Bille Brahe’s style lies at the heart of a larger shift in gastronomic culture: a rising interest in slow fermentation, using ancient or alternative grains, and perfecting techniques rooted in old methods of craftsmanship — where making food was a task of slow cultivation. The ingredient list for SOFI’s sourdough ‘Berliner Loaf’ is actually very straightforward: high quality flour, a little water, salt, some sourdough culture, and not much else. It’s more about technique, and of course, some patience. “It’s a longer process than usual,” explains the bakery’s manager Sören Zuppke, “as our bread usually takes about two days to make, and croissants take three to four days.” Of course, their flaky, buttery folds are gobbled up in just one delicious instant, but the process is sensitive and complicated.
After moving to Berlin to become a journalist, Zuppke quickly realized hospitality is where he is most comfortable. “Frederik is among the chefs that has inspired me for some time now,” he says. “Being invited to join this bakery as its manager was the best next step I could have imagined.” On a typical day, the SOFI bakers, whose impressive resumes include stints at the famed Tartine Bakery in San Francisco and Copenhagen’s Mirabelle, arrive around five in the morning. “Which is pretty late for a bakery,” Zuppke laughs. “Usually, bakers start around two or three. But it is really important to us that the bakers also have a social life.”