A slice of Finnish bakery history
Catharina Henrika Antell (1850-1924)
This success story began in October 1842, when a small ship bringing salt from Stockholm sailed into Raahe.
The ship's captain was Johan Antell. He was a young newly wedded husband and father. His wife Anna and one-month old son Johan Petter were waiting for him in his home harbour of Raahe. Anna was widowed at the age of 22 when her husband was killed on that very sea voyage. She defeated the fate of a seaman's fate, and set up a bakery. She got recipes from overseas and the other captains' repertoires.
Roasted licorice and coffee
Initially, the Antellas lived in a house in the centre of Raaahe, Kauppakatu 34 (former Planting / Pohjama house, now owned by the church). Anna then moved and became a tennant of copper smith Söderberg in Aitakadulle.
In 1869, Anna gained an assistant,19-year-old Katri Pyhtilä from Pattijoki. She quickly learnt to be a good baker. Katri worked at Antell's bakery in Kirkkokatu 23 (now the house next to Korhonen's Flower Shop on the Pekkatori side) until the year of Anna's death in 1873.
Johan Petter had been fond of Katri and proposed to her after the death of his beloved mother. Anna's death left the young couple a legacy of, liquorice, coffee, barley, potatoes and pork.
Unfortunately, Anna left them with some debts. Fearing the debt collector, the Antells moved to Siikajoki to Tiito's house.
Apple pie, Finland's oldest filled cake
After the business in Siikajoki went bankrupt in difficult times, the Antellas packed their belongings and went to Oulu.
In 1880 Katri got permission to practice as a professional baker. She bought her first sack of flour on credit, she baked bread and went to with her basket to Oulu Market and sold the products. After three years, she opened her own store. A year before the turn of the century, Katri opened her first coffee shop and offered at the opening ceremony "25 cents for as much apple pie that you can eat."
Antell's "Apple Pie" is known as the oldest filled cake, which it has been baking constantly. The success of Antell's bakery was based on its position as Oulu's finest partner. Ordering from Antell was part of civilised life.
Even women were praised for Antell. If the girl was pretty, she was told, "Go to work at Antell's as a baker because you look so tasty"