Baker Tom Thie
If you have questions or stories you would like to share, you can e-mail us directly 

Tom   wtthie@yahoo.com

Cynthia  virginiabakeryremembered@gmail.com

Author Cynthia Beischel
Dear Cynthia and Tom,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, especially since I grew up in Cincinnati (where my father Harry Hines, M.D., always brought home some of your goodies each weekend) and I now live in Leipzig, Germany (a city full of culture, music and multiple outstanding bakeries, as you might know).

My favorite of your masterpieces were your Bran Muffins, which I tried for years to duplicate (almost 100% successfully). In order to now be able to do so completely successfully, please give me the following additional information:

1. For Schnecken Goo (p. 142):
- did you use light or dark brown sugar?  Light Brown Sugar
- did you use light or dark corn syrup?  Clear Corn Syrup
- what kind of shortening did you use? Any vegetable shortening such as Crisco


2. For the Bran Muffins (p. 153):
- what brand of fine wheat flour do you recommend? I use what I can find
- should the milk be powdered, whole or skim? WHole milk is best for baking
- should the sugar be white or brown?  Granulated white sugar

Thank you for clarification.Sincerely, Nancy Hines Starr


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Hi Tom,

I loved the book. Even though I came to Cincinnati in 1977 (living in Clifton) I remember Virginia bakery well. I would pick up an assortment of goodies for work every month or so.  My friend always asked me to make sure the order included her favorite Coconut Rolls.

Is it possible to get the recipe for them?  I know she would love it if I arrived at her house with a plate full!

Thanks so much for keeping the memory and the goodies alive! D.B.

The coconut rolls are easy to make. Take 12 pieces of yellow dough about the size of a golf ball and roll them into 3" long cylinders.. They should look like fat fingers. Lay the cylinders side by side and brush the tops with egg wash. Now pick up the dough pieces one at a time and press the egg washed tops into flaked coconut. Place on greased baking sheet with the coconut side on top leaving about 1" in between the rolls. Proof, covered, until doubled in size and almost touching. Bake in 375 oven about 15 min. Cool and drizzle with roll icing.


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Some friends and I had a schnecken-making party and had a wonderful time.  They turned out 
beautifully.  (photo attached) Thanks for your help!! Altagail 









 





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Dear Tom,

My friend, Kathy Krug, sent me a copy of your wonderful book about the Virginia Bakery, and I read it from cover to cover, the first night and shed many tears - of joy and sorrow.  What memories it brought back to me!   Thank you for writing it, and including those wonderful pictures and recipes.  My name is Julie Herron Weisbach, and I lived in Clifton for 23 years, on #6 Hedgerow Lane, and worked at the VB in 1957 and 58.  I was a very close friend of Sharon Thie's and of course she got me the job.  I knew the family pretty well, and I knew the bakery and all the yummy baked goods very well!  I think that i met your sister, Jennifer, or Jenny, at a brunch at Chusti Bierhorst's house after our 50th WHHS reunion.  Sharon and I were very close during our junior and senior years of high school, and I was invited to spend two weeks at Torch Lake with her family one summer.  We wrote during college and infrequently while she was living in NYC, up until she became ill.   My husband and I attended her first wedding at the wonderful house on Hanley Road.  I have so much that I would like to tell you but I will try to keep this letter brief.  Let me list a few things that I remember.  

1.  My job at the Bakery consisted of doing what I was told to do.  Sweeping the floor and the sidewalk outside the bakery, making up boxes, tying string around the boxes just so, rolling mexican wedding cookies in powdered sugar, other cookies in chopped nuts, arranging cookies in the cases, and occasionally waiting on customers.  I was afraid of Teresa, Charlotte, and most of the other ladies.  Sharon's mom, Mrs. Thie, and Sandy were always kind to me and saved my hide many times. Howard and Paul loved to tease Sharon and me. We wore turquoise crinkly uniforms, and the first few months I worked at the bakery I gained 17# and had to keep asking for bigger uniforms. Your dad commented on this on several occasions.  During our senior year Sharon and I both struggled with our weight, but managed to lose quite of bit of it before graduation.  

2.  In the summer I walked to and from the bakery for work, and on Saturdays at closing time Howard, your dad, would insist that we take home leftover pies, cakes, coffee cakes, bread, etc.  He would load me up with a huge stack of boxes, and i would carefully walk home, and when I got to my street with its 6 houses, I would start to hand out goodies to all my neighbors, saving a few for our family, of course.  Very nice!   In the winter, Sharon would drive me home in a big old Pontiac, or was it an Oldsmobile, and we would sit out in the car for a long time talking.  She would read her plays that she was working on to me, and talk about the current boys we favored, etc.  I admired her talent in writing, and was honored that she wanted my opinions of her work. Turning that big old car around at the end of Hedgerow Lane was a real chore, but she did it!

