What Makes German Bread Culture Unique?

german bread

Ask Germans what they miss above all else when they go abroad, and there’s one answer sure to pop up: Bread! Now wonder, if you look at the shelves of a typical German bakery, as in the photo below.

Bread is not only a significant part of German Cuisine, it literally sustains their culture. According to the bread register of the German Institute of Bread, there are 3,200 officially recognized types of bread in the country, and German bread has since been designated an official UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. There are more bakeries, and more varieties of bread in Germany than in any other country in the world.

German bread is unlike any other bread known to Europe. It is dark, chewy and dense, composed mainly of whole grains, such as rye, spelt, and millet. Wheat is taking a back-seat compared to other countries, where it is the dominant grain, resulting in lighter, whiter and starchier (and less healthy) bread types. Rye is in fact more nutritious than wheat and it grows in colder climates, lending itself to cultivation in the North.

Rye contains less gluten and therefore requires longer fermentation time. The result is a distinctive sharp, almost sour flavor that some people consider an acquired taste, but it’s beloved in Germany. Rye- and spelt-based breads have a coarse, compact, and dense texture, which is a significant deviation from bread in the rest of Europe.

Bread in other European countries is predominantly white and fluffy, without much substance. German bread on the other hand is filling and full of flavor. You just need a couple of slices to feel pleasantly full, but not stuffed as when you eat white bread.

Bread is so engrained in German culture that it keeps appearing in German vocabulary all over the place.  Germans call break-time “Pausenbrot” or “Brotzeit”. Dinner is called “Abendbrot”. “Broterwerb” is a common expression for earning a salary. “Verkauft sich wie warme Broetchen” is a German metaphor describing fast-selling items. If that isn’t proof enough that Germany runs on bread, some of the biggest stars on TV are… you guessed it, Brot! A talking loaf named “Bernd das Brot” is a popular character.

So, next time you are in Germany, visit one of the countless bakeries on every street corner and see for yourself why German bread really is the best in the world. 

Meanwhile, if you are missing REAL bread, we have you covered. We sell online and deliver nationwide. You can place your order here -> https://breadvillage.com

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  • Shirley B Rollert on

    loved this message thanks for sharing keep making your wonderful bread and I’ll keep ordering

  • Christine Bradshaw on

    You are right, bread is the most missed food. Of course so is wurst, Leberkaese usw. Just thinking about it makes me drool.

  • Kristine on

    And your bread conveys that great German taste!!
    We speed through your loaves soo fast, als ob wir in Deutschland wären!! Lecker!!

  • Jennifer on

    I enjoyed this article! My grandparents and father came over from Germany in 1928. Believe me, we grew up with the love of good bread, especially sour dough rye for our lunches every day. All the other kids had white bread for their sandwiches. That stuff wasn’t allowed in our house! Whole grain breads and crusty rolls filled out our bread repertoire. We didn’t know until we were much older how German we really were with our cuisine, in general. 😊

  • Gary Karl Grimm on

    A great article and there is a reason I buy real German bread from Bread Village.
    It is authentic and tastes as if I just ate it in Germany! I really love the sourdough rye bread taste and moist crumb!
    Especially like a Brotchen or two in the morning with my favorite German sausage… Mettwurst or Teawurst or Braunschweiger! Lecker Lecker Lecker

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