Why Are Michigan’s Yoopers SO Obsessed With Stale Toast?
A staple of Michigan's Upper Peninsula since the 1930s, I was surprised I'd never heard of this tasty toasty tradition. Have you?
Located just outside the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan's Upper Peninsula lies the small town of Trenary. If you haven't heard of Trenary because of its toast, maybe you're familiar with the town's Outhouse Classic that takes place every February.
Yes, they're a different breed up there in the U.P. with their stale toast and toilet races.
How Did It Start?
According to the bakery's official website, the Trenary Home Bakery was established in 1928 by Jorma Syrannen. Syrannen and her family were Finnish immigrants who brought the tradition of bread making with them from overseas. The now-popular style of toast is based on the traditional Finnish food "Korppu" or "rusk".
At the heart of Trenary's Finnish Korppu is a sweet, twice-baked bread topped with cinnamon and sugar. Upon its second pass through the oven all the moisture is evaporated from the bread which gives it its signature loud crunch.
Traditional Korppu was sometimes used for teething babies as its extra-toughness was able to withstand numerous nibbles from the teething tots! If you've ever been around a teething toddler I'm sure you can understand just how much of a godsend this toast actually is!
Actually, because the bread is hard and crunchy, you'll want to soften it up with your favorite hot beverage! The experts at the Trenary Home Bakery suggest you,
...dunk it in your favorite hot beverage or eat in a bowl of warmed milk! If you're not a dunker, lather your toast in your favorite spread like peanut butter, Nutella, or butter. All of Trenary Home Bakery's toast products have a shelf life of one year.
Where to Find It
Making your way up to the U.P. and stopping at the Trenary Home Bakery is the preferred method of getting your hands on this traditional toast. In 2021 new owners Bri Wynsma and Marco Dossena announced a second location, Trenary Toast Cafe, in downtown Marquette which offers "a variety of Finnish-inspired comfort foods including Smørrebrød, classic sandwiches, Juustoa, Cinnamon Rolls, and more."
The bakery also ships to all 50 states--even overseas! In fact, most of their overseas shipments are to active duty military who miss a taste of home. I've also heard of pasty shops, like U.P. North in Richland, carrying the traditional Yooper delicacy.
Consider enjoying this delicacy this Christmas morning! Find a recipe for Trenary Egg Nog French Toast here.
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Gallery Credit: Canva