3.   The senior prom at WHHS high school 1958.  Sharon was head of the refreshment committee, and of course I was a member.  She got permission somehow to use the bakery and some of the equipment the night before the prom.  I think Paul and Howard helped set up everything  before they went home, and we had to be out of there by 4 AM when they came to work.  Well, several of us arrived after the bakery closed, and we mixed up the dough.  The theme of the prom was the Deep South, and we set out to make cookies shaped like magnolia blossoms.  They turned out pretty weird.  They sort of looked like flowers, but we messed up on the coloring, and they turned out to be blue?  They tasted okay, but did not look very appetizing.  We stayed very late and made hundreds of them.  But after the prom, we were left with hundreds of them.  Very few  got eaten.  We were begging people to take some home with them.  But the punch was a success.  I remember mixing up the dough in these gigantic bowls, and laughing so hard that night. 

Well, I could go on and on, but you probably have read enough of this silliness.  I loved the Virginia Bakery and your Aunt Sharon.  I was and still am very sad that she died so young.  I saved her letters but since we moved 18 years ago in 1991 from our big house in Seattle to an 850 sq. ft houseboat,  I have not been able to find her letters. This also makes me very sad.  Over the years when I visited Cincinnati, I always returned to the bakery, and our friends who still live there sent us Schnecken at Xmas time.  I was very sad when it closed.  Clifton just isn't the same anymore.  At least there is still Skyline and the Esquire Theater.  Take care and I hope the book sales continue to go well.  Kathy told me that she had a hard time getting a copy to send to me. Thank you again for writing it .

Sincerely, 

Julie Weisbach


Dear Julie,
 
Your stories really touched me and brought back memories of my own. My regret is that I didn't know Aunt Sharon better. I'm sure I would have liked her. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. 


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First Off, I want to Thank You and your Wonderful Family for a lifetime of 
Great Baked Goods and Very Sweet Memories! Virginia Bakery Was/Is a part of my Families Life. From my earliest memories Virginia Bakery was there. Every       
Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, and just daily life there was always one of     
your wonderful little boxes or bags with the friendly red print close by. My    
Father was James A. Fox, or Foxy to all who knew him. He owned and operated The Fox Candy Company from 1929 to 1995. I was born in 1958 in Correyville to my father and Mother, Rose Ann Fox, Rosie as she was known, number 6 out of 7 children. We moved to Cornell place in 1965, in the Gaslight district of  Clifton.. Virginia Bakery baked goods were always in the house! Schnecken was a  
daily treat, and the only breads we ate were yours! My favorite Bread was the   
whole wheat, but we also had your white bread, with 9 people you had your       
choice. I received a copy of your wonderful book for Christmas, and have        
recently started to get to read it. My Brothers and Sisters want to borrow it   
but I have told them to get their own!  I have not tried to bake anything  
yet, I want to finish reading the book first. You may have known my Father,     
certainly he knew your Father and maybe even his Father. Foxy was born in 1907  
and died 5 years ago at the age of 98. We must have been in your shop every     
week, sometimes even more. I loved to run up to the counter and look at all the 
goodies, pick out the items, and was especially thrilled when he would buy      
Eclairs(a special treat that rarely lasted till after dinner). I could go on    
for Hours, but I will save you your time. Needless to say, you and your Family, 
and Virginia Bakery will always be in my Heart! I am writing today because      
after leafing through the book and all of the recipe's, I don't see one of my   
favorite breads. I asked my Brothers and Sisters about it and the Name of it,   
and while they All remember the Bread, None can recall what it was called. It   
was Round, about 6 or 7 inches long or tall depending how it sat on a plate. It 
was a dense, moist cake like bread, slightly sweet and I believe it had Raisins 
and perhaps nuts. It was slightly cone shaped, about 3-4 inches in diameter if  
I remember correctly. We always spread cream cheese on it, and boy was it       
Delicious! I can still remember the taste right now as I write about it. All of 
my family members remember it too. I am hopping you know which one I am         
describing, I know it was available on a regular basis as it, like all of the   
other breads my Father bought, was always in the house. I would love to have    
the recipe so when I get the courage to try and start baking some of these      
wonderful treats I can try it as well. I also want to say, as a small business  
owner, that your remarks in the front of the book were spot on and spoke        
directly to me. And Finally, Thank you for sharing all of your Wonderful        
Recipes and Memories. I hope that you Know how Special Your Family and 
YOU are to so many of us your Loyal Fans, You Really did make a 
Wonderful Difference in our Lives!!!

