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Aki Berndt

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Aki Berndt was born in 1955 in Mönchengladbach, Germany. He married an American woman and lived in Berlin before moving to Minnesota in 2000. After he lost his job as an architect in 2009, he began to bake bread and opened his own bakery, Aki's BreadHaus, in Minneapolis in 2014.

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Aki Berndt was born in 1955 in Mönchengladbach Germany, a northwestern city near Holland, with his mother, old brother and sister. He met his wife while hitchhiking on a trip to New Zealand, and they had their first two daughters in Berlin, where he loved working as an architect. In 2000, he moved his family to Minnesota, where his wife was from, to be closer to her family. But the recession in 2009 left him without his architecture job in Minneapolis.

When he moved to Minnesota , he always said he was disappointed there wasn't any good bread that Germans are used to, which inspired him to start baking bread for his family as a hobby while he didn't have a job. It wasn't until he started to receive a lot of positive feedback that it became more than just a hobby. In Germany, Sunday breakfast is always full of rolls from the local bakery, and there's practically one on every street. Aki's mother had always baked too, so his first few recipes were hers.

First, he started out baking at a local church and selling a few different breads at some local farmers markets. He then moved to a shared space in Osseo that he worked out of for a while, until he got an opportunity to work with a co-op in Northeast Minneapolis and open his own bakery. Finally, in May of 2014, the doors to Aki's BreadHaus were finally opened.

Now, Aki's BreadHaus makes more than fifteen different kinds of bread and makes almost five hundred loaves every week. People stop in for morning pastries and coffee in addition to their bread. Not only is the artisan bread important, but the German soft pretzels have been a huge part of their business and success. They sell almost one thousand pretzels every week to local breweries around the metro area to go with beer, and just like in Germany, especially for Oktoberfest.

Aki has always said that the number one thing that Germans miss when they move to the United States is good bread, and he wanted this bakery to feel like a traditional Germany bakery. Most of his bread you won't find anywhere else, which is why he thinks people keep coming back. The feedback that Aki has received has been so positive that they have almost outgrown their Northeast space and are looking to expand. Many of the customers are German Americans and other European Americans that are relieved to have a slice of home in their nearby Minneapolis neighborhood. There are customers that they see every week, some even every day to come in for their pretzel or loaf of bread.

Aki believes that people like the things that they do with the German-style bread because it adds something special. Having to start a new business from the ground up has been such a struggle for Aki, but the feedback he has received and gotten from the community has been encouraging and makes getting up early, like bakeries do, worth it. It's amazing that the German heritage would be so important for his career in America. He has always been able to be true to his German self. Aki loves bringing traditional German bread to Minneapolis.