Back to the roots.
Are you familiar with the feeling of not having the time for anything? We currently find ourselves in a society in which product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter, work and leisure time are blurring and everything has to be done even faster. Especially in the food scene there is a lot happening right now. Subjects such as low-carb nutrition, ketogenic dishes or smoothies, which are supposed to replace whole meals when you run out of time, have been determining the social media world. At the same time, quality and regionality have never been as important as they are today. A contradiction in terms? How does our baker Martin Walch feel about this rush? We asked him!
>>Time is the ingredient that is most underestimated<<
V: The Rote Wand is one of your partners.
M: Yes, the Hotel Rote Wand orders daily the best we have to offer. From breakfast croissants to special burger breads, everything is included. The Rote Wand is one of our best partners, the respectful contact and the togetherness is very important to both companies. This can be seen which is very valuable and of great importance to us.
V: Regional partnerships are particularly important to you. Where do you get your raw materials from?
M: I want to stick as closely as possible to the region. We receive our eggs from a small farm that is less than 15 km away from Lech. We obtain our flour from Vorarlberg. We use the best mountain farmer’s milk from Lech for our homemade hay ice cream. I always try to keep the ecological footprint as low as possible, which can be tricky, as we are a bit remote.
V: What kind of bread is the most popular?
M: Everybody knows the bread roll and it is still the most ordered product. My grandfather used to bake three times as many rolls, but at that time there wasn’t really an alternative. We clearly feel the trend towards healthy eating. The variety of bread types allows our customers to choose grain rolls or sourdough bread instead of bread rolls. Our Lecher Bauernlaib is clearly the most popular. What makes it so popular is the crispy and rustic crust and the fine taste of the sourdough.
V: Which rolls end up on your breakfast plate?
M: I am allowed to do the quality control and test whether the bread tastes the way I imagined it would (laughs). I am lucky to be able to choose from a large assortment. I really like the soy roll or the “Handsemmel”. Currently, I like our newly developed Dinkel-Chia bread with butter. My wife’s favourite is the Bosniak roll.
V: Your grandparents were also enthusiastic bakers. How much has changed since then?
M: My grandparents had to deal with simple means. They had flour, yeast, leaven and Lecher water. Today there is an enormous selection of raw materials from which you can create a wide variety of breads.
However, I am of the opinion that less is more. We partly use the old recipes of my grandparents and try to use only the best and purest raw materials. We deliberately avoid chemical additives which reduces incompatibilities enormously.
V: Will you tell us your secret ingredient?
M: Time! Time is the ingredient that is most underestimated. It is the most important ingredient so that the bread tastes good and becomes a high-quality product. This is the only way to ensure that the bread is well tolerated and that all the natural flavours that are essential for a good product can be developed.
You can make a bread roll in less than 2 hours. But this requires many stabilizers and up to 5 times the amount of yeast. Growth should not be accelerated. Everything natural needs time to develop and mature – bread too!
V: Can you tell us your strengths?
M: We do our best every day to be able to offer the best product from valuable raw materials. I am of the opinion that service has a similar significance to product quality. I want to be able to tell the gastronomes, the chefs and all my customers their wishes from their lips and thus convince them of us. Whether we live up to this high standard can be judged by others. We are just as happy about awards such as “Vorarlberg’s best baker” as we are about the many positive feedbacks from our customers.
V: What do you think distinguishes you from other bakers?
M: As already mentioned, we pay great attention to the time factor. It is taken into account throughout our planning. In addition, we only use pure ingredients. For example, we use untreated flour. This is subject to natural fluctuations, as a natural product is not always 100% the same. The baker must adapt the recipe based on the flour quality and notice any deviations throughout the entire process. No machine can do this, it still has to be done with hands and requires a lot of experience. We like to teach and pass on this know-how to each of our employees. Obviously, we do have machines that facilitate various tasks, but our bakers must understand why and how a dough reacts. This is complex and not always easy to understand. However, that is what makes baking exciting!
Martin Walch – Backstube Lech –
V: Can you tell us your goal?
M: To conquer all of Lech and Zürs! (laughs) I don’t see the need of going beyond the Flexen Pass. The cooperation with the households of Lech is very good. My goal is to convince all of them – even those that are not yet my customers – of the quality and service we offer. The households should understand our philosophy, taste the high quality and be proud that they can offer their guests daily fresh bread from the village. I think every guest should be able to enjoy that.
V: Thank you Martin for the nice conversation!
Rote Wand Marketing