Why German Bread is Truly World Class (and You MUST Try Some!)
Many Americans don’t realize that aside from beer and pretzels, Germany is also known for its bread. They have a large variety to choose from, and they are mouth watering! In this video, we do a German bread taste-testing and talk about the German bread history and culture.
German Bread Was a Welcome Surprise for Us
Until we decided we wanted to move to Germany, we had no idea that German bread is SO GOOD! Not only is it delicious, but there are also more than 3,200 different varieties of it and a whole culture built around bread that even has its own name – Brotkultur. We want to share the news with the rest of America who also may not know about German bread! Here you’ll see us tasting our favorite breads here in Germany – the things we buy nearly every time we go! You’ll also hear our kids speak more German and see how much they love the bread here, too!
Even UNESCO World Heritage Recognizes German Bread!
Germany’s bread culture was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2014,. This recognition by UNESCO reflects the cultural significance of bread in German society and its centuries-old tradition of baking.
The listing recognizes the cultural and social importance of bread in Germany, its diversity, and its connection to people’s daily lives. German bread is known for its variety of shapes, flavors, and textures, with each region of the country having its own distinctive bread specialties. From the classic white bread to the dense and hearty rye bread, German bread has a long history and continues to play an important role in German cuisine and culture.
You MUST Visit Small, Local German Bakeries
The UNESCO recognition also acknowledges the skill and knowledge of German bakers, who are experts in their craft and have passed down their techniques from generation to generation. The art of bread-making in Germany is deeply ingrained in the country’s cultural heritage. This recognition ensures its preservation and continuation for future generations.
German bakeries are often family-owned and are passed down through generations. But more and more commercial bakeries are popping up and they do not bake bread in the traditional, artisan and healthy way. Many Germans buy their bread fresh from the bakery every day, and there are even bread vending machines available 24/7 for those who can’t make it to the bakery during business hours.
When you visit Germany, I highly recommend visiting a local, small bakery. Just point to a few rolls (Semmeln in Bavaria or Brötchen in the rest of Germany) and try some. Make sure to eat it with butter!
There is So Much More to Try than Just Big Pretzels
Bread is an important part of the country’s culinary culture and has a long and fascinating history. Bread has been a staple food in Germany since ancient times, with evidence of breadmaking dating back to the Stone Age.
Over the centuries, bread has evolved into a diverse range of styles and flavors, with each region of Germany having its own unique bread traditions. For example, in the south, you can find dense and hearty rye bread, while in the west, wheat bread is more common.
Bread is so important in German culture that there are even special words to describe different types of bread. For example, Vollkornbrot is a whole-grain bread, while Mischbrot is a mixed bread that contains both rye and wheat flour.
Most Popular Varieties of German Bread
When it comes to bread, Germany offers SO much more delicious variety than just jumbo pretzels. Here are some of the most popular types of bread:
- 🥨 Schwarzbrot (dark bread): Made from rye flour, this bread is typically dense and hearty, with a slightly sour taste.
- 🍞 Roggenbrot (rye bread): Similar to Schwarzbrot, but less dense and more flavorful, with a nutty taste.
- 🥨 Vollkornbrot (whole grain bread): Made from a mixture of whole grain flours, this bread is dense, hearty, and rich in fiber.
- 🍞 Weißbrot (white bread): Made from wheat flour, this bread is soft and light, with a mild flavor.
- 🥨 Brötchen (rolls): These small, crusty rolls are a staple of German breakfasts. Germans often eat them with butter and jam or sliced meats and cheeses.
- 🍞 Brezel (pretzel): These salty, twisted breads are a popular snack in Germany and are often served with mustard.
- 🥨 Fladenbrot (flatbread): This thin, crispy bread is popular in Southern Germany and is often served with toppings like cheese and herbs.
- 🍞 Pumpernickel: This dark, dense bread is made from rye flour and is typically sliced thinly and served with toppings like cheese or smoked fish.
How Meals Revolve Around Bread in Germany
Bread is so engrained in German culture that they are even meals that revolve around it.
Abendbrot – Evening Bread
Abendbrot, which translates to “evening bread,” is a meal that typically consists of bread, cheese, cold cuts, and spreads, such as butter, jam, or honey. Traditionally, Germans would eat it in the evening, either as a light dinner or as a snack before bedtime. Abendbrot is particularly popular in the northern regions of Germany, where it is seen as a way of celebrating the end of the day and enjoying simple, wholesome food.
Brotzeit – Bread Time (Snack Time)
Brotzeit, on the other hand, is a Bavarian tradition that is similar to Abendbrot. Bavarians typically have their Brotzeit in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon as a snack. It often includes various types of bread, such as pretzels or rye bread, as well as cold cuts, cheese, pickles, and beer. Friends and colleagues often use it as an opportunity to socialize. All of our kids take a Brotzeit with them to school. In Ella’s kindergarten, they have a Brotzeit everyday.