Ode to the Dietz Bakery – Fredericksburg, Texas

categories: USA Travel
Dietz Bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Hot fresh cinnamon rolls from Dietz Bakery. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

Dietz Bakery in Fredericksburg, Texas is no more. To most people outside of Texas, this probably won´t mean very much. But, to anyone who ever had a slice of that bread fresh from those decades-old ovens, and to those who ever waited in line to get that freshly baked donut, cinnamon roll or sausage roll, June 30, 2010, is a day that will always be remembered when we lost an icon of the community that can never be replaced.

It probably seems a little odd that I´m posting a story about a bakery from my hometown. After all, I´m an international traveler and always looking forward to my next travel adventure. News of the bakery´s closing spread like wildfire. And, people felt like they had lost a close family member.  Frankly, over the past month, I´ve been pondering why those of us that knew the Dietz Bakery had such an emotional and visceral reaction to losing this viagrafo.life.net cultural icon of Texas.  After all, there are other places to get bread, right?  In Bogota, Colombia, where I now live, there are at least a dozen bakeries in a five-blog radius from my apartment where I can get freshly baked bread and sweet treats.

Dietz bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Freshly baked Dietz bread cooling. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

On June 30, I met up with some friends from high school to get in line to bid the bakery ¨Auf Wiedersehen.¨  Truth be told, I like many others, had already put an order in earlier in the week to make sure we got our favorite treats one last time.  But, there´s always been something about standing in that line, smelling the bread and the warm glaze anticipating that first bite, trying to control the hunger.  We weren´t first in line, even though we arrived at 6:40AM, but we were second.

Dietz Bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Waiting in line outside of Dietz´s Bakery. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

The Dietz Experience

Dietz Bakery had what every business wants: loyal customers, passionate for its products.  Why? Dietz wasn´t the only bakery in town.  And, the others have great products as well. But, no other bakery in town had the same level of commitment from its customers that Dietz had.  Again, why?  I think any kind of food product has the potential to create an emotional bond with its customer. Food attacks all of our senses. The experience is visual, tactile, olfactory and, often times auditory.  And, Dietz Bakery certainly had all of these elements.

  • The Smells: The first thing to hit you upon entering was the combination of the smell of the bread and pastries wafting from the ovens and cooling trays.  The decades-old metal fans, used to cool the bread, help circulate the intoxicating, mouth-watering aromas out the front door.
  • The Sight: Next, there was the look of the pastries displayed in the glass case so that you could start looking immediately to see if they still had what you wanted. Even a newbie could see that these products were freshly baked.
  • The Sounds: The sounds of Dietz were a mix of the old fans cooling the bread, the old slicer cutting a fresh loaf for a customer waiting for it and the tape dispenser spitting out branded labels to close off the freshly wrapped loaves.
  • The Touch: Next came the feel of that fresh bread, or maybe a warm cinnamon roll or donut.  The products were soft to the touch if eaten immediately.  And, if left too long, the lack of preservatives was apparent as the bread and pastries dried up. But, that wasn´t anything that a microwave or toaster couldn´t fix.
  • The Taste: And, finally, there was that unique Dietz taste of its products. I´ve come across some bakeries that had similar-tasting products. but, nothing came close.  There was always the satisfaction knowing that what you were eating was freshly made, handmade, homemade, just like your Oma (grandmother) would´ve baked.
Dietz Bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Fresh sliced bread. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

Ubiquity and Scarcity

As I thought about Dietz´s legacy, it dawned on me I never really had to do without Dietz´s products.  They were closed two days a week, but from Tuesday through Saturday, Dietz was there.  Name the wedding or large event in town, and it was likely that Dietz bread was served.  Until the day it closed, Dietz was Fredericksburg.  Dietz was there at your birthday, your anniversary, your wedding and numerous community BBQs and fish fries.  In doing so, It was part of the fabric of the community in a fundamental way.

