The state of German bread

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I remember in around 2004 having contact with two British people - one was a woman who had studied French and who got a job in Paris after graduating.

 

One was a computer specialist who got a fixed-term contract in Leverkusen but lived in D'dorf.

 

I remember this so well as they both wailed to me at more or less the same time: "What do people eat here? There's nothing to eat. Don't they have microwave meals?"

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Why are you comparing mass produced supermarket bread in the UK to Fresh Bakery bread in Germany? There is no logic to your post.

 

A comparison should be apples to apples or oranges to oranges, not apples to oranges.

 

So, you should be comparing UK mass marketed supermarket breads to German mass marketed supermarket breads: In this case, I would say the UK clearly wins. You get fantastically fresh bread that isn't stale from the day you buy it, that tastes great and makes perfect sandwiches. The variety is amazing (you even get his & hers breads in the same role, half the loaf brown, half white which you can open either side), the availability is amazing as UK Supermarkets open 7 days and many 24 hours and above all, once again fresh. German supermarket bread is stale from the day you buy it. You can claim that Germans prefer stale bread over preservatives, but I'll take the preservatives thank you over bread that tastes terrible.

 

Now let's compare bakeries. In this case, Germany wins. Before I go further, the perception that the UK doesn't have bakeries is rubbish. Sure, there are Greggs everywhere and they are rubbish, but in most town centers you will also find at least one independent bakery, not to mention the bakeries almost every supermarket has. The independent ones in the UK make fantastic breads. But I did say Germany wins here on the bakeries, simply because there are far more of them (so one is more likely to be down the road) and the variety is also greater. In both cases, they serve wonderful fresh bread.

 

So, 1:1. Apples for apples.

 

Of course, which is of more use to us. That depends on the person. When I go to work in the morning, I simply don't have time to go to the local bakery, buy bread, come home, make breakfast and sandwiches and then leave for work. Do you?

So, in those circumstances, the people in the UK, in my opinion, have it better. Fresh, incredible bread in the pantry each morning when they want it. Germans put up with their stale variety.

 

On the other hand, come the weekend, friends over for breakfast and I pop to the local bakery for some incredible breads that taste a treat. I would say the Germans have the upper hand here.

 

Not all black and white is it?

 

I'm afraid it is always an apples to oranges comparison. As you say yourself, British/American sandwich bread typically is intended as an almost neutral base for what comes on top, while German bread can be eaten with just butter or nothing on top, if need be. As to convenience, yes, I think that's another factor besides the price that works in favour of cheap discounter or "Backshop" bread: It's always available, while the quality bread from a bakery is sold out by late afternoon. But thanks to freezers, there's no need to run to the bakery first thing in the morning. And the "real stuff", i.e. a proper rye Bauernbrot or Steinofenbrot stays good for several days without going stale. So I buy a big loaf (1 or 2 kilos), put part of it in the freezer and take it out as required. Works a little less well for wheat rolls which one would have to put in the oven again.

 

I like bread in all forms, but most of all those with sour dough. It has a host of beneficial qualities, see Sauerteig: enhances the Maillard reaction while baking which increases flavour; helps reduce phytic acid; prevents mould (it's the toast/sandwich bread in plastic bags which goes mouldy fast) and lowers the glycamic load.

 

As has been established, one has to look around for good bread, it's not available at every street corner any more. In Frankfurt, I can recommend Kröger's Brötchen, certain stalls at the Bauernmarkt at Konstablerwache (there's one from the Rhön region which I find good) or the Kleinmarkthalle; Kronberger Konditorei (Nordend) is said to have particularly good baguettes. It certainly looks like business has become tougher for bakeries, only recently did a well-established local bakery chain in Frankfurt go bankrupt.

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As you say yourself, British/American sandwich bread typically is intended as an almost neutral base for what comes on top, while German bread can be eaten with just butter or nothing on top, if need be.

 

To be honest I don't believe that. Nothing better than a bit of butter on a fresh English bloomer.

