Stockholm is in the middle of a baking boom—in recent years, the caliber of bakeries and konditori has skyrocketed. The city’s bakers are rediscovering the art of making traditional Swedish loaves and cakes—not to mention crusty baguettes, buttery croissants, and sourdough that would make a San Franciscan swoon.
A few short years ago, the range of bread on offer was dismal. It came from the supermarket, where there was always plenty of knäckebröd, of course, the traditional Swedish crispbread. Loaves, however, were pre-sliced and plastic-wrapped. Even the heartier options, studded with sunflower seeds and lingonberries, came from factories.
Now, however, independent bakeries are popping up all over town. One company, Fabrique, has more than a dozen branches dotted around the Swedish capital, plus one in London. A website entitled Surdegs Kartan (The Sourdough Map) lists more than 100 venues in the Stockholm area where you can buy better bread.
The newest addition to this thriving scene is Bröderna Fritzdorf (the Fritzdorf Brothers), a café-bakery at Fridhemsplan on the island of Kungsholmen that opened in August. Mathias Fritzdorf, who works the day shift, and his younger brother Tobias, who staffs the kitchen from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. bake every loaf, cake, bun and tart on the premises using organic ingredients. Everything is exceptionally good.
The cinnamon and cardamom buns are spiced to perfection, while the princesstårta, a cream-and-sponge confection wrapped in lime green marzipan, is one of the finest in the city. If you want Swedish baked goods at their best, this is the place to come.
Mathias believes the transformation of the industry has been driven by a handful of bakers who have raised the bar as they try to out-bake each other. “We are about 10 bakers, in the 35 to 45 age range, and we’re friendly but we’re rivals,” he says. “We’ve known each other a long time and now we all have our own businesses—and everything is getting better and better.”
Stephen Whitlock is based in Stockholm, and covers the Sweden and Denmark beat for Travel + Leisure.