Monday, November 29, 2010

Winkler Bakery – 525 South Main

Winkler Bakery – 525 South Main
Walking down Main Street, tempted by the aroma of fresh baking bread, for the sake of my waist, I must fight the enticement to walk through the door of Winkler Bakery. Often, I fail to be successful and must drop in for my favorite mouth watering slab of sugar cake or ginger cookies. Trust me, if you ever taste either you will not be able to resist on your next visit. In fact, you may feel the need to visit simply for another taste.You may be able to purchase similar in other places, but none compare to the real concoctions from Winkler's wood oven.

Thomas Butner was chosen as the new town baker in 1799. Gottlob Krause was hired by Brother Butner to build a structure with bakery below and living quarters for his family on the second floor. Unfortunately for the Church, Brother Baker preferred farming and shoemaking above baking. Church leaders brought Swiss-born Christian Winkler from Pennsylvania. Winkler purchased the dwelling and bakery from Brother Butner in 1807.

Generations of the Winkler family operated the bakery until 1926. The first Winkler family raised six children in their home/bakery. As Brother Winkler’s health failed from asthma his sons operated the bakery. Winkler’s second son, William, took over the business in 1827.

The domed masonry oven is typical of what you would have seen in early Salem. The oven is still heated with split white oak as it has been for over 200 years. Using no modern machinery and all natural ingredients, the period costumed bakers fire the oven, mix dough in manger-like troughs with long wooden paddles as they explain each step to salivating visitors.

Sugar Cake and Cookies
The finished products are for sale from bonneted Sisters wearing long cotton dresses and neat white aprons or men in trousers held by suspenders as they would have been in the 1800’s. Don’t miss the Moravian Sugar Cake, it is to die for! A dense, gooey coffee cake rich with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon is like nothing you have ever tasted in your life. Of course, that is, unless you grew up in our Salem along with me. Cookies, thin cutouts, often laced with ginger in shapes of flowers, stars, leaves, crescent moons, Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas trees and more. There are oatmeal raisin cookies, cinnamon raisin bars, banana nut bread along with other tempting treats for your taste buds. Paper thin cookies feature ginger, lemon, cranberry-orange, apple, maple, chocolate and other flavors.

Watch this informative video of hisoric interpretations of baking at our Winkler Baker:

Salem Baking Company Moravian Ginger Spice Cookies, 6-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 2)Are you having an attack and can’t get to our Salem? Some of their baked goods are available online. In fact, if you click on the image at the right you can buy cookies NOW!

Visiting Our Salem? Winkler Bakery occupies the heart of our Old Salem Museums & Gardens, a historic village based as it was in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 100 acres of restored landscapes, heirloom gardens, 80 preserved buildings, a tavern, a gunsmith shop, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

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