The holiday season is a busy time for any baker, but this year even more so for Hans Röckenwagner, who opened his new 10,000 square foot bakery a month and a half ago. Röckenwagner relocated the baking operation from his much smaller space in Mar Vista, taking over the Culver City space that was previously Comme Ça's bakery after David Myers and company moved out.
Did we say it's a big space? Röckenwagner not only moved his operation, but installed 2 new MIWE double-rack German ovens (a third is coming), a giant proofer, enough baking carts to make Nancy Silverton feel at home, a pretzel dipper, a handmade pretzel chandelier (see photo) and various esoteric German baking machines. Oh, and there's so much extra space that he can park his Touareg inside too.
"We can easily quadruple our output," said Röckenwagner. He'll probably have to, since not only has his business doubled in the last year (coffeeshops and bakeries have been much more recession-proof than, say, white-tablecloth restaurants), but he's getting ready to open a new bakery in the Santa Monica Place in the spring.
"It was a big investment," said the German-born baker and restaurateur, "but there's a demand for it. There are gigantic bakeries [in Los Angeles] and there are small bakeries, but not much in between."
Röckenwagner said he'd had to entirely redo the space, reinstalling equipment from his Mar Vista operation, and putting in the 380,000 BTU $50,000 MIWA ovens (home ovens have about 3,000 BTU's), which had to be moved in three pieces and assembled. There is an entire back room still empty, which Röckenwagner says he'll turn into a room for fine pastry and chocolates. A closet still filled with eggshell blue Boule packing boxes is the only remnant from the David Myers era. "We need to grow into it," said Röckenwagner. Well, hopefully he'll still have a place to park his car.
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