But, Don and Marcia decided a long time ago that they were only going to make a certain amount of product a day. And when that sold out, that was it. No more.  That philosophy created a situation in which we felt like the product was ultra-limited. It didn´t matter that you could call ahead, pre-order or simply arrive on-time.  Dietz sold out almost EVERY DAY.  Once they sold out, Marcia hung its famous ¨Sold Out¨ sign apologizing for the fact that there was no more to sell.  That created a belief that the product was scarce and therefore, superior.  Like I said before, there were other bakeries in town. But, you could get their products any time of the day. But, not Dietz´s.  You knew that if you wanted something from Dietz, you had better be on your game.

Dietz bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Fresh cinnamon twists from Dietz. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

 

Simple, handmade, homemade product

In a world where mass production of our food supply has given way to faux-fresh products (freshly baked frozen dough, doesn´t cut it), Dietz stood alone. You knew that those products were made by Don´s hands every day. The lore is that Don arrived to the bakery around 1AM, and to the sounds of classical music, he made the daily ration of bread and pastries by hand until the day it closed.  Who does that anymore? And who from my generation is willing to do that?  Rather than relegate Dietz to anachronistic status, it made Dietz even more special over time.  Using those same ovens from the 1950s, Don and Marcia made a pure, simple, well-made product day after day that stood the test of time.  They didn´t try to get too fancy and follow whatever cooking fad was in vogue.

Dietz Bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Marcia and Cathy, mother and daughter, working together for the last time. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

Food and Travel

Food has always been an integral part of my travel experiences.  I think about the first piece of unpasteurized French cheese I had in Paris, the red wines I enjoyed on my travels throughout Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, the arepas (corn cakes) and patacones (twice-fried plantains) that I love here in Colombia, the exotic dishes (whose names I´ve forgotten ) I had in Turkey, and even enjoying my first Tim Tam slam last year in Australia.

Despite all of those foodie adventures, I´ve never forgotten the Dietz Bakery. And, I like many from Fredericksburg, Texas, never will.

Dietz bakery, Fredericksburg, Texas

Don and Marcia´s farewell letter. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

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by Jeff Jung

Jeff is the founder of Career Break Secrets which provides travel video guides and advice for career breaks and around the world travel adventures. The site was inspired by Jeff´s own career break adventure in 2007 and 2008. Jeff currently resides in Bogota, Colombia where he tries not to eat too many arepas and patacones.

40 Responses to “Ode to the Dietz Bakery – Fredericksburg, Texas”

Corrine Jung

Says:

Jeff, this was great. Thanks for doing it. A great deal of what you expressed are things I too felt. Take Care!

Corrine

Maxine Jung

Says:

Jeff,
Thanks so much for sharing your article on Dietz Bakery.. Your pictures were wonderful. Love Mom

Alice Schumpelt

Says:

Jeff, you hit the nail on the head! The bakery was indeed Fredericksburg and will be missed more than any other business except maybe Dooley’s. That is one one of my childhood memories.

Joanne Frantzen

Says:

Oh, Jeff! Although my thighs won’t miss the calories, my mouth will miss the scrumptiousness. What I think I will miss most of all is watching Sassy get so excited about the cinnamon twists. What a treat to get to spend that morning with you and her, two of my favorite people in the world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts that mirror so many of our own. 🙂

Teresa Jenschke

Says:

Beautifully written, Jeff, and thank you for sharing this. You are such an inspiration, and what a wonderful tribute to Dietz Bakery.

Doris Juenke Doebbler

Says:

Jeff,
You brought yet another tear to my eye with your “memories” of one of my favorite places to visit on Main St. I grew up in San Antonio but, mom and dad being from Fredericksburg, spent many a day there. In fact, when we were first married, hubby, who grew up there, and I lived on Travis St. in a garage apt. (which no longer exists) for five weeks before going off to college.
We now live in Bandera. On Tuesdays when we brought lambs over to market, we always had to leave early — so we could get 8 – 10 loaves of white, wheat or pumprenickel bread which we “hoarded” in the freezer. It was oh so good with Koch Kasse — which is another “dying creation”.
Ahhh, progress. The older I get, the more I hate it!
Thanks for sharing these wonderful memoirs.

