A moderate, entrepreneurial experimental set-up
The middle path
It is a real shame that the elegant German word "mittelmässig" (lit. moderate, average) expresses the idea that something is adequate, nothing special, without star quality.
Who only wants to be moderately successful? We are taught to aim for brilliance.
At the same time, everybody is talking about the loss of the middle ground, of the middle class as a guarantee of social stability, of the moderate position.
Everywhere we look we see extremes, a growing gulf between rich and poor, participation and marginalisation, polarisation, demonisation, fronts, corporations, monopolies...
There was once the golden mean, Aristotle’s idea of virtue occupying the middle ground between two extremes. Buddhism has the Middle Way, a synonym for the Eightfold Path to enlightenment.
Yet we need not be Buddhists or philosophers to tread the middle path. Many people today feel the desire for more balance, not only because the earth demands it, but because we ourselves have long since been unable to pay the price of the ever more, ever bigger and ever faster.
The question is, how can we return to the longed-for equilibrium, the golden mean, the state of balance? How can we find the middle path without it being an empty compromise? Where on that path should we position ourselves as a company? What is the middle path in terms of a business concept that responds in moderation to the needs of everyone involved?
We orientate the size of our company to the needs of our clients and our own capabilities. This is because the middle path can only be shaped from the heart of our organisation outwards. This requires self-awareness and the ability to perceive even our own shadow and to transform it together.
And if the outside world outgrows us, then we must either grow again ourselves or connect with people whose capabilities in the relevant areas are greater than our own.
Learning from each other, sharing knowledge, maturing together.
We have a deep understanding of our craft, of the conditions the raw materials require; we know how long our yeasts require to develop the taste that we envisage and so that the starch is sufficiently swollen for everybody to be able to digest our baked products. We know how to create the right atmospheric conditions for all the billions of micro-organisms, our invisible co-workers.
At the same time we appreciate technology, the best results of intellectual labour, which make it easier for our employees to perform manual tasks, make it possible for us to work a 5-day week with no night shifts and which translate our manual processes. In this way we can create good food for many people and not just a little for the few.
When we have guests come to visit us, they are always astounded by the size of our bakery, since it has far outgrown its original size.
Now that our new premises are complete, we have 4,000m2 of floor space to work with and, after many years of cramped conditions, are very much enjoying this new-found spaciousness.
Our technical equipment, such as our packaging machines and our tilting lifters, inspires just as much amazement - the latter are folding machines that incorporate the butter into the dough and use a particular folding technique to create the many layers of dough.
Are we an industrial bakery?
Then we enter the cool, humid proofing room and let our visitors savour the wonderful aromas that have developed after 18 or 24 hours of dough proofing. And when they watch the expertise and attentiveness of our employees as they turn the flutes, add toppings to the focaccia or flatten the Franzbrötchen, they are invariably impressed.
Are we a craft bakery?
We have found a new term for ourselves.
We are a technically well-equipped factory, which we would actually have to call a “corfactory” if it were not such a strange word.
“Cor”, like “manu” (meaning “hand”), comes from Latin and means “heart”. After all, it is neither our hands nor the machines that produce the soulful quality of our food, but our attitude while we make it. And that comes from the heart, like a future thinking organ that we have made our entrepreneurial mission to develop.