At the recently opened Aki’s BreadHaus on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis, I’ve learned not to buy more than I want to eat. Because once I start eating Aki’s breadstuffs, I won’t stop till they’re gone. And for good reason: bread is best when fresh. How fresh is the bread and pastry at Aki’s? More than once, when I’ve ordered pretzels, Aki said, “I have some fresh out of the oven. I’ll get those for you instead of the ones I baked earlier today.”
Fresh, high-quality bread is what Aki (short for Joachim) Berndt wants to share. Bread was his hobby back when he had what he called his “real job.” At the time, he couldn’t find traditional German-style hearty rye or sourdough breads where he lived. When he was laid off, he started baking for others, originally at local farmers markets like Maple Grove, and eventually in a small spot in Osseo. Once he started looking for a larger space, nothing was right. Nine months into looking, he had given up when a friend in the German-speaking community of Northeast Minneapolis put him in touch with the newly formed NorthEast Investment Cooperative (NEIC). Within two weeks, Aki was their first tenant.
The original business name was Aki’s Backstube, which translates loosely from German as ‘little bread shop.’ Some questioned whether it would make sense for an English audience. When Aki’s wife said it reminded her of the word ‘backstab.’ they switched to the American-ized Bread Haus. It’s a small, family-run business. I usually find Aki himself at the front, or one of his daughters, like Celina who still runs their stand at the Maple Grove farmers market on Thursday nights. But get there early. Aki starts baking about 3 a.m. and the shop closes at 2 p.m.
In the short time he’s been open, Aki’s selection continues to expand. In addition to several types of sandwich and sweet bread, there are now seasonal fruit streusels as well as plain, and multiple pretzels: sticks, buns, twists, and sweets. New on my last visit was a bread pudding made out of day-old cardamom bread.
One thing that’s not yet on the menu? Sourdough. Aki is using the same recipe and ingredients as he did in Maple Grove, but in his new kitchen he can’t get a result he’s willing to sell. Something about the difference in water is causing the hiccup. His wheat culture looks promising, though the white won’t come together.
I suspect it will eventually.
“The main thing in baking,” he told me, “is patience.”
Speaking of patience,we’ll have to wait a little while longer till Aki’s neighbor, The Fair State Brewing Cooperative opens. Word on the street says it will be September. Once Fair State opens, so will a door connecting it to Aki’s.
Beer and fresh pretzels, coming soon.
Aki’s Bread Haus
2506 Central Ave, Minneapolis 55418
Tuesday-Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sunday & Monday: CLOSED