Karl Peter Boesen, born May 3, 1939 in Langenfeld, Germany became a baker at a very young age.
His grandfather, Peter Boesen (Backerei Peter Boesen) ran a medium sized
commercial/retail bakery where all generations of the family
worked. It was truly a family-run operation. From his earliest memories at about age five, young Karl became aware of all the
different kinds of machines needed to make the bread, etc. made by his family's
business. Being an only child and there being a shortage of toys made during World War II,
Karl, by necessity, made friends with the men who handled the machinery of the bakery. He
had the run of the bakery and with his natural inquisitiveness soon learned about the
various types of flour used for the baking and where they were stored.
By about the age of six, Karl had duties such as bringing the bread to the slicing room
after cooling. He actually didn't start school until the age of eight in
1947 because one of the local schools in Langenfeld had been bombed out
during the war and the other was taken over as a military headquarters.
Karl also learned pan greasing and was a shipping room gopher. Throughout
his school years he continued to work in the afternoons in his family's
At 15 his father and grandfather decided he would be the baker, so off to a bakery
technical school (Backerei Fach Schule) he went. He underwent an apprenticeship
finishing at age 18. Karl was now a certified German baker. In the true
renaissance tradition, Karl learned the mechanical side to the business
as well. His family's business built and maintained all their own delivery
vehicles and machinery for the baking process. He learned metal working
and welding and woodworking. Always having had an aptitude for these trades,
they soon joined his multi-skill set. Karl also developed an interest
in flying as many teenage boys did after the war. He joined the local
glider club, where as a group member he learned to build a sail plane
and got his glider's license in 1958. By 1960 he had moved on to airplanes
and received his German private pilot's license. By this time he
was driving a bread route down to Frankfurt. A little later he worked
as a baker in Berlin, "the Wall" having just been built, for
six months to pick up a different skill set for learning his family's
trade. With his learning from old techniques and new, everything was used
and reused. He was being groomed to run his family's bakery business.
But by 1961, change hit in a very big way. Karl decided to come to the
United States to experience more of life and a new culture. In order to
stay longer he had to come as an immigrant, which made him eligible for
the draft. He arrived at Boston's Logan Airport from Dusseldorf. On the
flight he spent time in the cockpit chatting with the pilots to further
his thirst for knowledge about planes and aviation in general. He first
worked for the Ford Tractor Company as a mechanic in
Massachusetts, but later for the United States Government. He got drafted
into the Army as a German national, but he stayed in the United States
working with transport planes. Karl was enlisted for four years, stationed
in Fort Rucker, Al. Through the military, he got exposed to more flying
and aviation in general. He received his commercial pilot's license here
in the states upon discharge from the Army. Karl turned to crop dusting
in the south Alabama area Slocomb. He did this for two to three years
then became a flight instructor in 1966 for Doss Aviation. He taught flight
for almost five years. When he was laid off in 1971, Karl went back to
crop dusting. During this period he received a direct appointment as a
warrant officer in the Alabama National Guard. His eventual 30
years in the guard saw an array of experiences from working with medi-vac units, special
forces, heavy lift helicopter company and the aviation assault company. His full time
career returned to flight instructing and college gaining Karl a degree in Aviation
electronics. He continued to work as a maintenance test pilot or flight instructor
throughout the seventies and eighties. By the late eighties, Karl wondered about his old skills from his first career as a
baker. On a vacation trip to Fort Walton Beach, Florida with his wife Christa, he happened
to see an oven thermometer calibrated in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. That started him
thinking that he should try making bread, the kind of bread he grew up with. Karl had
never seen a need for the kind of wholesome breads he grew up with. His
experience with all kinds of people here in America taught him that people
just didn't eat his type of bread. By the time his vacation was over,
Karl had bought a metric scale, a stainless steel bowl and a dough scraper.
He went shopping for flour: different ryes and wheat flours. On the weekend
he started trying to recreate all the recipes held in his head for
30 years. He worked on the sour culture; the ratios were still right there in his
memory. He mixed up several sours which was a three stage process, then he tried the
short stage Berlin sour. He bricked up his home oven, made special sheet
trays and bought baskets for proofing. They got a second household oven
set up in the garage. After much experimentation, the Boesens were making
up to 100 loaves of bread each weekend all done by hand, mixed and rolled.
All their German friends were in heaven. They loved the fresh breads.
Karl, with his wife Christa, decided to start a small bakery on existing
property they owned in Daleville based on the orders they were receiving.
So the beginnings of Karl's German Bakery were launched. They bought out
several small bakeries to get the basic machinery needed to start; a Reel
oven, a rounder, a slicer, a duchess dough divider etc. All this equipment
Karl rebuilt for his own purposes. While the start of a bakery is
always in the machinery, the true baking could not begin
until the special flours and supplies were found that could mirror those found in Germany.
Karl looked at spec sheets galore until he found Bay State Flour Company;
nearly like German quality in many flours. He was ready to roll and start producing the
high quality, wholesome breads his company has been known for these past 20 years.
Over the years, the company has expanded to a full sized commercial endeavor,
still in Daleville, Alabama now located on Hwy 84 East, with many varied
products to offer satisfaction to all kinds of tastes. Karl's German
Bakery makes Karista brand pound cakes, 30 flavors, whole wheat dinner
rolls, specialty pastries, gourmet cookies, decorated cakes, tortes, and
European import items, besides all their great tasting, wholesome
German breads. Our bread and cake products are available at most Military
Commissaries in the Southeast. Just ask the Deli/Bakery manager
for our products. There are also many restaurants and some grocery
stores in the surrounding area where you can purchase these great products.
We'll also ship it to you via FedEx.
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