On a recent vacation to Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, I stumbled across a gem of a bakery, Tom’s Pan German Bakery. As a son of a baker, it was impossible not to stop. I had to see the equipment in the back and find out what was going on.
I found a semi-automatic divider with no motor, so it was being used as a manual divider. The bakery also had a small reversible sheeter, bread slicer, a two-deck oven with only one working deck, a make-shift proof box, some hand tools, and of course the absolute essential workbench. True artisans don’t need much more than a few tools and a bench to make some amazing authentic German baked goods.
I swear our lunch of gulaschsuppe (goulash soup) and spaetzle (German dumplings) was made by my grandma Sophie. I tried to take a picture of the apple strudel we had, but we devoured it before I had a chance to shoot. We met the baker, Thorsten Hinz, a Swiss baker who happened to see a “bakery help wanted” sign in the window one day. He’s been there three months now. If anyone is interested, Thorsten is a journeyman baker looking for a stop in the United States-he’s got skills. The bakery products at Tom’s Pan German Bakery were delightful. But, most of all, I enjoyed being welcomed behind the scenes and encourage other bakers to check out Tom’s in Costa Rica and other bakeries around the world. Share your international baking experiences with us at bakery.com.