Ja, das ist gut!
A German Bistro experience in downtown Wadena
WRITTEN and PHOTOGRAPHED by JODIE TWEED
IF YOU’VE RECENTLY DISCOVERED YOU’RE GERMAN, THANKS TO A DNA TEST, YOU’RE IN LUCK. A new European-style bistro in Wadena offers German cuisine, pastries and other delicacies for people looking for an authentic German experience without leaving Minnesota.
Oma’s Bread is owned and operated by Martin and Annette Schmidlin, from Achkarren, Germany, along with their daughter, Yvonne Willis. Yvonne was a German foreign exchange student at Verndale High School in 2003 — and she hasn’t been back to Germany since she left to attend high school in America. Soon after graduation in 2004, she got married and had five children, who are now ages 8–12.
After her divorce, Yvonne needed help with her children. Her parents came over to help her raise her young children, who were a few months to four years old at the time. Annette soon began to miss the hearty homemade breads in her home country, so she’d bake them herself.
This evolved into a new business for the entire family, Oma’s Bread. They began baking several varieties of European breads, quiches, and pastries, selling them at farmers’ markets throughout Minnesota. At one point their homemade goods were available at eight different farmers’ markets. Customers include former members of the military who would often stop by their booths and purchase the breads they loved while stationed in Germany.
The business grew so much they needed their own commercial kitchen. While they still supply breads and homemade goods at several farmers’ markets, last year they opened their bistro, which has a contemporary European look, in Wadena. Stop in at the bistro and you’ll smell various types of breads cooling on a nearby rack. Yvonne makes them early every morning. The family prides themselves on providing fresh baked goods that don’t contain any preservatives. If they’re not immediately frozen, the breads, quiches and other foods should be eaten within a few days of purchase.
Kuchen, a type of German custard pie, is a customer favorite. Yvonne says they attempt to purchase all berries and fruits from local farmers used for their kuchen. Another favorite is bacon bread, which sells out nearly every morning. If you’re hoping to purchase bacon bread, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a loaf or get there early. They make five to six different types of bread each day.
“It’s fun when they come in and say our kuchen is better than their grandma’s,” Yvonne says with a laugh.
Christmas is a special time of year in Germany, but also at Oma’s Bread. They offer a variety of German Christmas cookies, marzipan, truffles, candies and chocolates, specialty cakes and even French macaroons. Stollen, a cake-like fruit bread, is usually available during the holidays, along with Lindzertorte, a spice cake with jam. Customers can order ahead for the holidays. Annette also does canning and preserving, so customers can purchase her applesauce and jam.
Since German meats and cheeses can be hard to get in central Minnesota, they’ve been making some themselves.
They serve breakfast and dinner at Oma’s Bread, a menu which changes regularly. During the winter, the menu offers heartier meals, like Spätzle, while during the summer there are lighter options, including several salads. Their motto at Oma’s Bread is, “Every day different, but always good.”
For German language students or those who miss speaking the language, stop in at Oma’s Bread and strike up a conversation with Annette and Martin. They always enjoy it when people order in German.
European Peasant Bread
A bread available most days at Oma’s Bread, European Peasant Bread was once considered a staple bread for poor people since rye was so inexpensive. Times have changed, but the bread is a popular offering at Oma’s Bread. They have graciously allowed us to reprint their recipe.
500 g. white flour • 500 g. rye flour • 2 tsp. salt • 2 tsp. yeast • 700 ml warm water
Add all your dry ingredients into a bowl and slowly add water. Knead until everything is well incorporated, and let sit for about an hour.
After dough has risen, put dough onto a clean surface and divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Knead dough again and shape it into a ball and place your dough into a floured bowl. Let rise again for at least 30 min. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the dough has risen some more, tip the bowl onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put your bread into the oven for about 45 min. The bread will have a nice crunchy crust and will stay moist in the middle. Enjoy!
60 Jefferson Street, Wadena, MN
7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday • 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
218.371.0658 • omasbread.com or find them on Facebook.