There’s something utterly domestic and charming about popping into one’s neighbourhood bakery. While downtown hipsters are only too glad to embrace every food fad out there, thankfully, they’ve left Brauð & Co. alone—a world where buttery croissants and gluten-rich sourdoughs rule the roost.
Thanks to Ágúst Einþórsson, a chef turned reluctant rebel baker, Brauð & Co. is a bakery that’s attracting international attention. They sell over a whopping 1000 cinnamon sugar croissant rolls on Saturdays alone. Having eaten my weight in their wares, I was excited to meet the man behind it all.
Ágúst, who goes by “Gusti”, used to run a café in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro. “I decided to never bake again!’” he laughs. “Most bakeries are in basements where you never meet anyone. But I enjoyed working in the café, I met a lot of people, I liked that.”
As early evening draws in, the bakery is teeming with locals and tourists alike. Gústi explains his decision to move back to Reykjavík: “A friend of mine opened a bakery a bit like this one,” he says. “So I started baking again—getting into organic flours and sourdoughs. I worked at two places after that, and I’d been discussing with a friend that there was definitely an opening for a bakery like this in Reykjavík.”
The unfrosted handmade snúður at Brauð & Co. have been rebellious from day one. They flout the traditional recipe, using seasonal ingredients like raspberry and blueberry with liquorice or floral orange and almonds. A one-off variant became a personal favourite of mine—the granola snúður, each one almost brioche-light, kneaded with love and attention.
“People complained in the beginning,” says Ágúst. “But I’ve stuck to making what I like. I’m not trying to please anybody—I’ll only make a vegan product if I like it, and not just because it’s vegan. We’ve done things that didn’t work, but when we make something new, and it works, we have to take something else out. I like to keep it simple, so we don’t have too many things on the shelves.”
The bakery has a rotating menu that changes daily. “We have to be on top of our game every day,” says Gústi. It’s important to put pressure on yourself to make things better, and if something’s wrong, to figure out why it isn’t perfect.”
Brauð & Co. is one of the few places in town that use real butter in their baked goods, in generous amounts. “We use a tonne of butter a month,” says Gústi. “About 250-300 kilos a week.” He laments the lack of organic butter in Iceland—something that MS is still reluctant to offer, sadly. It’s the only factor keeping the bakery from calling themselves completely organic.
Brauð & Co. will be opening two offshoots shortly, in Hlemmur Mathöllin and Fákafen. “Maybe we’ll have some savoury things there,” finishes Águst. “I really want to change this place into a pizzeria in the evenings.”
Given how dedicated to quality the bakery is, it might just be a great idea waiting to happen.