Bröt means bread in German. The round and generous loaf of Joseph Bröt, fragrant, giving off a nurturing grain scent and showing a face slashed with open cuts that like scars on a human flesh prove that this bread is a living organism.
Slow bread served with style in Vienna
Joseph Bröt is the antithesis to the plastic wrapped, with various life extending and age camouflaging agents enhanced, mass-produced, aka conventional, dead bread. This combination of all organic wheat, wholegrain rye and wholewheat flours is yeast-free, was left to rest and strengthen itself for up to 48 hours) and finally twice baked in a steam oven into a beautiful rustic loaf that is more nutritious, flavourful and easier to digest than the rushed convenience product. Slow, high quality bread is on the rise in the Western world. The popular Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, the E5 Bakery in London as well as the always full Joseph Bröt in Vienna have all gained a certain cultish following.
Old made new: traditional baking reinterpreted into a design bakery
Traditional baking is as important to the Vienese café culture as is its Julius Meinl stamped coffee, the breaded and well-pounded Wiener schnitzel and the Sacher cake. There are plenty of elegant centenary cafés such as the always full Café Central, Café Hawelka or the Sacher café at the Hotel Sacher. I have done all of that, and these institutions are a compulsory experience when visting Vienna for the first time. But if you want to experience the Vienna of now, then you must notice that the contemporary, real local café culture there looks very different. Joseph Bröt is so far tourist-free, filled with creative young Austrians, quality seeking families and these appreciating efficient service and simple design. Founded in 2009 by youthful Josef Weghaupt, the Joseph bakery has an uncomplicated philosophy: simplicity.
Joseph Bröt offers freshly made bread, pastry and locally sourced and made artisanal delicatessen. It is expensive, but high quality, traditionally slow-risen bread with a crunchy crust, while having a juicy crumb and a chewy moist centre is worth the splurge (over €6 per loaf). The best bread can only be made by a skilled hand of an artisan from the purest natural ingredients. The same is true of sweet pastry. At Joseph they knead each pastry by hand.
Compared to a typical French bakery, the prices are higher, but this is because of the use of organic regional ingredients as opposed to bulk-flour and cheating with margarine instead of butter in croissants. The pastry is often inspired by seasonal ripe fruits that are incorporated into the sugary blissful experience.
French connection and retracable illusion of European pastry
Curiously the Austrians often title sweet baked pastry as patisserie, while the French may more likely describe the same as viennoiserie. The pain au chocolat, the croissant and the other sweet pastries you find in a basket at a good hotel are indeed called by the French viennoiserie. The Danish pastry also ows to borrowing from the Austrian tradition. As a descendant of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, I am familiar with most Vienese savory and sweet pastries. Czech Republic inherited plenty of the typically Austrian breadrolls, buns, braided breads and twists. The generous, spiced with a nut paste stuffed roll, the poppyseed twists, the apple strudel and many others, now with Czech names, are regular at the bakeries across the country.
The interconnectivity of the European culinary inspiration also today defines Joseph Bröt where some of the creative recipes span abroad to Italy. For example by using chestnut flour from Piedmont and kneeding the delectable foccacia.
Joseph Bröt: from a tiny bakery to a lively bistro
All the bread has been since the mid 2016 baked in the new work space surrounded by a natural forest around Burgschleinitz. Yet, all the food is prepared on the premisses of the bistro. My favourites are the popular plain Joseph Bröt (you can also buy just a half), spelt “praline” shaped bun with grape juice, apricot and hazelnut ciabatta from the sweet offerings and the baguette-long pumpkin as well as the sesame bread sticks. Still, I have not tried them all, so be guided by your own taste buds. Perhaps the levander honey loaf is your kind of glutenous pleasure. Most of the artisan produce here contains gluten, but many of the ancient grains as well as the frequently used rye flour here are naturally lower in this excessively villified bread texture improving protein. If you do not have a cealiac or other health condition that has been scietifically proven to be worsened by gluten, enjoy this wholegrain organic quality of yeast-free, slowly rised and thus easier to digest bread. Yeast is used just for raising the sweet temptations.
The classic Wiener Frühstuck (Vienese breakfast) of hard boiled eggs, a slice of bread, butter and jam, meets the millenial demand for vegan bowls such as the giant Emmer porridge that I tried once. I wish it were half the size, and had more fruit in it though. The Pur Pur Birchermüsli was sublime, as my sister, by ordering it at each breakfast, approved of.
To take out, I highly recommend the raw butter, the dense Greek-style cow’s milk organic yogurts by Hofer family, the fresh plain cheese or the feta blended into a soft cheese with Mediterranean vegetables, granola, seed oils and various preserves and pickles by artisanal Austrian producers, but also high quality cheese from the neighboring countries (burrata and mozzarella di buffala from Italy). I found the pickled baby green tomatoes overpriced and too sour.
With breakfast a cup of coffee or tea is like an inhale without the exhale for most of us. We need a warm beverage with a bite to eat before trailing out to the work maze of a city. At Joseph, the olive leaves tisane was not my kind’a cuppa, but the Darjeeling as well as the espresso were of top quality and well-made. Bottled cold pressed juice as well as wine list make any meal more fun.
Although, I usually breakfast at the Joseph Bistro, I also tried a lunch, but so far not a dinner. With different menus, a weekend brunch, still with plenty of the superb bread and mainly local ingredients (forget about the superb salmon sandwich though), this is a perfect choice if you are in the promiximity of the lovely Stadt Park.
Joseph Backerei Patisserie Bistro: 4 Landstraßer Hauptsraße, Wien
Joseph Brot: Naglergasse 9 & Obkirchergasse 37-39
At Landstraße: Bakery & Patisserie: Mon – Fri 7:30am – 9pm, Sat, Sun & public holidays 8am – 6pm
Bistro: Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm, Sat, Sun & public holidays 8am-6pm