Bread, when it’s good, is a thrill for the senses – the smell of freshly baked bread makes you feel at home. The familiar, comforting taste. The pleasing sound of a cracking crust. The enticing sight of sandwiches on a plate or stacked loaves on a shelf. And the delightful feeling of holding a slice of fresh, warm bread in your hand. Today we're looking at Kraków's top bakeries, blending global trends and homely traditions. Let’s explore our favourite places.
Pochlebstwo opened in 2016, the first new wave bakery in Kraków. The bread is made on the spot, and they spare no butter in the dough. Why did they decide to go into this business? "We’ve always liked tasty products, and good bread was in short supply in Kraków. Someone had to get behind it," they say. "Micro bakery" in the name was meant to distinguish it from commercial chain stores with frozen rolls and mass-produced baking. On a good day they bake and sell as many as 300 loaves. But on those grey days when customers stay at home, the bakery donates any leftovers to those in need. After seven years, they still specialize in bread. "Our flagship product is Miraculum's rye bread with added grains, made to keep the sourness to a minimum, despite being a 100% rye and 100% sourdough." The personal favourite of the bakery's owner, Marta, is the "sentimental but not boring Cebulaczek, similar to a Lublin onion cake, but with added gochugaru peppers and of course poppy seeds."
Mikropiekarnia Pochlebstwo, ul. Tadeusza Romanowicza 5/7B, 30-702 Kraków
"Everything on sourdough" is their motto. More than three years ago they mastered the art of natural fermentation, tamed the sourdough starter and, despite its capricious nature, performed miracles with it. They were the first bakery in Poland to start baking sourdough croissants. "Perfect puff pastry with lots of buttery layers is a difficult art in itself and sourdough only increased the difficulty," they say. Sourdough offer all sorts of flavour combinations encapsulated in sweet baked goods or breads. They’ve also baked wheat bread with black pudding and onions, with bigos and flavoured with tomato soup with rice. But their Panettone is the showpiece. The Italian masters make it exclusively with sourdough. "The dough is tricky because in addition to the sourdough, which ferments at its own pace, it's also heavily glutenous (it needs the right flour to make it work). For every 1 kg of flour, we add more than 2.5 kg of butter and 2 kg of egg yolks. The baking itself, or rather the cooling, is not a simple process. The dough is so delicate it will collapse if you don't turn it upside down fast enough when you take it out of the oven. But it's definitely our favourite thing we bake." At Zmączeni they love a challenge, translating passion into quality products. They also love working with their hands, the key to a successful artisan business.
Zmączeni has several Kraków locations:
Józefa i Floriana Sawiczewskich 1, Kraków
Aleja Kasztanowa 10, Wola Justowska
Piwna 4, Kraków
Medweckiego 7, Czyżyny
Balicka 18, Rząska
You can also try their goods at the PURO hotel in MAK Bread&Coffee in Kazimierz.
Zaczyn existed long before it officially opened as a bakery. Zosia Barto started off baking bread and yeast cakes for friends. At the end of 2014, she started selling her goods at culinary festivals. Then she set up a business and rented a kitchen backroom and for two years she delivered bread to shops and restaurants and sold at fairs and festivals. It wasn't until 2018 that she found premises in Kraków's Dęniki, where the Zaczyn bakery operated successfully for four and a half years. In July 2022, she moved to bigger place in Salwator. At Zaczyn they believe being a baker is all about humility, insight, perceptiveness and sensitivity. Quality is more important than quantity. You can’t take shortcuts or make compromises – Zosia puts quality into every product, treating them all with commitment and sensitivity. It’s difficult for Zosia to single out a flagship product. But if she had to choose, it would be the soft, fluffy challah with crumble. They roll it into a braid of three rolls, just like Zosia remembers from her childhood and Silesian bakeries.
Piekarnia Zaczyn, ul. Tadeusza Kościuszki 27, 30-105 Kraków
Młyn opened in 2021in Kraków's Azory district. Dominik Nowak, the owner, learnt to bake from his mother. When studying physics at the AGH University of Science and Technology, he baked bread and traded it for eggs from a neighbour who had chickens. Matilda Kustra from Bread Morning was a huge inspiration – not only in the industry, but also because she quit her corporate job to open a bakery. Dominik ended up doing the same, and his wife also quit her job. They went all in on the bakery. It worked. Their speciality is wheat-rye breads, healthy and easy to digest. They get their flour from a mill in Ciechanowiec, and Dominik even mills some of the grains himself. Customers love the bread with olives, cheddar, jalapeno and wild garlic – and the friendly service keeps them coming back for more.
Piekarnia Rzemieślnicza Młyn, ul. Piotra Stachiewicza 28, Kraków
A bakery with a simple mission – “to bring back the taste and smell of childhood bread.” Behind this idea is Ola, a food technician and home baker. She decided to follow her dream of having her own small artisan bakery. Her husband Marek, a master of organisation and business planning, helped make the dream a reality. The plan? They don't want to conquer the world. They focus on everyday life. They want to live locally and in harmony with their neighbourhood, Grzegórzki. It's a family, neighbourhood bakery. Świeżo Upieczona has been going for three and a half years. The name refers to Ola’s transformation – she changed her role from a mum and home baker to a "fresh" entrepreneur and professional baker. The name also refers to the guarantee of warm, "fresh" baked goods. At Świeżo Upieczona the yeast-free sourdough wheat, wheat-bread and rye bread are particular crowd pleasers. They also specialise in sweet baked goods, which they advertise on their Facebook page: "Who tried our double-baked pan au chocolat with almond cream, banana and salted caramel on Saturday?"; "We still have plenty of brioche with hazelnut praline cream and olive cake with peach!" or "Pistachio croissant – our top seller of all our sweets," they write. We read and salivate.
"Our greatest pride is the high quality of the baked goods on offer. We use lots of butter, and eggs from free-range hens, flour from artisan mills, and real vanilla. All the grains, nuts and dried fruit we use are certified organic," Ola says. They don't look for easy solutions and don't use processed products. "We prepare all the cakes, creams and fillings from scratch on site. Our production is based on cold fermentation, which means most of the cakes ferment slowly in the fridges to make the final product tastier and friendly to the digestive system. It takes three to four days to prepare our handmade croissants."
What’s on the menu for visitors? "We have homemade yeast cakes with lots of buttery and crunchy crumble, delicious croissants, and sandwiches filled with seasonal vegetables composed by Dominika Wójciak, winner of the 3rd edition of Master Chef. And at the weekend we serve the best cheesecakes and delicious speciality quality coffee."
Piekarnia Rodzinna Świeżo Upieczona, Kraków Grzegórzki, 26C Cystersów Street, service premises number 4
Photos courtesy of bakeries owners and PR managers