The “St. Peterer-Brot”, a bread made from natural sourdough, is baked in the St. Peter Mühle with a long tradition. Master miller Franz Grabmer explains why he decided to do an apprenticeship as a miller.
SALZBURG. The water wheel tirelessly turns its rounds while inside the baker pushes two loaves of bread into the hot oven and the rye is ground in the mill. The nostalgic factor is upheld in the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter, the ambience of the small, somewhat hidden inner courtyard does the rest. Franz Grabmer, who took over the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter as a tenant in 2007 and in the course of this also rebuilt the waterwheel, knows that.
Müller apprenticeship in the 1960s
Grabmer himself comes from an old “Müller dynasty”; his great-grandfather owned a mill in Upper Austria. “I was born with the Müller gene, so to speak,” says the 75-year-old, who completed an apprenticeship as a miller in the mid-1960s.
“However, only after graduation. That was still considered very exotic at the time. Today you can say that an apprenticeship as a miller in particular is something quite unusual,” says Grabmer, who at the age of 23 managed the “Salzachmühle” in Aiglhof accepted.
Bread made from natural sourdough
“As a miller you have to be able to master the machines and be very precise with the controls. You can say that it is a rather theoretical craft and in my time it was often a very lonely job. We worked in shifts, so we had to Often people die all night to monitor the mill so that everything runs properly. Today a lot is more automated, but we at St.-Peter-Mühle still use a large amount of flour from the millstones, “says Grabmer, who is 46 years old successfully passed the master baker exam.
Of course, the Stiftsbäckerei also bakes, especially black bread made from natural sourdough, which the people of Salzburg like to call “St. Peter bread”. The dough is prepared the day before, and only rye flour, water and salt are added the next morning. Around 200 kilos of sourdough bread are made a day, along with small baked goods such as brioche, spiced rolls and Vintschgerl.
“Everything in small quantities, not mass-produced. If something runs out, it’s over,” says Grabmer.
It is important to him that no pastry ends up in the trash. “If loaves of bread or brioche are left over, the social markets or the Salzburger Tafel get it.”
With its own water wheel
The grain for the “St. Peterer bread” refers to Grabmer from an organic farmer in the Waldviertel. It is then ground in the St. Peter Mill itself, using electricity from its own water power and in several passes.
“Through this process, the grist becomes very fine and the valuable ingredients are retained,” adds the master miller and baker.
Part of the mill, the largest millstone, can also be seen in the anteroom of the bakery. The archabbot of St. Peter, Korbinian Birnbacher, is one of the regulars who appreciate the enjoyment of the sourdough bread.
“The Archabbot regards the bakery as a traditional company of St. Peter. What makes us particularly proud: When the Archabbot goes to Rome, he always takes a ‘St. Peter bread’ with him for the Pope,” says Grabmer. He thinks it is a shame that the traditional bakeries in the city are becoming fewer and fewer because no successors can be found. “Unfortunately, the regionality and the original craft are lost”, says Grabmer.