Germans are mad about bread, no doubt about it. Just ask any German expat what they miss most about home, and the likely answer will be ‘bread’. Here, bakeries are a treasure trove of baked goods – if you’re in Cologne and want to indulge, head to one of the bakeries on our list.
Traditional recipes meet hipster vibe at what’s probably the trendiest bakery in all of Cologne. Conveniently located on the main drag of the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood, Zeit für Brot is a combination of bakery and café. Plus, the actual bakery isn’t tucked away in the back but only shielded off by huge glass windows, allowing you to peek inside and watch the staff bake fresh items right there in front of you. The list is long: loaves of pumpkin or potato bread, hummus-and-carrot sandwiches, cinnamon buns, cheese straws and much, much more plus a cup of coffee – to sit in or to go.
It’s hard to imagine Cologne without Bäckerei Zimmermann. Since 1875, the bakery on Ehrenstraße has provided locals with their flavourful baked goods. Whether it’s their signature dark rye bread, the juicy quiches, fluffy croissants, fresh plum tarts, buns or other pastries – everything of the more than 50 different items is free from preservatives and additives. You can tell that the team of staff here cherish traditions, one of them being to offer a relatively large amount of kosher items, which has led many members of Cologne’s Jewish community to shop here on a regular basis.
When Herbert Wiens opened his bakery/confectionery / stand-up café in 2014, he hit the spot. Here, organic and regionally-sourced ingredients are made into wonderful loaves of bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, filled chocolates and even homemade jam. Vegans and those suffering from allergies were more than delighted to learn that Wiens’s product range included vegan, lactose-free and gluten-free items – vegan apple cake, anyone? And since food waste is such a huge issue, the bakery lists leftover items on an app at a discount, to encourage people to pick them after closing.
Tim Bergheim has learned the craft from his dad and, set on the idea to bring a breath of fresh air into the Sülz neighbourhood, he opened his own shop a couple of years ago. Creativity, buzz marketing and a beautiful interior have not only catapulted Bergheim’s on the list of favourite bakeries in the city, but also but his loaves of bread and buns on the map for event organisers who put in large orders for club nights and functions. On sale are evergreen goodies such as wheat and rye bread and seed-encrusted rolls, delicious pastries, fruit, cinnamon and chocolate buns, sandwiches and sheet cakes.
Situated at the heart of Cologne’s shopping district near Schildergasse and Breite Straße, Bastian’s makes for a great breakfast and lunch spot. The bistro boasts a fantastic food menu with carb-loaded goodies which come straight from the in-store bakery. If you don’t have the time to sit down and devour a ham-and-cheese focaccia or croissant with jam, you can get that to-go as well. The counter is filled with walnut loaves of bread, cherry pies and other fragrant goodies. Just like Zeit für Brot, Bastian’s allows you to peek inside the bakery and watch the team knead and shape the dough for more upcoming treats.
Another long-established bakery is Bäckerei Balkhausen on Apostelnstraße, not far from Bäckerei Zimmermann. The large shop windows grant views of the vast range of baked goods which are waiting inside – more than 80 different kinds of sweet and savoury treats, to be precise. It’s not unusual for people to queue up here during their lunch break to snatch some of the fresh rolls, a slice of Streuselkuchen or a muesli bar. It’s well worth trusting the locals and making the effort to squeeze into the tiny shop to get your hands on some traditional German pastries.
Germans are not the only baking-wizards. Jacques Merlet has brought the best of German and French craftsmanship together to create Merlê at the heart of the Lindenthal neighbourhood, one of Cologne’s poshest postcodes. The cute and cosy bakery offers bread and rolls made after German recipes as well as authentically French chocolate brioches, croissants and baguettes with a crunch. On top of that, they serve selected speciality coffees and teas – for example, green matcha or Vietnamese artichoke tea.