Markus Arnold and his passion for perfection

Finding peace in the simple things. Making the simple things extraordinary.

Pink columns, a dusting of flour and a delicious aroma – this place radiates peace, passion and craftsmanship. This is the Bohnenblust bakery and pastry shop which, in a nondescript industrial building just outside of Bern, bakes the very best sourdough – according to top chef Markus Arnold – that the city has to offer. This bread is his ultimate insider tip, and before he offered it in his restaurant alongside soups and salads, he enjoyed it in the comfort of his own home. “It’s not just bread, it’s a moment of pure joy”, says the chef of his favourite sourdough.

Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy inside – alongside an exquisite gourmet soup or as the main part of a “café complet” (a cup of coffee and a piece of bread with butter and jam), bread adds a special touch to any meal. And so it’s no surprise that Markus Arnold calls upon his trusted bakery for this occasion. Today, he’s helping out with the baking. For him, this is an opportunity to take time out from his busy schedule and recharge his batteries: “The dough between your fingers, the smell of fresh bread, the fine dusting of flour on every surface, for me it’s a moment of utter perfection – so pure and elementary yet also inspiring.”

The interior of Bohnenblust is inspiring, too: the bakery’s production facility is an enormous space with colossal bread ovens. The logo colour: pink. The columns inside: pink. The company uniforms: pink. Fifty proud employees wear the Bohnenblust logo on their pink t-shirts and bake around 300 to 400 loaves of bread on one Saturday. That’s real passion. “I’m really impressed by the passion and philosophy of the Bohnenblust bakery. It also serves as inspiration for me and my team. When you’re passionate about what you do, you’re happy to focus on every last detail”, says top chef Arnold.

From the selection of ingredients to its sophisticated dough kneading technique, this large bakery also lives by the motto: details make the difference. A series of enormous tanks each contain 11 tonnes of flour – and special flour ingredients are stored separately in large sacks. The dough for one loaf weighs 1750 g, and 70 minutes of baking later, we get a delicious-smelling loaf weighing 1500 g. Picture the moment: tearing off a chunk of fresh bread, taking a bite and enjoying the feeling of pure delight. The top chef and the baker are on the same page: “Bread is something so simple, it’s one of our basic staples. Yet the perfect bread is made with love, using the very best ingredients.”

Laden down with freshly baked bread, Markus Arnold happily bids farewell to his favourite bakery. Back in his restaurant and still enjoying the feeling of wellbeing, he turns his full attention to preparing for the lunchtime shift. Every single movement is spot on and each ingredient is positioned on the plate with the utmost precision. As the top chef explains: “The connection with simplicity and traditional cooking that baking bread involves gives me the strength and energy I need for my highly precise gourmet cuisine.”

For Markus Arnold, the focus on tradition and roots also serves as motivation to constantly develop new innovations. Bread – so fundamental, commonplace and yet emotional – shows how vital and nourishing it is to return to your roots in order to grow, to be creative and to reach new levels of gourmet delight. The calming, simple nature of bread is like a painter’s blank canvas: “When the basic essence is so good, then in combination with other elements it can become even more wonderful.” For Markus Arnold, this means transforming his beloved sourdough into a beef tartare with a modern twist, an astounding avocado-based lunch or an exquisite six-course dinner. Because at the Steinhalle in Bern, the piece of bread served with your salad or as part of a hearty brunch is not simply a piece of bread, but rather the moment when good things come together to create perfection: a moment of pure joy, for host and guests alike.

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