There are bakeries everywhere, which I am happily enjoying trying anything and everything they have to offer. We try not to get the same thing every time, but you can’t help but fall back on your favorites. A bakery is like a coffee shop. Over time, you will have “your” place you go to every day – the place on the way home or around the corner from home. For me, bakeries can be destinations – I do seek them out, even if that means walking in snow shin high.
Danish rye bread is quite amazing – dense, moist, slightly sour, long shelf life, and nutritious. When sliced thin, the possibility of toppings are endless. Our homemade smørrebrød, though not typically traditional combinations, are eaten quite often with leftover staff food. There are many types of danish rye. These are the ones I have discovered so far: med blød rugkerner (with soft rye kernels), med spelt, med Solsikke og Hørfrø (with sunflower and flaxseed), Grovgodt Gulerodsrugbrød (good coarse carrot rye bread), med kerner (with grains), Græskarkerne (pumpkin seed). Typical ingredients in rugbrød include: vand (water), surdej (sourdough), rugmel (rye flour) hvedemel (flour), salt, malt, and gær (yeast).
The wienerbrød (aka “danish” in America) has a dough that is more enriched than the croissant and typically more layers. The types that most bakeries offer are pretty similar across the board: tebirkes (marzipan/butter filling topped with poppyseeds), kanel snegle (cinnamon roll with chocolate), frøsnapper (a twist topped with poppy and sesame seeds with a marzipan/butter filling), spandauer (looks like your traditional “danish”), wienerstang.
“Grovbirks” is worth mentioning because it is a multigrain croissant that is topped with sesame seeds or a mixture of grains or oats. It is especially tasty when split and topped with butter and chocolate plaques. (See the blog post on our Danish Christmas.)
I did quite a bit of research before settling on the must-see bakery of Copenhagen – Meyers Bageri at Jægersborggade 9, 2200 Copenhagen N. Through the window, you can watch Head Baker Nikolaj baking, shaping and having a good time. This bakery focuses on bread and viennoiserie, with a small selection of pastry items (ie. cookie, tart, linzer bars, madeline). Bread is not baked overnight like in many bakeries (rye bread is an exception because it should be eaten 24 hours after it has been baked to have the maximum flavor). The viennosierie (butter-only) comes out of the oven moments before the store opens, with the bread baking soon after. The flours here are organic cold-climate grain from the Nordic region. I am not familiar with most of these flours, but each loaf of bread tells their story. They have their own flour mill and also sell some of the specialty flours you can’t get at the grocery store. The Kamut (100% fuldkorn) and Bygbrød (barley bread) are nice substitutes for Danish rye bread if you’re willing to try something new. If you’re too impatient to start your own sourdough, they will sell you some surdej for 25DKK. Make sure you grab a kanelsnurrer or kanelsnegle– you won’t be disappointed.
Our around-the corner or on-the-way-home bakery is Brødkunsten, a member of the Copenhagen Baker’s Guild. Here, breads are made from Italian flours, have a smaller amount of yeast and rely on a longer fermentation for flavor. The bakers bake breads throughout the day, meaning not everything is offered at the open. Their selection of breads, cakes and pastries may be almost all you need, but they don’t offer the flødeboller. You’ll have to go to Lagkagehuset or Summerbird (a chocolate store) for that.
The best multiple location bakery, in my opinion, is Lagkagehuset. Sometimes too many “chain” bakeries fail in a sense that nothing is really quite good, but Lagkagehuset is an exception. They may not be the cheapest bakery around here, but in this case, price does match up to quality. Go earlier rather than later – shelves are typically empty near the end of the day. Make sure to grab a number at the door.
If you’re looking for the best wheat sourdough bread, Bo Bech Bageri is on Store Kongensgade 46. Here that’s all they sell – one size, one loaf, no options unless you’re buying in quantity. I do believe that if you take all your energy and try to perfect one thing, you will come pretty darn close. While walking on Store Kongensgade, keep your eyes peeled because it’s easy to miss their modest signage.
This may not be a bakery, but the best Danish rye I’ve had so far in Copenhagen was at Manfreds (take-away) on Jægersborggade. It isn’t too dense, has the perfect amount of seeds and isn’t gummy. This bread takes four days to make and is made from a sourdough (that means no yeast).
Take your time to decide.