In recent years, a whole host of modern bakeries specialising in old sourdough baking techniques have opened in Helsinki, many of which also serve as cafés and even wine bars. Some patisseries serve confectioneries that have been created by Michelin-starred chefs, while the city’s traditional bakeries also offer mouthwatering treats for those hungry for nostalgia.
Way Bakery & Wine Bar
Situated next to the Karhupuisto “Bear Park” in Kallio, Way became the most talked-about and highly regarded bakery in town soon after opening. You should definitely try Way’s own sourdough breads and fermented potato breads with churned butter, not to mention the seasonal crack buns with hazelnut cream or the blueberry pies! Way’s honey caramel glazed cinnamon buns have already achieved iconic status. Breakfast plates are served in the morning, there’s a daily lunch menu, and in the evening Way is transformed into a Wine Bar serving natural wines and delicious snacks, including not only fresh breads but also such delights as creamy chicken liver with sea buckthorn and “burnt honey”.
Originally established in Punavuori but now also in Töölö, Levain was a pioneer in the modern bakery boom and is still ahead of the game. Breakfast is served throughout the day, the grilled sandwiches are perfect for takeaway snacks, and in the evening you can relax at one of the tables with a cocktail or glass of wine. Levain boasts five unique sourdough cultures, from a rye bread recipe inherited from Grandma to the modern classic “Levain” sourdough bread, and the stone sole oven is kept hot all day long, so you can get freshly baked bread even in the evening. There is also a wide range of sweet pastries to choose from, and you simply have got to try the pastel de nata Portuguese custard tart – Levain’s most talked about product.
Helsinki Homemade Bakery
Helsinki Homemade Bakery is a small artisan bakery in the Etu-Töölö district whose lovingly baked bread has already established a steady fan base. They also bake fresh baguettes, cinnamon buns and Karelian pasties with a crispy crust that have already achieved cult status. Each day has a special theme: traditional rye on Thursdays, sweet-sour on Fridays, multigrain on Saturdays and archipelago bread on Sundays. On weekends, its fresh handmade croissants sell like hot cakes.
St. George Bakery
The five-star Hotel St. George has a street-front bakery that caters both to hotel guests at breakfast time and anyone else looking for an enjoyable café with freshly baked goods. The bakery’s own sourdough bread is baked fresh every day, also on Sundays. To enjoy on the spot, recommended fare includes sandwiches, green smoothies, a variety of coffees, or for instance a matcha latte or glass of wine. In summer months, the parklet terrace offers a view to the Old Church Park and basks in the afternoon sun. You can even pick up a picnic bag to take to the park.
Patisserie Teemu & Markus
Patisserie Teemu & Markus – the names refer to Teemu Aura and Markus Hurskainen from the Michelin-starred restaurant Demo – has a café and bakery shop on Yrjönkatu in the city centre, as well as at the new REDI shopping centre. The bread list boasts Emmer sourdough and foccaccia with roasted garlic and herbs, the macarons include Teemu’s and Markus’s crazy flavours (for example, liquorice and salted caramel; raspberry, tonic water and white chocolate; and oven-baked apple and white chocolate), and they also sell the best Runeberg cakes outside of Porvoo. Try also the cardamom buns with quark and, of course, the stunningly artistic pastries that started it all.
REDI, Hermannin rantatie 5
Brooklyn Baking Co.
Founded by two American sisters in the Punavuori district, the Brooklyn Café has expanded into a bakery on Fredrikinkatu. They are especially known for their decorative and rich cupcakes – Red Velvet is an acknowledged classic, but if you really want to go crazy, try the Rocky Road or Salted Toffee Pretzel versions. Their fresh bagels also have a staunch fan base, and you can have them with a wide range of fillings: a poppy seed bagel with tuna and cheese is seriously heavy duty.
This bakery sells Finnish delicacies from Kainuu, including hand-baked, berry-filled lingonberry “Rönttönen” pies and savoury pies with smoked salmon and reindeer, for example. Other traditional treats include “tar bread” and sourdough bread flavoured with berries – not to forget the classic vendace loafs and sandwich cakes. Also worth trying is the “Stadin kokko” loaf – a soft rye and potato pie filled with smoked vendace, vegetables and bacon.
Konditoria Hopia is a cosy café that has operated out of the same premises on Hesperiankatu in the Töölö district since 1949, and its Karelian pies have almost iconic status in Helsinki. Hopia bakes fresh Karelian pies daily using the same original recipe that Emma Hopia brought with her from Karelia to Helsinki almost 70 years ago. The log walls, wooden tables and Kalevala-inspired frescos create an authentic atmosphere, or you can visit its newer outlet in the Kumpula district.
Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 9
And don’t forget these:
- The Väyrynen bakery at Teurastamo has roots that stretch back all the way to 1908. Its mini donuts are legendary.
- The Kannisto bakery on Kankurinkatu in Punavuori was founded in 1914 and has since expanded throughout the city.
- Fazer’s bakery chain offers a wide selection and has lots of café shops around town. In addition to all its classics, try also the apricot-nut bread and pistachio twists.
- The Cake Gallery is famous for its cakes and its untouchable cake buffet.
- Café Päijänne sells home-baked fresh cardamom buns, cheesecakes, stuffed focaccia and savoury pies in the Puu-Vallila district.
- Tuffe’s Bedouin bread is worth buying from the Hakaniemi Market Hall before the master baker retires.
- The croissants baked by this bakery in Pitäjänmäki deserve special mention.