 

Thank you so much for your kind words. I love stories like this. They are the fringe benefits I had not anticipated.

I believe the bread you are thinking of is brown bread. If you want the recipe, e-mail me at wtthie@yahoo.com. ( The recipe is now posted on the recipe page.)
QUESTIONS - STORIES - COMMENTS
I'm impressed. It looks just like the ones we made at the bakery and I'll bet it tasted good as well. See, it's not hard and actually can be quite fun. I would love to see more pictures. Keep Baking, Tom Thie
November 10, 2013 
     What a wonderful taste from the past (Virginia Bakery) Schnecken. I remember buying these whenever I was in the Clifton area in the late 60's. Busken certainly did the Thie family justice for bringing back one of my favorites. Another favorite was Virginia Reels, I wish those could return.  Harry Panaro
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Hi Mr. Thie,     June 1, 2012

My name is Patrick Regis and I was born and raised down here in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Years ago my neighbor, whose family goes back before 1900 in Cincinnati, used to give me my Christmas gift every year.....I know you know what it was.Schnecken, of course. What a great treat!!! A real gift from God. Thank you and your family

Received your book and am enjoying it daily; not just for the recipes but for your story of family and your family bakery. Very inspiring. What you all had is what made our country great. I think that the old ways are slowly falling by the wayside. Our young people of today could use a little of what you had.

Best personal regards,  Patrick Regis

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March 31, 2012
Many thank you's for posting your Bacher Rye Bread recipe on your website. Bacher rye is my husband's favorite, and I've been trying to make a good rye it seems forever. They always come out too heavy and sometimes too sour no matter what I adjust, as it did yesterday. This morning remembered your super-duper good cookbook and . . . NO rye recipe!!!! Couldn't believe it. LOL So searched online for Bacher Rye and low and behold the first one up was from your website! I was overjoyed. Every recipe from your book has worked well here, so figure your rye will also, especially with the extra info you supplied -- the longer fermentation and initial higher heat to cook. Have not been doing either here, so can't wait to give it a try after we eat up the latest rye disaster. LOL 

My son and daughter live out of town; but when they come for a visit, we turn the kitchen into a tea ring production madhouse using your recipe of course! It's my son's favorite, but we all love it. Everyone gets lots to take home with them. Your schnecken recipe will be our next family endeavor. The recipes in Virginia Bakery Remembered for coffee cakes are too good to miss, and your double cinnamon roll recipe is to die for! Thank you for sharing your recipes and so much of your family's history and happenings. Through your book, you have given our family many fun times baking together.

THANK YOU!

K. Stewart

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Dear Mr. ThieFebruary 12, 2012,
As long time fans of your bran muffins I was thrilled to find the recipe in the book. I have made them a few times and they were successful except for the mess in the bottom of the oven the first go round and the actual texture of the finished muffin. Taste and moisture is great and I have solved the bottom of the oven problem. The recipe calls for 2 cups of wheat bran. I found, Bob's Red Mill Unprocessed Miller's wheat bran at the market, it makes the muffins a finer texture than I remember. Can you suggest a source for the wheat bran that you used?
The other exciting thing is that the Schnecken Goo will make any muffin recipe a stunner, can you imagine?! I made a Date/Graham Cracker Crumb  and a Dried Cherry/Oatmeal muffin with the addition of the goo and they were certainly special. So thank you for the wonderful reading and the recipes that your book has provided. Not to mention the experimentation with your delicious goo. The book is a keeper!  Thank you for sharing.  

 Jeanie Schmidt 

The recipe should say wheat bran flakes which can be purchased at most whole foods stores. It will make a difference. I'm glad you're having fun with it. Let your imagination run wild.



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Jan. 12, 2012

My husband purchased your book "Bakers of Better Baked Foods Virginia Bakery Remembered" for me for last Valentine's day. I read the book last year and I am now going to try to make some of the recipes.  

Regarding Winter White flour, I thought you had mentioned there was a bakery where the flour could be purchase, but I can't seem to find it in the book, maybe I saw it on your internet site but I can't seem to find the information.  Would you kindly send me that information.

Also, I was wondering, when making the recipes, if I didn't have the Winter White flour, which would be better, cake flour or regular flour, or a combination of both?

My husband remembers going into your bakery years ago when he was in college and has very fond memories!

Thank you so much.

