Give Thanks Bakery

German heritage bakery in Downtown Rochester

Jenny Kim, Staff Writer

The smell of the fresh baked goods spread throughout the Give Thanks Bakery, located right in Downtown Rochester. 

For 22 years, the Bakery has been located in the same spot in Downtown Rochester, on the west alley of Main street between 2nd and 3rd off Walnut at Municipal Parking Lot #12.

The Bakery was founded in 1998 by Gerald Matthes, who was pursuing his dream to establish a European artisan bakery in his family’s tradition. On New Year’s Day of this year, a successful ownership transition was negotiated to Matthes’ longtime customers and dear friends, Katy and Dietrich Knoer.

The Give Thanks Bakery is best known for their artisan bread loaves and pastries. Their breads are made with artistry in the classical French and German traditions, and with the long, cool fermentation of the doughs, you can taste the fresh and deliciousness in every bite.

“Our most popular breads are French Sourdough (Levain), Swiss Multigrain, Golden Semolina and Rochester Rye,” Knoer said.

Along with their bread loaves, the bakery has a large variety of pastries, including croissants, cakes, and tarts. They also sell cookies, with the best loved ones being the Earthquake and the Rustic Walnut cookies, both made with almond flour.

“Favorite breakfast pastries include our cranberry walnut scone. And people love our eclairs, tiramisu and fruit tarts,” Knoer said.

The wide variety of baked goods provided by the Bakery is loved by all their customers, but the most popular out of all is the Almond Croissant, which has been described by customers as heaven on Earth.

“People come to the bakery for this item alone, but often leave with a bag full of bread, cookies and dessert pastries as well,” Knoer said.

Along with their customer favorites, the Give Thanks Bakery also has their own unique menu, related to the heritage of the bakery, which is German.

“One unique item is our Christmas Stollen, a German Christmas bread made from a yeast dough filled with marinated fruits and nuts and coated in powdered sugar. Our customers come from far and wide to buy our Stollen every year which is modeled after the authentic Dresdner Stollen,” Knoer said.

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, the Bakery is offering decorated Shamrock sugar cookies and Irish Soda Bread. 

“This is a traditional ‘quick bread’ that uses baking soda as a leavening agent (instead of yeast) and is popular around St. Patrick’s Day” Knoer said.

As March comes to an end, Easter items will be available in the bakery.  

“Our online advance orders for Hot Cross Buns and Springerle cookies will open” Knoer said.

New owners of the Give Thanks Bakery, Katy and Dietrich Knoer, plan to carry on the tradition of the Give Thanks Bakery and continue serving products their customers love. Even with the hardships from the COVID pandemic, the Bakery was able to stay in business due to the support from their loyal customers.

“I love working at Give Thanks! Aside from the pastries and breads being absolutely delicious, the staff feels like a family. Everyone who walks through the doors of the bakery is greeted with a smile (behind a mask) and a warm welcome. It has been amazing to experience such an incredible work atmosphere, and if you haven’t made the trip to get your European treats, now is the time!!” counter staff and RHS Junior, Eden McCullough, said.

“Working at Give Thanks Bakery has provided me with an exceptional amount of knowledge and experience. I have been able to meet and work alongside some incredible humans. My bosses are amazing and I am proud to be a part of this community. So next time you’re craving some authentic, rich pastries, head over to Give Thanks Bakery!! You won’t be disappointed!!” counter staff and RHS Sophomore, Sam Tandy, said. 

Online ordering will also be available on their website soon, with a list full of their well known items. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram ( @givethanksbakery ) and their website at