Linda Wilson

Says:

Jeff, I don’t know you but work with your mom at the gift shop at HCM. I knew of Dietz Bakery from visits here as a tourist for years before we moved here in 2002. As a short timer here I was so sad to see Dietz close. I too am not always in favor of progress.
Hope I can meet you one of these days when you are here. Your mom is a hoot and I enjoy her friendship.
Thanks for this great piece!

Mary Obermite

Says:

Well said–and thank you for putting it out there. I grew up eating Dietz bread and it is true I will miss it–even from where I live now in Germany. But, Don and Marcia have earned this next slice of their own adventure, and I toast them for taking the step–even if it is a loss for the rest of us.

Sharron Esquell

Says:

Jeff, What a great article. Dietz Bakery will for sure be missed. I just hate that we were to far away to patronize them regularly. Keep up the good work.

Lavern Loving

Says:

You did a great job of voicing what oh so many of us are feeling. It leaves an empty feeling in any trip down Main St. just knowing it isn’t there.

Annabel Kasper Wilkinson

Says:

What a wonderful article. There will never be pumpernickel bread like Dietz’s. That was my favorite. The cinnamon roll pictures made my mouth water. Thanks for doing a great job.

Shirley Kearns

Says:

How very nice of you to remember and to write what so many of us are feeling. My Opa Evers made regular trips to Dietz Bakery and I still remember how good the doughnuts were with the summer sausage from Udo Henke’s butcher shop. That was a long time ago but the quality never wavered. And then the cinnamon rolls. Oh my.I admired Don because I went to high school with him and knew he had a choice of how to spent his life. I remember how his Mom and Dad labored in that bakery. We are glad he decided to continue the family tradition.

Robert Lamar Feuge

Says:

Jeff: Your ode brought back good memories. After I left FBG for college, I would receive “care packages” which included Dietz Bread. Guys in the dorm would hear that I had German bread and they would descend on my room like vultures. Whenever I visited FBG (as recent as last October), I would take my place in that line for a fresh, warm loaf of that wonderful bread. Going home won’t ever be quite the same without that bakery. Best wishes to the Dietz family.

Teri Kusenberger Ewing

Says:

Just seeing a picture of their cinnamon rolls makes my mouth water. I have family living away from Fredericksburg and when we go to see them, my mom is always asked to bring Dietz’s bread. It is one of the first things we hear when we get there, “Were you able to get Dietz’s bread?” A wonderfully unique piece of Fredericksburg is gone! Message to Dooley’s 5 and 10: Don’t ever close!
Best of luck to the Dietz family!
Thanks for a wonderful story, Jeff! Travel well.

Carole [Arhelger] Mirsky

Says:

I was born in Fredericksburg, in 1943, my father, Alex Arhelger, was a decendent of Fredericksburg’s early settlers. I grew up enjoying the fine treats from Dietz-Moellendorf (Moellendorf’s were my aunt and uncle) and later just Dietz. As far back as I can remember, I would hear my mother, Ruby, placing her order in advance and going very early in the morning to Dietz to bring home the best treats in the world. Later, when she was too old to drive, she would walk the 5 or six blocks to the bakery; she would be sad indeed to learn that Dietz ceased doing business. Thank you for the wonderful article and the sweet memories. Carole Arhelger Mirsky

Cindy Beeman

Says:

Being a transplant here for several years now, this article is sad but we bless the family as they move on. Yes Sir, the smell was still there even when the SOLD OUT sign for the day was hung on the door and the doors were locked. Which meant you had to get there early in the morning. Fredericksburg has lost something special with 3 generations before, I wish someone would have carried it on., To us there is still time to reopen with the new generation!! We will take you back anytime!! GOD BLESS YOU.

