Vänga kvarncafé – prize-winning sourdough bread, craft bakery and idyllic countryside

“Passion and lifestyle – that’s us,” says Malin Jagetun of her and partner Oskar Lorentzon’s philosophy behind their down-home sourdough bakery and café, Vänga kvarncafé, situated next to the Säveån stream in a classic Swedish, rural environment with forests, fields and pastures with Icelandic horses, between the towns of Borås and Alingsås.

It’s passion that’s taken the couple to where they are today. Not only professionally but also privately, as their love for each other arose after becoming the new owners of Vänga kvarncafé. You can’t help but get caught up in their shared success, so let’s take it from the beginning.

Malin is a creative soul who one day felt she wanted to do something different, new and creative with her life. She had a feel for the craft and loved applying this in creative projects. This led to her enrolling in a vocational training program for bakers. From there, things moved quickly. Within a year of completing the program, Malin had opened her own bakery. She was now creating cakes with various imaginative shapes and flavors, and thoroughly enjoyed this new turn in life. But all this took time and she soon saw that the bakery needed more everyday products for the bakery to be financially viable. Malin began experimenting with sourdough bread, which was relatively new to the market at the time. She is basically self-taught in baking sourdough bread. Initially, there was plenty of experimentation with the dough and trying various flavors in getting the results she was after.

Prize-Winning Sour Dough Bread Vänga Kvarncafé Sweden Sveba Dahlen

“I love kneading dough,” says Malin with a laugh, and that she does it well is witnessed by all the diplomas and awards she has received for her sourdough bread and buns.

At the entrance to the café there are several certificates and trophies that testify to Malin’s success with her sourdough bread. In 2019 and 2023, Malin took part in the Swedish Championships and in 2022, the Nordic Championships in Mathantverk*. And each year, she brought home four new awards. All breads sold at the bakery are prize-winners, except for the walnut bread, but maybe that’s just because she’s never competed with it.

“The judges’ assessments are based on appearance, taste, craftsmanship, knowledge and how the breads are cut and so forth,” says Oskar, who is noticeably proud of the awards.

In addition to the magnificent bread, the bakery took the gold for best cinnamon bun at the Swedish Championships and a silver for their outstanding cardamom bun.

Award winning sourdough bread at Vänga Kvarncafé Malin Jagetun Sveba Dahlen

It was in 2019 that the opportunity to take over Vänga kvarncafé arose. It was actually Oskar, working at the time as a consultant for small-scale food producers, who came up with the idea of Malin to acquiring the cafe, which was already well established and a well-known destination for tourists and locals alike. And was somewhere here the couple fell in love and decided to run the cafe together.

The journey has meant a lot of work and intensity for the couple, both privately and work-related. But it has all paid off, and they now have a full-scale bakery and café where every morning starts with baking bread and putting up new dough for the following day. The day begins with baking the pastry products for the confectionery counter. Around lunchtime, the bread is rounded and then proofed in the afternoon. 

“You’re never just standing around in a bakery,” says Malin happily.

So where do they get their inspiration? They give a bit thought to the question before finally admitting their inspiration comes mostly from other bakeries. It’s a bit of the classic busman’s holiday, eating bread from other bakeries, looking at how they display their goods and how they’ve gone about operating their businesses. And then there’s social media – a good source of inspiration – but Malin also has many of her own ideas that she’s constantly refining.

“You would want to do something new, but with us, most people want traditional products to go with their coffee,” says Oskar. “Things like classic Swedish tarts, carrot cake or brownies.

“We sometimes have croissants and pastries, but they sell best during the summer, when we don't really have the time,” bringing a smile to both their faces.

Stone baked bread Vänga Kvarncafé Bakery Sveba Dahlen deck oven

Summer is the time of year when they have the most visitors and then they’re running both the café and a bakery, seven days a week. Vänga Kvarncafé is a popular tourist destination with many tourists visiting the old mill – which in 2025 will have been in operation for 175 years – and taking walks along the beautiful Kärleksstigen (the Path of Love in English) that runs along the stream, or in the Vänga Mosse nature preserve, and then finish with coffee in this lush and relaxing environment. Malin and Oskar estimate the number of guests to be around 50,000 each year and Vänga Kvarncafé’s annual sales amount to around SEK 4 million. With this many guests, Vänga Kvarn is the second-largest visitor destination in the Borås municipality, trailing only the Borås Zoo. To cover staffing needs, there are usually four full-time employees during the off-season and about 18 seasonal employees during the summer months.

The flour for everything baked at Vänga Kvarncafé comes from the Vänga mill, a popular visitor destination in its own right. It’s extremely important with high-quality raw ingredients. The flour from the mill bears the KRAV label for sustainability and often comes from older or historical kinds of grain. Craftsmanship and sustainability are essential at the mill, a philosophy shared by Malin and Oskar. Freshly ground flour from their nearest neighbor is special and it’s certainly a factor for their popular sourdough bread, with variations such as with spelt and honey, apricot and hazelnut and roasted seeds and sesame, as well as their Light of the Mill, Danish Rye. 

“We have a very loyal clientele, some travelling several miles to buy our bread and then having a coffee and pastry before heading home,” says Malin. “We really like that!”

Craft Bakery Vänga Kvarncafe Summer Borås Sweden Sourdough bread Sveba Dahlen

The sourdough bread and all the other delicacies sold and served are baked in their faithful D-Series deck oven from Sveba Dahlen, with one deck equipped for steam and the other stone. Malin and Oskar are considering expanding the oven with another deck to help in meeting increasing demand. They also need another proofer and further on, a bun machine is in their dreams.

“We’re very happy with the oven, always there for us, doing its job,” says Oskar. “That we went with an oven from Sveba Dahlen felt obvious. The quality is first-rate and their factory is nearby, making it easy if we need service or spare parts.”

“Their machines are great!” Malin adds. “We haven’t read up on the oven’s advanced features, and don’t use weekly schedules or pre-set recipe functions. We use it like in a traditional craft bakery,” Malin adds.

The pair also have a Varimixer beater, which has provided reliable operation for several years. 

Installation of the equipment went smoothly, even though the premises turned out to be a bit problematic, requiring a window to be removed to get everything in place. Installation was efficient and there were no problems with getting up and running. The few times Malin and Oskar have needed help from Sveba Dahlen, everything went as it should. They are very confident in the skills of the service technicans.

Sveba Dahlen Deck Oven D-Series Stone Oven Vänga Kvarncafe Sourdough craft bakery

That in February 2024 Vänga kvarncafé was named Café of the Year in a local competition in the municipality is another testimony to the craftsmanship behind their sourdough bread. The judges were especially impressed by the focus on sustainability work that Malin and Oskar are so passionate about. 

Five years have passed since that day when they made that big decision. Not only to start a café and bakery, but also to share their journey through life. And where better to do it than along the Path of Love?

* Mathantverk means unique products with great taste, high quality and a clear identity. These are made mainly from local raw materials that are processed with care, on a small scale and often on the owner’s own property. Mathantverk is typified by the absence of automation as well as the involvement of human skills and knowledge throughout the entire production chain. This results in products that promote good health without unnecessary additives, products that can be traced to their origins. Mathantverk is based on tradition, but with constantly evolving methods in creating innovative products. – Source Edrimner

Vänga Kvarncafe - Cafe of the year in Borås 2024 Malin Jagetun Oskar Lorentzon Sveba Dahlen