for capturing this event so beautifully!