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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Norris

A guide to German bread

German bakery

If you ask my German husband the one thing he misses most about Germany (besides family and friends of course), it's brötchen. He often rants and raves about this glorious roll and how he would pay absurds amount of money to get it here in the states.

So what is brötchen you ask?

Its a traditional German bread roll that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Simple yet divinely delicious by itself or with a spread of butter and jam. Brötchen was the first roll I ate when I visited Germany in 2007 and my addiction to the wonderful cuisine of German bread ensued.

With over 300 bread varieties throughout the country, bread isn't just a food in Germany, its an integral part of their culture. Bread is a key component to their cuisine, especially to my favorite meal of the day, Früstück (breakfast).

There are so many unique and beautifully-crafted pieces of bread that its hard to choose what to eat. For Früstück, you'll often be served sliced meats and cheeses, flavored cream cheese, jams, hardboiled eggs, and smoked salmon. For dinner (Abendessen) you will see a similar spread of meats and cheeses with smoked fish and caviar and possibly a soup to dunk your delicious piece of bread into.

At festivals you will see more pretzel varieties and rolls accompanied with bratwurst and a large, German beer. The combinations are endless! The table is always overflowing with toppings and spreads to accompany your freshly baked bread.

Fresh is a key word when it comes to German bread. Its rare for a German household to buy pre-sliced bread from the grocery store shelves like we do in the states. Every few days or so, you walk to the Bäckerei (bakery) and order everything fresh. And the bakery is a beautiful sight to see. The magnitude of bread varieties is laid out in front of you and your mouth will water as soon as you walk through the door.

The most commonly baked breads in Germany are baked with rye flour or a combination of rye and wheat. Rye allows the bread to last longer and gives the bread a moist texture and bold flavor. Rye bread is more popular in the norther part of the country and and you will most often see Bauernbrot at the dinner table. White breads or Weissbrot are often seen at breakfast and are even more tasty when they are toasted and spread with butter and jam.

Germany also has many forms of rolls which are my personal favorite. From Käsebrötchen to Mohnbrötchen. To Sesambrötchen to Sonnenblumenbrötchen. They always have a great crust and with over 1,200 varieties, its hard to eat the same thing twice!

Milena even jumped on the bread train on our last trip and helped herself to a roll or two!

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting to taste the local cuisine. I feel its one of the best ways to connect with the locals and better understand their culture. And although I call Germany my second home, I still make it one of my top priorities to know their cuisine better and try as many new things as I can. And with over 2,250 options of bread to try, my carb addiction will be nice and happy over the next several trips!

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