Bernhard's Bread Bakery

1592 Atlanta Rd., Marietta, 770-218-1153

Shoppers at the Marietta Square farmer's market may be familiar with Bernhard Blecken. Others may know him from the small shop he runs on Atlanta Road just south of the city. And, if you were living in Duluth a few years ago, you remember him from Bernhard's Bread Bakery and Cafe.

For the past several months, Blecken has been turning out organic breads, buttery croissants, doughy pretzels, cakes, cookies and more from his latest venture, also dubbed Bernhard's Bread Bakery. Unlike its predecessor, this shop has no sitting area; it's strictly a to-go operation that Blecken hopes to expand into a bigger business in the next few months.

Blecken said the end of his Gwinnett lease got him looking for a new location. That search took him as far as Greenville and other metro areas, until he found the building in Marietta.

"Now, I live down the street," he said. "With a bakery, I couldn't spend all my time on [I-]285."

Many of Blecken's fans have found their way to his shop, and more in the surrounding neighborhood are catching on to the aromas from his kitchen.

Worth the trip

"We're a destination," Blecken said. "People know my reputation and seek me out. Like almost everything we do, it's European and people come for that. It's stuff you won't find anywhere else."

What do they have a hankering for? Largely, it's the bread. Of the many varieties Blecken bakes, the monastery loaf is among the top sellers. The typical German country bread is dark and made from whole grains. Other popular choices are the country rye; the crunchy harvest festival with pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame seeds; a ciabatta with black olives or sun-dried tomatoes; and a classic baguette. There are also loaves dotted with cranberries, apples, raisins and cinnamon and specialty breads with hazelnuts or pecans. All of the loaves are made with organic flours.

Blecken's pretzels are doughy and sprinkled with coarse salt and come in the traditional shape or in sticks. (Blecken has some customers who order the pretzels in the shape of numbers for a birthday gift.) There are also Kaiser rolls and dinner rolls. On the sweet side, he produces a variety of cookies, cakes and croissants stuffed with vanilla cream and pineapple, chocolate or almond paste. Danish are filled with cheese, poppyseeds, hazelnuts or raisins. Butter cakes, a favorite of the northern region of Germany, are made from lightly sweetened dough and lots of butter, heavy cream, cinnamon sugar and almonds. Other cakes include German black forest, chocolate mousse and nougat cream. On Saturdays, the treat that draws a crowd is Blecken's Bismarck doughnuts, yeasty rounds with jelly fillings.

Prices range from 75 cents for a roll to $29 for some of the 8-inch cakes.

Bargain breads

Get a deal on the dough the day after. Pastries and croissants are sale priced the day after they're baked. Day-old breads are half-priced.

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays
Signature dishes: Monastery bread, Bismarck doughnuts
Prices: 75 cents to $29 for cakes
Credit cards: Yes
Web site:

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