In 1175, twelve Benedictine monks built a watermill by Odense Å, the river which quietly flows through the heart of Odense. The mill became known as Munke Mølle (Monks Mill) and produced flour for centuries. In 1962, the world's oldest mill opened the Mette Munk Bakery, which soon started to export high-quality, deep-frozen Danish pastry all over the world.
In fact, the foundation of Munke Mølle in Odense is down to Saint Canute. Following his murder in St. Albani Church in Odense in 1086 and his canonisation as a saint some 10 years later, King Erik Ejegod called the twelve Benedictine monks over from England. These monks, "Canute's brothers", built a watermill (Munke Mølle) and, in 1135, were granted permission to grind grain, not just for their own use but also for the townspeople.
From 1962 to 1975, Mette Munk was part of Munke Mølle. In the beginning, production centred on fresh goods, such as bread rolls and biscuits. Later on, freezing equipment was brought in and Mette Munk became the first Danish business to take up the export of frozen Danish pastry to both the USA and the UK. Over the years, many different product variants have been sold, but right from the start in 1962, Danish pastry has been Mette Munk's core area. Apart from Danish pastry, open tarts, both fruit and savoury, are the most important items in the company's range.
In 1960, Mette Munk was sold off as an independent limited liability company, and up until 1989, it was owned by Managing Director Jens Møldrup. From 1989 to 2001, Mette Munk was part of the Danisco Group, after which the company's previous director bought out the company.
In 2006, new investors acquired Mette Munk A/S and large sums were invested in the company. Today, Mette Munk has one of the world's most advanced production plants, in which the 150-year-old traditional Danish craft is combined with the latest refinements in process technology. Innovation is the foundation of Mette Munk's activities today and constant efforts are being made to market new Danish pastries from the best ingredients.
In 2014 Mette Munk doubled the production capacity due to demand and was sold to Aryzta, who want to continue the Danish Pastry fairytale on the historical address in Odense.
The making of Danish Pastry is a baking tradition that stretches back more than 150 years and is still only mastered to perfection in Denmark.
It all started with a strike among bakers in Copenhagen. The master bakers had to seek help from their colleagues in other countries to meet customer demand. The help came from Vienna and the Viennese bakers taught their Danish colleagues to use the lamination technique which involves rolling out and layering the dough many times to create a dough made of "flaky" sheets of pastry. When the bakers from Vienna returned home, the Danes continued working on the technique and incorporating fat into the recipe. The perfect match was born when the Danes later developed a special "rolling margarine" for Danish Pastry. The ideal melting temperature of this margarine gives Danish Pastry that special texture which makes it juicy, light and airy all at the same time. This is how Danish Pastry was conceived, and the Danish word for it, "wienerbrød" (meaning "Viennese bread"), lovingly acknowledges the Viennese for their contribution.