Charlotte Hirt

Says:

Thanksgiving won’t be Thanksgiving without Dietz bread. My grandmother’s recipe specifically says “One loaf of Dietz bread, dried and crushed” goes into the dressing.

My special cousin could eat nothing except Dietz bread as she fought the dreaded cancer. I would bring her two loaves every week when i went to see her until she died. We miss you Don and Marcia!

Steven Ahrens

Says:

I will miss the Dietz bakery. There was nothing better than their fresh baked loaf of bread. When I was growing up we would always have a loaf of fresh baked Dietz bread in the kitchen. I remember eating it with ” Koch Kase” that was my favorite. Coming back to Fredericksburg will not be the same with out Dietz bakery.

Jeff

Says:

Thanks to all for your comments on the post. You’ve all helped make my point that Dietz was an integral part of the community. All the best! Jeff

Martha Ahrens

Says:

I just ate the last of the cinnamon rolls I had my mom get for me. Sigh. They were really good. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Sandra Houy

Says:

My parents owned Schaeffer House Cafe, so Dietz Bakery was like family to us when they moved to this location. A wedding was not complete without Dietz bread. My favorite was the pumpernickel. White bread with Kock Kase or homemade thick sweet cream sprinkled with sugar, was to die for! When my mother was dying from cancer, the one thing she could still eat were the products from Dietz Bakery. We made sure she always some in her freezer. Thanks for such a wonderful tribute and God Bless you Don and Marcia in your retirement. It is well deserved.

Barbara Usener

Says:

I remember when your parents and grandparents had Der Lindenbaum as a bakery. I would go there to get my cinnamon rolls. I have to eat my rolls and donuts and cinnamon twists sparingly now that I have in the freezer. I can’t share with anyone hoping they will last forever. I know we all have to retire sometime and better now that you still have your health to enjoy Fredericksburg life. Our turkey dressing won’t be the same without your bread. Will wish you well and happy retirement.

Lindsay Crenwelge

Says:

Jeff-WOW that article was great. Luckily i still have a few rolls and a couple of loafs of bread in my freezer.

Rebecca McCarty

Says:

This is such heartbreaking news. My mom’s family is from Mason and we ate Dietz bread whenever possible. I live in the PNW now but am heading to Texas for a visit and had planned my trip around visiting Dietz when I arrived there and as I left. It’s so sad that the old style and much better family bakeries are dying out. The only thing better than the Dietz white bread was their pumpernickel bread and don’t even get me started on the cinnamon rolls and other yummy treats. Fredericksburg just won’t be the same now.

Bud Norton

Says:

Thank you for this wonderful tribute to a true Fredericksburg (and Texas) landmark!
I’m just a long-time tourist who started coming to Fredericksburg regularly in the mid 1970s, At first I wondered why the Dietz Bakery always seemed to be closed. Someone finally told me that you had to get there early in the morning (well, “early” for me) before they sold out. I’m glad to say that I’ve probably eaten every type of baked good Dietz has sold. All excellent! I think your tribute pretty well sums up the special feelings customers had for the place.and the friendly people working there.
I’m sad that Dietz is gone, but will keep the sights, smells and tastes as fond memories.
Best wishes for the owners and staff! Hope they enjoy their future endeavors.

Marlene Pylate

Says:

Jeff,
Your article reminds all of us not to take anything for granted. We must savor the things we love while we can for all too soon, they may disappear. Blessings from Fredericksburg!

Pam Booth

Says:

Wow, I just came across your article about Dietz. I was born in F’burg but fmom and dad moved to Memphis, but my grandparents, greats, aunts, uncles lived there forever. I have been reminising lately about F’burg and longing for my Oma’s homemade bread, german sausages and the beautiful landscape in the Hill Country. Hope to get there one day soon and will miss not having a lot of the old establishments there. I’m glad to hear Dooley’s is still there!!

