It all began in Chrzanow, Poland, in a building in which Napoleon had spent a night. We are guessing the bakery in Poland opened between 1825 and 1841 and last known as Morris Jucker’s Bakery. When two of Morris’ children, Sigmund and Sol — the twins, were ten years old they went to work at the bakery due to a bakers’ strike in 1932 and only the family could work. Everything was truly handmade, for there were no mixers. The dough was placed in a trough, and everything was mixed by hand, developing great arm muscles! The European era of our family bakery ended when Sigmund and Sol were 19 years old, and the family was sent to Nazi concentration camps in 1941.
We relate our story to you as told to by Sigmund Jucker, one of the original three brothers.
On May 8th, 1945, Sigmund arose early, so he could awaken everyone in the camp, which was one of his jobs. On this day, Liberation Day, he arose to find no SS officers watching or even in the camp. The SS fled in such a hurry they luckily had not even turned on the electrified fences. Sigmund found wire cutters and actually cut the wires on the gate giving him and the other prisoners freedom. Sigmund was the first to take a breath of freedom outside the gate. He fell and literally kissed the ground.
On Liberation Day he was fortunate to have survived with his two other brothers and their older sister. On May 8th, 1949, (note the date), Sigmund, his twin brother, Sol, and younger brother Max opened Three Brothers Bakery on Holman Street in Houston, Texas. Sigmund remembers the first day they sold $19 worth of product. That first day taught them a very valuable lesson. If you don’t have parking, your business will struggle. Hence they struggled.
Again, there were no mixers, so everything was handmade, as it was in Europe. To give you an idea of pricing on opening day, the coffee ring, which we still sell today, was $.55 and a 1.5 lb rye was $.50! Yes our prices have gone up, but not very much in 65 years (and we now have mixers).
In May of 1954 or 1955, they moved the Bakery to Almeda Street. Yes, they had great parking and brought in $90 or $96 on their first day. They had arrived!! The bakery kept growing, and they then moved in May of 1960 to South Braeswood. If you know Houston, Braeswood is a major street, but in 1960, the bakery was at the end of the road and rumored to have cows living just beyond the bakery. They had great parking, but no one knew they were there or that the road went that far. Well the three brothers hung in there and became a Houston institution. In 1968, they hired their first employee. So for thirteen years, it was just the three brothers.
In Poland, the people did not eat very sweet foods, so the brothers learned to make American cakes and pastries. Today many Three Brothers Bakery baked goods still use the original Eastern European formula, including rye bread, challah (egg bread), danish, cheese pockets, Kaiser rolls, biales (finding its origin in Bialystok, Poland), traditional bagels, onion boards, onion pockets and others. Our famous gingerbread recipe was modified in America in 1960, and we still use this same formula today.
We are now a full service award winning bakery in Houston making savory eastern European style breads and pastries, cookies, cupcakes, edible logoed cookies and cakes and a full line of specialty dessert cakes, as well as wedding cakes, birthday cakes, special occasion cakes and extreme cakes.
We have operated continuously except for a three day closure after flooding during Tropical Storm Allison and a nine month closure after Hurricane Ike rendered the building and production area inoperable. We are proud to say we paid our employees the entire time we were closed. The Bakery’s closing after Ike even managed to make a challah shortage in Houston during the Jewish holidays — something so important it was covered on the front page of The Houston Chronicle. Since our opening in 1949, only after these two weather events did we have to “restart our sour” which is used in our ryes and French breads.
Prior to Ike we had begun a reinvention of Three Brothers Bakery, but after Ike the reinvention took on a life of its own. With the advent of the Food Network™ cake became recognized as an art form. We can now be seen on Food Network’s Outrageous Food featuring our Pumpecapple Piecake and the Food Network Challenge – Extreme Pirate Cakes. Additionally our pecan pie has had several national accolades beginning with our pecan pie being named “The Best Mail Order Pecan Pie in America” by Country Living Magazine, Town & Country Magazine, Bon Appétit and Southern Weddings. People say we are a new bakery that is 65 years old. Recognition of these efforts has been seen through national and local awards, magazines and television shows which we have listed below.
Three Brothers Bakery continues to be owned and managed by members of the Jucker family. Sigmund’s son, Robert — a 5th generation baker, now runs the business along with his wife, Janice and Aunt Estelle, Sol’s wife. So when you shop at Three Brothers Bakery, whether it is in one of our stores or in our online shop, we want you to feel a part of our family. Every time we bake and you savor something from our bakery, we give to you a part of our family. Through all of these edible delights, we believe we are making lifelong memories, which is why we say at Three Brothers Bakery we are actually “memory makers who happen to be bakers.”
Stop by, say hello and enjoy,
The Jucker Family