Food Nordic baking tradition is one of the pillars of ARKET cafés – from much-loved buns to cookies, sandwiches and wraps, our baked goods are composed of high-quality, natural ingredients grown in harmony with the environment. Together with ARKET’s new bread supplier – BAK, we are on a mission to showcase that the use of organic heritage crops and manual techniques not only makes sense from a sustainability perspective, but also because the final product simply tastes and feels better.
BAK is a Swedish concept bakery created by Conrad Tyrsén and a team of artisanal visioners. Together, they have been making waves in the Nordic baking scene since 2005. Their dedication to quality and craftsmanship, combined with a can-do attitude, have earned them a considerable following among customers, cafés and restaurants around Sweden.
In a close dialogue with our Head Chef Martin Berg, BAK has developed a new signature bread variety for ARKET cafés that will be used for sandwiches in all European locations. At the heart of BAK’s bakery in Hökarängen, one of Stockholm’s southern suburbs, Martin and Conrad talk about the guiding principles of their collaboration and how they bring a farm-to-table experience to a wider audience.
CONRAD Our premise at BAK is that we never add anything to our dough that shouldn’t be there – we use only natural products and keep it simple. But that can get tricky when you work with bake-off bread that typically contains additives. When Martin approached us with a vision to create an entirely natural frozen bread for ARKET that could be delivered to all their European cafés and baked daily on-site, we accepted the challenge without knowing exactly how we would do it. After many hours experimenting with the ingredients and finetuning the proportions, we eventually perfected a recipe for dough that would handle being frozen and get the right texture and flavour once baked.
MARTIN I admit, it was a tall order and it didn’t make it easier that I wanted to use specific flour varieties from local organic mills. The idea was to develop artisanal ciabatta-inspired bread with a complex flavour and a rich nutrient profile. Too often we think of bread as an envelope that holds the filling. But when you consciously create balance between all ingredients, the right type of bread will elevate the whole experience.
CONRAD To achieve the airy and fluffy ciabatta texture, we first created a dough base with organic white flour and then gradually added a more rustic one. Wholegrain flour could conventionally be seen as a by-product of white flour but is, in fact, the tastiest part that is also high in fibre. One of our suppliers is Limabacka Kvarn – a family-owned mill, whom we have an ongoing collaboration with. Both flours are ground in traditional stone mills. Big-scale roller mills might be more time-efficient, but they cannot compete with the nutritional content of stone-milling. We also decided to use Swedish rapeseed oil instead of olive oil – it simply felt right to stick to local produce all the way.
MARTIN I’m glad you did. Now we can offer unique bread that celebrates different traditions and taps into the potential of working with carefully grown, organic ingredients. This allows us to ensure the highest quality of the sandwiches that can be equally enjoyed by our customers across Europe. And thanks to a smart logistic distribution, each café orders and bakes off just the right amount of bread to keep our dishes fresh and fight food waste.
CONRAD The fact that ARKET and BAK are built on a shared appreciation of craftsmanship and the willingness to challenge the status quo sets a great foundation for future projects. This partnership is one example of what we can achieve when we put your minds – and hearts – together. An innovative product developed in an inclusive way – considering all the people involved in the process, from farmers to millers to bakers to chefs at the cafés and finally – the customers.
MARTIN And a product that makes a case for heritage crops that are typically overlooked in the food business. Creating a demand on the market means that more farmers will be able to convert to organic farming. And by diversifying crops, they will naturally help restore biodiversity, revitalise the soils and entire ecosystems. With projects like this one, we hope to contribute to the shift in how we see our place in the greater web of life. By working with care and respect for the land and people, we can produce food that tastes better and benefits all.