Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Maulbronn Monastery, monastery wall and farmyard. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl
COOKING FOR MONKS, GUESTS AND SERVANTS

THE KITCHENS

A monastery the size of Maulbronn and the diversity of people living there required multiple kitchens and equipment. Monks' meals were prepared within the hermitage, while guests' and servants' meals were prepared in separate kitchens.

Medieval bakery. Image: Wikipedia, public

Baking was done in the farmyard bakery.

DIFFERENT KITCHENS

A strict daily routine and fixed mealtimes meant that the kitchens needed to provide a great number of meals in a very short window. They also depended on the ready supply of fresh water and needed to be located somewhere where waste water could be discharged. The monastery kitchen at the cloister cooked for the monks in the refectories. The infirmary kitchen supplied those who were ill as well as those in the abbey. An additional kitchen area was responsible for feeding monastery guests.

The monks' refectory at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl
The lay refectory at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Bernd Hausner

The kitchen hatches in the monks' and lay refectories have survived.

MONASTERY KITCHEN

The monastery kitchen was located in the north wing of the hermitage, between both refectories. It could not be accessed from either dining hall, but could be entered through the cloister. Kitchen hatches on the west wall of the monks' refectory and he east wall of the lay refectory have survived. As typically seen in monasteries, the monastery kitchen was situated diagonally to the sanctuary. This was to keep smoke from the hearths and disruptive smells as far away as possible from the holy site where mass was held.

Maulbronn Monastery, baker's house and bakery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl

Kitchen and bakery were located in the farmyard.

COOKING AND BAKING AT THE MONASTERY

The monastery kitchen between the refectories did not provide everyone in the monastery with food. The infirmary, located in the eastern part of the hermitage, had its own kitchen, which may also have supplied the abbey. Because kitchens had open fires in their hearths and thus represented a fire risk to the monastery, these kitchens were designed as separate buildings. For example, Maulbronn had its own bakery, with an attached mill, in the farmyard.

Maulbronn Monastery, the Frühmesserhaus. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
Maulbronn Monastery, fireplace in the Frühmesserhaus. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

The Frühmesserhaus with its large chimney may have once been a guest kitchen.

THE FIREPLACE IN THE FRÜHMESSERHAUS

The Frühmesserhaus is located in the western part of the monastery complex. The small building was attached to the west monastery gate. The interior is divided into two rooms: one narrow, with a wide-arched entryway, and one taller and wider with a large open fireplace. It is possible that meals for the nearby guest house, where monastery guests stayed, were prepared here.

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