Julia - Confectioner from Munich
We visited Julia in her small patisserie in Munich. Cinnamon buns, glazes, cake bases and pistachio biscuits - Julia conjured up all of this on this day and we were allowed to accompany her. The smell of the fresh pastries was very tantalising! Stay tuned, because she's sharing another delicious recipe with us here.
Hello Julia, you are a master confectioner in Munich and have your own company "ANTON UND ELLA" named after your great-grandparents. Why?
JULIA: When I remember my great-grandparents, I think first and foremost of their large garden. It was in the centre of town. All kinds of fruit, vegetables, trees, berries and flowers grew there. I remember how we picked the most delicious garden strawberries and ate them straight away. Strawberries have never tasted as good as they did there!
That's why the origin of my ingredients is particularly important to me. What do I process? Who worked on it? Where did the animals whose products I use live? How do the people who grow the cocoa beans that I process into chocolates live?
The name "Anton and Ella" therefore stands for my family history. The experiences from my childhood and my love of nature make it possible for me to realise traditions in a modern way.
You are an artisan, an experienced pastry chef. What does that mean to you and what was your path like?
JULIA: Craftsmanship means that all work steps are carried out by hand and we do not use ready-made products. I take the time to make everything myself: the doughs, praline fillings, syrups and fruit compotes. It is important to understand the processes behind the products: What does yeast do to a dough? How does it change at different temperatures and much, much more? I don't have a traditional apprenticeship, but have taught myself a lot. I have always tried out a lot, observed, made mistakes and learnt from them. Some techniques are in the textbook, others you learn over time. The beauty of the craft is that you get better with every repetition. The first cake I decorated in my life looks completely different to the cakes I make today. It's purely a matter of practice.
What is particularly important when it comes to the ingredients for your recipes, what do you look out for?
JULIA: In general, I make sure I choose my products carefully, especially when it comes to quality. I don't make any compromises here, because in the end you simply notice it in the flavour. I like to work with regional ingredients, which is simply not possible with vanilla or chocolate, for example. I then use fair trade and/or organic products. The price differences are often significant, but my customers can taste the quality of my products and are prepared to pay more for them.
You've turned your hobby into a profession, do you now bake in your spare time too?
JULIA: Not really! I haven't baked anything sweet at home since I started working as a pastry chef. Recently, I've rediscovered sourdough and have been baking focaccia or bread from time to time.
How do you come up with new recipes?
JULIA: Initially, inspiration comes from somewhere. Then
I think about which ingredients would suit my idea. I usually already have an idea of what the finished product should look like. Then I try it out, taste it and improve it. I also always ask friends or colleagues to taste it and take their comments with me to the next round. I usually try out new recipes 3-4 times until I'm satisfied. Sometimes it takes longer! I worked and tinkered with my cinnamon buns for over a year until they turned out the way they are now. Perfect 😉
Cinnamon buns - your speciality! We were allowed to try them fresh from the oven and in our opinion they are the best in all of Munich! How do we get supplies?
JULIA: That makes me very happy :))
You can get a supply of cinnamon buns every Saturday at the restaurant "Das Kulinariat" in Munich's Westend. They are also available to go. I think the long development was worth it, you can taste them. Only organic dairy products and organic eggs go into the dough. The long maturing time makes it particularly airy and moist. Of course, there is also a secret ingredient, but I won't tell you 😉
Do you have a website where people can see what you bake?
JULIA: I'm currently taking a little break, which is why the online shop is not open over Christmas this year. In previous years, I only baked what was ordered, e.g. wedding or birthday cakes. Otherwise, chocolates and pastries were also available in the online shop. It's worth checking my homepage from time to time to see when it's open again.
Our climate is changing, summers are getting hotter and hotter. How does this affect your work?
JULIA: I really realised this this summer, which was very hot at times... Buttercream, chocolate and yeast dough simply don't work well above a certain temperature. It's also far too hot for us pastry chefs in our work clothes at the ovens. Sooner or later, bakeries will have to be equipped with air conditioning, and many already have it.
Transporting cakes is also difficult in summer. I work with cool boxes, but even they don't last forever at over 30 degrees. If the climate develops in such a way that it's not just hot for a few days in summer, but constantly hot, I have to adapt my processes, recipes and offerings.
How has confectionery changed in recent years and how do you see the future of your industry?
JULIA: Yes, there's a lot of movement at the moment. Since coronavirus, many people have discovered baking for themselves and you can also see real wonders on social media. Confectionery is on trend. As a result, many young people have become interested in the profession. Unfortunately, most training programmes are still a bit outdated and leave out topics such as "vegan baking". There are certainly companies that think in a contemporary way, but on the whole the industry is quite traditional. As a career changer, I didn't have it easy at first and was viewed with scepticism.
I socialise a lot with like-minded people, career changers and young entrepreneurs. It's a great bubble in which you clearly notice change.
As for the future - well, yes. To be honest, I see patisserie as a luxury craft. We work almost exclusively with exclusive ingredients and I can't say whether that will be a priority forever. At the moment we are faced with so many challenges that I think at some point the importance of a piece of cake will take a back seat. However, my motto is: "Baking is love". I can make people happy with my baked goods. Even if only for a brief moment. That's why I definitely see a future for myself and my industry 🙂
And in keeping with the winter season, we have a really great recipe for you! Together with Julia, we have baked incredibly delicious pistachio chocolate biscuits. Make yourselves cosy, get out your baking utensils and get started:
Take a look at Julia's blog, you'll find lots more recipes there and get the delicious cinnamon buns at "Das Kulinariat", it's worth it!