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The warm, inviting smells of the bakery take you back to a time when you sat on the kitchen bar stool watching your mother make her signature pumpkin pie or helped her stir the batter of her famous sugar cookies. Don't fret if you didn't inherit your mother's knack for baking or just don't have the time to prepare a delicious pie.
Kauffman's Country Bakery has developed a delicious reputation as one of the largest bakeries in Amish Country. An average day for the bakery staff can mean baking up to 250 loaves of bread, 100 cookies and more than 100 pies for tourists and locals alike.
It seems like only yesterday, Richard Kauffman and his brother Steve were dreaming up the idea of having their own bakery and over 20 years ago they began their venture with just six employees, one mixer and one oven. "The big daddy," Richard had called it. The owner of the oven had told Richard and Steve if they could move it from the shed it had been stored in, they could have it. "So we got some of our friends to help and we loaded up the truck. Our friends and family helped us to get the ball rolling," said Richard.
Steve Kauffman has always been the master mind behind the bakery and comes up with all the recipes, while Richard held more of an interest in the retail management end of things. Together they developed Kauffman's Country Bakery.
Since their business began in the spring of 1992, Kauffman's Bakery has grown to over 20 employees all taking on different tasks to make delicious treats that so many have come to love and return for year after year for.
With the Christmas season underway, holiday favorites such as German Stollen Bread (a fruit cake made fresh in the bakery from German ingredients), fruit cakes and fruit chewy bars are in high demand. "The Stollen bread has become so popular we make it all year round," said Richard.
Kauffman's bakery begins preparing for the holiday rush just after Halloween as they typically make anywhere from 500-1000 loaves of bread and around 500 different fruit cakes.
The bakery also prepares 1000 of cookies each season that go towards holiday cookie trays for the Cookie Tour in Berlin, benefit auctions and are delivered out to customers from all over.
The Kauffman's realize that not everyone can make it out to their favorite bakery each year so they offer a website with online ordering of their famous breads, fruit cakes and cookie trays as well as many other pastries, pies and sweet treats.
Along with their holiday specialties, Kauffman Country Bakery offers other daily delectable's such as: cream sticks in a variety of flavors, pastries, donuts, pies, apple fritters and fry pies. "People come from far away for our apple fritters and fry pies," said Richard. Locally made jams, jellies, spreads, unique food items and a few bulk food items can be found on the shelves.
A small café in the front of the store holds a row of tables in front of a long showcase of delicious pastries, baked goods and meats and cheeses. After spending the day doing some holiday shopping, take a lunch break. Choose from a selection of homemade breads such as rye, sour dough and sun dried tomato, topped with turkey, ham, corned beef or Italian favorites and finish off with a slice of Heini's cheese.
Many have taken advantage of the convenient lunch stop and Richard said the small café can become full very fast. "On Saturday it's hard to find a seat." It's first come first serve when it comes to eating in at the bakery.
In the future, Richard envisions expanding his café to include an outdoor picnic area where guests can sit outdoors and take in the beauty of Amish country during the warmer months. The warmer months are also a favorite time for customers to enjoy fresh fruit smoothies, old fashioned milkshakes and hand-dipped ice cream and ice coffee.
You might also find yourself leaving the bakery with a bag full of Amish Country novelty items and souvenirs. Guests love collecting Amish Country magnets, key chains and travel mugs. Give the gift of a popular "Yoder Dame" T-shirt or sweatshirt or stuff a stocking with a small model horse and buggy.
Be sure to put Kauffman's Country Bakery on your list of stops for your Amish country shopping this year. Satisfy your curiosity and just "come in and try a free sample!"
Kauffman's Country Bakery is located at 4357 US 62 just east of Berlin in Bunker Hill Village. Store hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mail orders are available year-round. For more information call 330-893-2129 or visit www.kauffmanscountrybakery.com.