Baking the world a better place


Baking the world a better place

words todd kuchel
>> Harding and Elke Trinkle of Tanunda Bakery

There’s something truly exhilarating about a bakery in the morning; the enticing smell of warm, fresh bread, the aroma of coffee and the overwhelming variety of mouth-watering sweets.

Though their tales began on opposite sides of the world, Elke and Harding Trinkle were drawn together by a mutual fondness for bakeries.

Harding’s father was trained as a baker in Germany during World War II before migrating to Canada, where he continued working as a baker until finally settling in South Australia where he began the Lobethal Bakery.

Harding was born and raised in Canada and began working with his father when he was sixteen, sharing in his father’s passion.

Meanwhile, Elke was born and raised in South Germany, from which time she cherishes memories of visiting her local bakery for fresh bread and treats.

In 1992 Elke travelled to South Australia with family, and that was when she met Harding.

Elke and Harding were married in Germany and lived there for a year, during which time Harding worked at numerous bakeries all over Germany to attain knowledge and skill of traditional techniques and traditions.

In 1996 Elke and Harding realised their dream and opened the Tanunda Bakery.

“A scary move, permanently relocating on the other side of the world and starting a business,” Elke admits.

It was the German heritage that influenced their decision to settle in Tanunda. 

Though the Tanunda Bakery began with similar recipes to Harding’s father’s Lobethal bakery, the Tanunda Bakery has always been totally independent.

Since the very beginning, Harding has continued to develop to constantly improve his products.

Elke explains that there was never any questioning the bakery’s logo.

“As a kid you think baker, you think pretzel,” she smiles.

“That’s how it is in Germany, and that’s filtered through from myself.”

In Germany bakeries are all about bread, salad rolls and pretzel sticks, whilst here a bakery for most means meat pies and donuts.

And so, what began as an idea of providing German traditions for an Australian market, developed into a shop that is dedicated to pleasing every customer.

“It’s all about being a good team. A tight-knit couple, that encourages instead of accusing each other.”

- Elke Trinkle

There are, in fact many German traditions that the Tanunda Bakery have been producing since the beginning that have only recently become popular in Australia, like sour dough.

“It was never really sought after by Australians in the past,” Elke explains.

“More so the Europeans. But we’ve had people come up from Adelaide over the past 25 years to buy it.”

Ciabatta is also a product that has been on their shelves from early years.

The traditional loaf is also a favourite amongst customers, made from a 24-hour ferment, the yeast in this dough uses up its sugar in the proving process, leaving a healthier bread with more flavour.

A gluten free loaf is available each day which actually feels like real bread.

“Though if you’re not required to eat gluten-free but are either gluten intolerant or after the healthiest option, go spelt!” Elke suggests.

One of the oldest grains to be used in the world, spelt flour is far healthier.

Spelt products are available daily from the Tanunda Bakery.

Fourteen years ago, Elke and Harding even began making ice cream from the finest Italian ingredients.

“Europeans know that in an ice creamery, there is always an Italian behind counter,” Elke says.

“Because like pasta, pizza, and espressos, they do it best. Even in Germany we know that.”

As with all products at the Tanunda Bakery, the ingredients are the best to ensure consistent flavour and appearance.

Also excelling in Donuts since their beginning, Harding has succeeded in combining a Canadian twist with an impressive range that continues to grow.

“Harding is a guy that does not sit still, he has ants in his pants,” Elke chuckles. “He’s always developing recipes and making improvements.”

In such a bakery that remains constantly ambitious, there is always something to prepare or organise.

Though the shop front is open six days a week, Elke and Harding are still working behind the scenes on Sundays.

Elke relates it to a dairy farm, in the way that they must be there every day.

“At least Sunday we don’t have to trade, or organise staffing,” Elke smiles.

She explains that the trick is to live close, but far enough so you don’t see it, otherwise they would always be there.

“It’s all about being a good team,” Elke explains. “A tight-knit couple, that encourages instead of accusing each other. Because it’s tremendous stress, even now.”

Although they are more hands-on than ever, Elke and Harding value the fantastic staff they have working for them.

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