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Kauffman's Country Bakery is a well known and visited spot for the people of Mt. Hope and tourists alike. The sense of community blends with the warm smells of homemade goods inviting everyone to linger in the cafe and aisles.
Freshly made items lining the shelves and counter windows cause the mouth to water and the mind to wander back to a distant childhood memory. Items such as jams, jellies, spreads, and a few bulk food items that have not been baked in house are sourced locally as are most of the ingrediants.
The history of Kauffman's Country Bakery began in Spring of 1992, when brothers Steve and Richard Kauffman opened their doors. At the time they only boasted six employees, one mixer and an oven, today they employ 20 to 25 people. Their recipes have evolved throughout the years, but those passed down from the Kauffman brother's grandma Lili, their mother and those Steve has concocted or manipulated remain prevalent.
A typical day for the staff of Kauffman's Country Bakery can mean baking around 250 loaves of bread, 100 cookies and more than 100 pies for tourists and locals alike. All staff member take on different tasks to make the delicious treats for the continued stream of customers.
The holiday season comes early at Kauffman's Country Bakery. Halloween used to be the beginning of the holiday preparations, but with the rise in demand, the bakery begins to make fruitcakes, breads and cookies in September. Although October is still the busiest month in an average year. Typically the bakery makes anywhere from 500 -- 1,000 loaves of bread and more than 1,000 fruitcakes during the holiday season. Despite popular belief, the fruitcake is one of the goods in the highest demand; "Usually, if I can get someone to try it, they like [the fruitcake]. It isn't like other fruitcakes." said Richard.
The bakery bakes around 500 different types of fruitcake, including their signature German Stollen Bread, made only with authentic ingredients, imported from Germany. "The Stollen Bread has become so popular we make it all year round," said Richard. The fruitcakes as a whole have become so popular that the line up has been joined by other products made from the same batter, including cupcakes and Chocolate Chewy Bars. Consisting of the Fruitcake batter covered in chocolate and cut into bars, the Chocolate Chewy Bars are quickly rising in popularity.
Along with the holiday specialty items, Kauffman's Country Bakery offers a variety of daily treats. Cool down the warm summer months with 16 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, a fresh fruit smoothie, old fashioned milkshakes and iced coffee. Several different types of bread line the shelves while freshly made pastries, cream sticks, pies, apple fritters and fry pies fill the counter windows. All the items attract people from far and wide and encourage a return visit.
Many patrons have taken advantage of the sandwich counter Richard refers to as the "Amish version of Subway". Stepping up to the counter, a customer has to decide between the multiple options of bread. Offering every sort of bread from rye, sour dough and sun dried tomato to bread with a European flare and Salt Rising bread. From there the decisions continue with your selection of turkey, ham, corned beef or Italian favorites, finishing off with Heini's cheese. Other food options such as chicken fingers may also be ordered.
A small cafe offers a place to rest your feet before or after a long day. Space in the cafe is limited and it is often difficult to find a seat on Saturday morning, when many locals and tourists travel in to obtain their donuts, pastries, apple fritters and other sweet treats. In the future, Richard hopes to expand his cafe to include an outdoor picnic area where guests can enjoy the beauty of Amish Country.
Steve and Richard realize that not everyone is able to make it out to the bakery and have taken steps to expand their reach. Beyond the doors of Kauffman's Country Bakery, there is a morning donut route that delivers to local restaurants, hotel breakfast bars and local stores, such as Lehman's. The bakery also has a presence in the farmers markets spreading from as far north as Port Clinton and down to Dayton, Ohio. They also offer access to selected items through their website. Processed orders are sent out through UPS directly to your doorstep.
Amish Country novelty items and souvenirs are also available for long lasting memories. Pick up souvenir magnets, key chains and travel mugs or bring home a T-shirt, sweatshirt or small model horse and buggy.
Kauffman's Country Bakery is located at 4357 US 62 just east of Berlin in Bunker Hill Village. Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m and Saturday, 7 a.m to 6 p.m. For more information call 330-893-2129 or visit www.kauffmanscountrybakery.com.