By Eden Ramsay
I have a new favourite bakery. The Crusty Bun Bakery is located at 1026 St. Mary’s Road and is known for its European-style artisan breads and pastries.
The owners, Andreas Ingenfeld (Andi) and Friederike Brandt (Frieda), have travelled far and wide before settling down in Winnipeg. They were both born and raised in Germany and have lived and worked in Switzerland, Great Britan, and Japan. Ingenfeld is a master baker with 29 years of professional experience. His framed Master Craftsman’s Diploma from Germany is proudly displayed behind the front counter of the establishment.
The Crusty Bun’s atmosphere is bright, warm, and cheery, much like the bakers themselves. There is also a 30-seat café for people to sit down, relax, have a cup of coffee, some delicious food, and wrap up their meal with a mouth-watering pastry.
The place has a lunch menu including a daily homemade soup special and hot/cold sandwiches. When I was there, the soups of the day were gnocchi and vegetables, and chili chicken.
Be sure to try a heated-up Schnitzelburger. This is a juicy, breaded chicken fillet or pork loin, lettuce, and tomatoes, on a deliciously fresh, homemade bun.
The bakery makes its pasties in a very traditional way. They guarantee that the dough used in their baking has a 24-hour rest time. This gives their products a unique taste and is known as the “slow baking” method. Since The Crusty Bun uses this method of baking, no additives or preservatives are needed to keep their pastries fresh. In fact, their storage time can be quite long if treated properly. They bakery prides themselves on using solely quality, natural ingredients in everything they make.
They hardest part about stopping by is deciding what to get. When looking at the delicious breads, buns, pastries, desserts, and sandwiches through the clear glass window, everything looks equally tempting. I can safely say that I left with a box full of different pastries to try out. Some favourites of mine that I tried include the salty pretzel, German Tea Cake (Prasselkuchen), and cherry streusel cake.
I was graciously offered a free German salty pretzel to try. I was told by Frieda that this is one of their most popular items. I can definitely see why. The pretzel was handmade to form a perfect pretzel knot. The darker, crispier outside had gashes made in them to show the softer inside. This was a nice visual element of the pretzel which complimented its delicious homemade pretzel taste. The sprinkled sea salt crystals on top gave it a nice salty taste too. The pretzel would be great to try with some dipping sauce.
The German tea cake was very light tasting with an interesting mix of textures. The top was dusted with a powdered sugar which gave way to the crispy top layer and then a softer, flaky bottom layer. This would be a very nice pastry to accompany a tea or coffee.
The cherry streusel cake had the same crispier top layer as the German tea cake. I could taste a bit of cinnamon in this top layer. This was a nice combination with the generous layer of real cherries underneath. The pastry was finished off by a light, spongy bottom cake layer.
The bakery offers its own coffee beans in whole-bean form or ground. Their coffee is smooth, and has a nice, rich flavour and I would definitely recommend it.
There are also a variety of homemade jams available for purchase, with flavours ranging from blueberry and mango to strawberry rhubarb, and kiwi.
One of the unique features about The Crusty Bun is a highly efficient water system. The Elisa Water System “turns city water into spring water.” This is a very environmentally-friendly way to use fresher, more natural, and better tasting water in the bakery’s dough, coffee, tea, and drinking water.
Another nice thing about The Crusty Bun is a drive-thru window for ordering must-have baked goods on the fly. Customers also have the option of calling ahead to reserve their favourite goods for pickup at a later time. Gift certificates are also available.
For a homey, European-style bakery experience in Winnipeg, try some of the offerings at The Crusty Bun. May all of your pastry dreams be fulfilled.
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Eden Ramsay is a Creative Communications student at Red River College. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and majored in graphic design. She loves culture, design in its many forms, and exploring the world around her. Follow her on Twitter: @EdenRamsay.