Photos by Gabriel Romero
The oldest bakery in Texas sits smack dab in the Texas Hill Country. First opened in 1868, Naegelin's Bakery has been serving New Braunfels residents for 155 years and remains a key part of the town to this very day.
You can smell the aroma of bread and sugar in the air before you even set foot inside the New Braunfels bakery. When you walk up to the counter, you can see the vast amounts of baked goods: iced cakes, countless doughnuts, fluffy pies, creamy cheesecakes, stacks of cupcakes, bags of dinner rolls, hamburger buns, and so much more. Memories of grabbing a doughnut or kolaches with my parents after church or just to get out of the house flooded my mind.
The floors creak in the way that makes you feel like you've gone back to a time when technology was non-existent. The bakery is pretty much an 1800s time machine. There haven't been many upgrades since it first opened and that's what gives it that great old-western feel.
Are you a fan of the Texas Longhorns? Or maybe you're a Texas A&M Aggie? Well, they have two custom cookies that are shaped like a Longhorn or a Gig 'Em thumbs up. As I said, they have so many different types of goodies for everyone that you're bound to find something you'll love.
The bakery sits right in the middle of New Braunfels' downtown near the Main Plaza. People grew up eating some of Naegelin's signature baked goods, and a few grew up selling those treats, like Preslee Granzin who said she's lived most of her life in the bakery.
"Everybody knows Naegelin's," Granzin said. "Some people say it's like heaven in here."
Alsatian immigrant Edouard Naegelin came to at 19 New Braunfels with just a bag of flour, according to Naeglein's website. Naegelin eventually opened a bakery in New Braunfels and moved into the current space in 1870. Three generations later, Granzin's grandfather, Wilburn, purchased Naegelin's in the 1980s.
Every recipe is the same since 1868 and, other than adding a few more pastries, the bakery hasn't changed much since then.
"Everything is authentic German," Granzin said. "That's our main goal, keeping history alive."
She added that people that were stopping at Naegelin's when they were kids are now grandparents bringing in their grandchildren.
"It's just cool to hear people talk about it and how much of an impact this place has had on people's lives," Granzin said. "That's probably the coolest thing, it is really important to me to keep that history alive."
Naegelin's pastries are globetrotting. During the holidays, Naegelin's strudel is shipped across the world to Japan and Germany, a fact that Granzin calls "wild."
"It's crazy that people even from there know Naegelin's," she said. "Then for the locals, it's nice to meet everybody that lives around you, Naegelin's means the world everybody."
For the uninitiated, Granzin recommends the crispy strudel or their popular German pretzels drizzled with pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar.
As I left the parking lot, I saw a man with a bag of Naegelin's burger buns in his hand. Though he chose to remain unnamed, he share he had just popped in from neighboring Muck & Fuss, tasted the Naegelin's bun they use for their burgers, and stopped by after eating to grab his own pack. Then he hopped in his truck and peeled out of the small parking lot.
The breakfast burger at Muck & Fuss in New Braunfels is one of the places that uses Naegelin's bread.
Muck & Fuss and their menu of burger buns come from Naegelin's, but they aren't the only place to use the bakery's bread. You can pick up Naegelin's bread at Arlan's Market, or you can grab poppy seed buns at Granzin's Bar-B-Q and Iron Horse restaurant.
New Braunfels residents Kelsey and Colton Morris were coming out of Naegelin's bakery after grabbing a quick snack. The couple have lived in town for five years and love stopping by.
"It's the oldest and it's the best," Colton said after taking a bite of his cinnamon bun. Kelsey added that anytime she can snag a gingerbread cookie she does, no matter the time of the year.
After moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia to Texas over 22 years ago, Mary Warren has been a regular of Naegelin's for its sweet treats. She brought along her daughter, McCall Bridge, who was visiting from the Steel City. Stopping at Naegelin's was a must.
"Once I started coming here, I couldn't stop coming back," Warren said. They left with a box filled with pastries for the visiting Bridge to try before heading back home.
People from across Texas and the U.S. visit Naegelin's regularly, even if they're not visiting the storied location. Naegelin's is a staple of New Braunfels' yearly Wurstfest celebration, which welcomes 120,000 visitor to the Marketplatz. Naegelin's allure welcomes back even those who have left New Braunfels.
"We always stop here. The variety they have, the prices are good and everything is always fresh," said Bandera resident Deborah Clark. Her family has been stopping at Naegelin's once and month for the past 20 years.
Naegelin's Bakery is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Original Article: MySA