Tony LSU Dietz

Says:

Like the town of Fredicksburg to begin with, very touristy in a positive manner, but with me having the same last name I thought that the bakery deserved a visit. And wow, like Jeff stated, it was very tasty and every time we went through Fredicksburg, we stopped at the delicious bakery. Thanks for the years of service.

Laura

Says:

Thank you so much for the beautiful article on Dietz’s. I have so many fond memories of visits to the bakery. Fredericksburg and everyone that visits will sure miss everything that Dietz had to offer.

J. O. & Trish Haney Bulverde Texas

Says:

Great article on Dietz’s Bakery. The wife and I visit Fredericksburg many times a year to shop and enjoy the natives and watch all of the people that flock in from all over the nation to enjoy the sights and sounds of this unusually beautiful little city in the Texas Hill Country. One can learn very many things and be inspired greatly by just visiting and observing the living that goes on in Fredericksburg.

Nomadic Samuel

Says:

Oh, those cinnamon buns look divine!

Stephanie - The Travel Chica

Says:

This is a sweet post. And those cinnamon twists look delicious!

Bill Black

Says:

I just got word about the closure! Establishments such as this are becoming even fewer and further between. My wife and I would have been interested in keeping the business going — and learning it all from the Dietz family themselves and then changing NOTHING.

I just cant believe that there was noone to pass the bakery down to, or noone willing to step in and learn. Just heartbreaking… Would have tried to do so in a heartbeat.

Meg McDonald

Says:

Thank you for writing this. I remember so many mornings sitting in my little rocking chair at 5am – by the gas light grate of a wall heater, at my grandmother Margaret Maier (Tally) Fricke’s house – waiting for some angel from Dietz to drop an oil-stained paper bag full of freshly baked cinnamon sugar donuts off at our side door. Fredericksburg is just not Fredericksburg without Dietz Bakery. 🙁 Hopefully they will publish a cookbook … and easily charge $200 per cookbook!

Marty Land

Says:

What a great article Jeff! It is a great tribute to a great tradition which will be sorely missed in the Fredericksburg community. I am so glad that Donnie & Marcia are finally getting the opportunity to have time for themselves! They are great people who have always generously given of their time and talents in this community and I am sure they will continue to be involved cause that’s just who they are! We will miss the wonderful aromas and edibles but time changes many things and this has been a long time coming. Wishing Don, Marcia, & Cathy the very best as they start a new chapter of their journey!

Joyce MARSHALL Masters

Says:

Jeff, what great memories this article evoked!!! Thanks for featuring your hometown. Going back to our roots is so cathartic…our emotions so raw. Thanks for taking me on this journey!!

M'Layne Murphy

Says:

I lived in Fredericksburg during the late 80s until 1993. Dietz Bakery was the highlight of my mornings. Loved the cinnamon rolls. Would stop and get a box to take to my co-workers and Bill and Kathy Shearer at Shearer Publishing. It’s sad to hear they had to close.

Russell E. Kneese

Says:

Mr. Jung,
Thanks for the article! I found this when I was doing a search for a kochkase recipe that was similar to Mrs. Reeh’s that could be bought at Knopp-Mezger when I was a kid. One of my favorite meals as a kid was Dietz bread, kochkase, and dried sausage. It’s truly a shame that the Dietz recipes, along with Mrs. Reeh’s, and numerous other treasured Frederickburg traditions are dying a slow death. Thanks again for the memories!!!

Dan

Says:

The Pecan Butterflies were the main reason I didn’t mind driving 80 miles to visit Fredericksburg and now I find they’re no more. I wish I had that recipe.

Judy Moldenhauer

Says:

Great article!! Sad day when this bakery in Fredericksburg closed. The smell when you walked in the door and their bread….delicious, could eat half the loaf and not even give it a second thought!!

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