Mrs. Goodman

Mrs. Goodman,
The bakery in question is Bonomini in Northside.541-7501. You can make a reasonable substitute by combining 3 parts All Purpose flour with 1 part Cake flour.Good Luck, have fun, send pictures!
Tom Thie


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Tom;                                                                                                         Jan.7, 2012

The book arrived today (Saturday) and it is more than I could have hoped for.  I was born at Good Sam in 1940, lived on Middleton Ave until 1953.  My grandmother, a very long-time Cliftonite, was one generation removed from Germany and was friendly with your family, Henry   Yaeger, and others my memory is too dim to recall.  Your book recalls a time and a way of life still dear to me after sixty years. Thanks again.

Herb Danner

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The bakery has been part of my family history, too.

These dear ladies didn't make it into your book:

My aunt, Dorotha Waag Fischer, worked as a sales clerk from about 1930 to 1934.  She must have learned a lot about baking because she was the best and most prolific baker in the family.

The more interesting story for me is that my mother (Dorotha's sister), Martha Waag LaDow, also worked as a sales clerk from about 1937 until her marriage in October, 1942 at age 23.  Myrtle and Hattie were present at her bridal shower and at the baby shower for me in October, 1943.  They and Bill were guests at my Mom and Dad's wedding and reception and made their wedding cake as a wedding present!  We still have the topping decoration for the cake!  Mom spoke fondly of your family  and of her job.  It was a treat for us whenever Dad would drive to Clifton (all the way from Westwood!) to get bread and goodies for Saturday breakfast from "our bakery".

Dave Ladow

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Hello Bill - Back in the 40s I lived on Cypress Garden, off Clifton, about a mile north of Ludlow. One of my favorite outings at the time was to Virginia Bakery with my mother, to get sugar cookies or, if I was really lucky, butterscotch gems. Many of my first birthday cakes came from there, too, some of their delightful molecules still probably making their way through my body all these years later. So it was with great pleasure that I ran across reference to the bakery in the recent Chatterbox. Thank you for helping to preserve the memory of that wonderful institution.
 Sincerely,
 Daniel C. Bryant
8/27/2011
From Ask-the-Baker at the Virginia Bakery Remembered web site

Mary Jo from Mack said on 11/23/10 - 05:38PM
My brother bought me a copy of the book at the Findlay Market signing. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see all of these treasured memories in print. My father has been gone a long time, but the times we spent with him in the bakery on Saturday mornings are fondly remembered. Yes, I was one of those kids who got a cookie from Gert when we came in the door. I'm sure I will have questions as I bake from cover to cover. THANKS FOR NOW! 

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Jim said on 12/5/10 - 11:53 AM
… Thanks for publishing the book. It's a treasure. 

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Mary Jo said on 12/17/10 - 10:06 AM
…Thanks. I made the Bread Ends the other day. Fantastic! Just as I remembered. 

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Steven Braun said on 12/27/10 - 09:40AM 
Got your book for Christmas and it brought back many memories. Although I was a "Sunday Cleaner" for a while I still saw much of what you describe of your father and mothers work from the sidelines. …the fringe benefits were wonderful!

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Sweet Memories
First Off, I want to Thank You and your Wonderful Family for a lifetime of Great Baked Goods and Very Sweet Memories! Virginia Bakery Was/Is a part of my Families Life. From my earliest memories Virginia Bakery was there. Every Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, and just daily life there was always one of your wonderful little boxes or bags with the friendly red print close by. …Virginia Bakery baked goods were always in the house! Schnecken was a daily treat, and the only breads we ate were yours! My favorite Bread was the whole wheat, but we also had your white bread, with 9 people you had your choice. 
I received a copy of your wonderful book for Christmas, and have recently started to get to read it. My Brothers and Sisters want to borrow it but I have told them to get their own!  I have not tried to bake anything yet; I want to finish reading the book first. …We must have been in your shop every week, sometimes even more. I loved to run up to the counter and look at all the goodies, pick out the items, and was especially thrilled when he would buy Eclairs (a special treat that rarely lasted till after dinner). I could go on for Hours, but I will save you your time. Needless to say, you and your Family, 
and Virginia Bakery will always be in my Heart! 
…I also want to say, as a small business owner, that your remarks in the front of the book were spot on and spoke directly to me.

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Schnecken
…Received Virginia Bakery Remembered as a Christmas gift.  Have made a batch of yellow dough and 4 schnecken.  My wife and I ate two and we gave two away.  We obviously enjoyed ours.  Those to whom we gave the other two complained about not having enough.  Guess I’ll make some more.

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