A Small Bakery’s Bread Brings Community to the Center of the Table
When you walk into Roggenart, you are instantly transported to a different world: one filled with smiles, warmth and really good food. Barely a year old, this Euro-fusion bakery is making a name for itself for all the right reasons. It has the touch of a small-town bakery, the passion of practiced professionals, and the “traditional bakery” feeling that you would find in Europe, which is exactly what Nemanja Popov is going for. Nem, one of the proud owners of Roggenart, already has 20 bakeries in Europe: two in Austria, where he was born, and the others in Serbia.
“I used to come to Baltimore a lot because my family was living nearby,” Nem says. “I think Baltimore is such a gem under the radar.”
Every day Roggenart produces handmade German, Austrian and Italian style bread, as well as German and French style pastries. Not into sweets? They have quiche and sandwiches as well.
“My favorite thing to bake is like asking which one of your children is your favorite,” Nem explains. “You can’t pick!”
In addition to lovely loaves, they also brew European coffee, and both their traditional espresso drinks and creative takes are delicious.
The most important thing at Roggenart is the quality of the bread: each loaf is made with the imported fresh and authentic Austrian flour from a mill that is centuries old.
“We try to make our bread like it was before: simple,” Nem says.
Every night, the baker comes in and starts making loaves fresh from a “mother piece,” a sourdough that has been prepared over the course of 24 hours. By using a sourdough, they utilize an old-fashioned way of preserving bread, and the loaves stay fresh for about a week. However, at Roggenart, you sidestep the “stale” problem in two ways: by using a natural sourdough with natural wild yeast and by cooking the bread, not just baking it. The bread is steamed until it has a hard outer crust, after which they proceed to bake the bread. As a result of this dual steaming-baking method, their breads have a nice, soft center and stay fresh longer than store-bought breads.
Don’t be fooled by the artistry of the Roggenart bakers. Not only is bread- making a passionate thing, but it is also a science.
“The dough behaves on its own,” Nem says. “Sometimes we joke with the baker that when you don’t get it perfect, he’ll say ‘The dough was alive; it was fighting me back!’ Dough reacts to everything.”
While bread is the main theme at the bakery, the pastries are great as well, made light and fluffy with a delicate sweetness. And, don’t forget the Instagram-worthy food—made passionately, well-priced and so thoughtfully pieced together that you’ll want to come back for more pictures and more nibbles.
Located in a homey, renovated house on Falls Road, Roggenart has a friendly ambiance that is European but distinctly Baltimorean. It is open seven days a week and is the perfect place to meet with friends, hole up and get some work done or just say hello to the people who work there and pick up a loaf for a party. It is a great place to explore breads and find out which one fits you. Roggenart has created a community, and the hope is that more and more people will come to find it as a little getaway whose goal is to make every customer’s day a little bit better. Every time you enter the little bakery, you’ll find that bread isn’t just a food—it is a reason to gather.
Roggenart is located at 5722 Falls Road, Baltimore. For more information, visit Roggenart.com.