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I'm hoping that Daughter #2 will bring several packages of Schwarzbrot with her next month. It freezes beautifully and even after a year or more in the freezer, a quick rinse in cold water and a thaw reconstitute it back to its original tasty state.

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I like the taste of German bread, but I find two layers a bit tough for my poor teeth in a sandwich, so I generally go for open sandwiches. Or go with a grainy roll. The supermarket stuff is OK for toast, but it's bizarrely dry even when "fresh", so it's not ideal for sandwiches. There's a nice supermarket foccacia at my local Rewe, and there's a couple of places with good fladenbrot, so I don't feel particularly deprived. If I needed portable sandwiches, however, I might find the situation more annoying!

 

I don't miss Australian supermarket bread, but there's a lot of small bakeries around where I used to live, and I do miss some of the fresh white loaves and rolls we would get on weekends. Nothing like a fried egg in a flat roll on a Sunday morning...

 

However, I would love to find a decent source of soft brown bread. I remember a trip to Belfast once, where we wandered into a random cafe on a cold day, ordered some soup, and found it came with the yummiest brown bread I've ever tasted. I've also encountered some in the Netherlands on occasion, but never in Germany. Any suggestions? (I do bake, so a recipe would be OK, as long as it came with flour suggestions. I haven't had much luck baking with anything other than white flour here. Not such a terrible problem, since the main thing I bake with yeast is usually bagels.)

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You just need to keep looking around; a local baker's here has a soft-ish brown bread that can be compared to granary bread in Britain. And the one at the weekly market sells a white bread that is roughly equivalent to a bloomer, only heavier and with more flavour. So I think you can get pretty much everything if you look for it.

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I fear I've exhausted the options here (and I've definitely tried every market option!) I may need to try in a slightly bigger city, but it's nice to know that the stuff does exist. To be fair, I can find almost everything else I want here, so it's not as if I'm living in a culinary desert. (My local Rewe had pak choi and lemongrass this week.)

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Question is, which bread won't get you fat.

 

The one you don't eat!

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The selection in german grocery stores are really bad. You get the basics but nothing that u don't really need to survive.

 

TV Dinners do NOT really exist in germany. They have an extremely small selection of tv dinners, one with meat and mashed potatoes, another one with meat and mashed potatoes and that's about it. They have canned goods and frozen pizza and other things, but those aren't tv dinners.

Tv dinners are meals that are on a "plate" ready to eat, after u put in a microwave for a few minutes. And they don't have any of these.

 

 

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TV Dinners do NOT really exist in germany. They have an extremely small selection of tv dinners, one with meat and mashed potatoes, another one with meat and mashed potatoes and that's about it.

 

They do, but anyone who knows anything about real food will steer clear of them.

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The selection in german grocery stores are really bad. You get the basics but nothing that u don't really need to survive.

 

Eh? If they don't have the stuff you really need to survive, then how come I'm alive?

 

But I do agree that the selection is small. But on the other hand, the range has been growing in the last few years.

 

On the other hand, I notice that they don't really do 'party food' here in the stores. For example, if you are doing a party in the UK, you go to, say, Tesco or M&S and you can buy all sorts of nibbles there - more than just a crisps and Salzstangen. Maybe that's why people don't entertain so much at home here - too much fuss and work involved.

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The do have TV dinners here, but the range is a lot smaller than in other country's.

 

This is probably because they are less popular here.

 

But they are less popular here because their quality and taste is far below what most of us are used to in other countries.

 

Now, I know there are people here who will instantly feel the need to jump on their pedestal and preach how we should all eat fresh, healthy food from the market because it tastes so much better, and is so much healthier... year, we all know that so please don't bother ;) I also prefer fresh cooked meals and enjoy cooking myself, so going on about it won't change anything.

 

When we have time to cook with fresh ingredients (which to be honest is a good deal of nights), I really enjoy it. If we have the time, we do some elaborate things. To keep in line with this topic, we even bake our own bread. When time is less available, we may prepare something quicker like a pasta dish.

 

But I do live a busy life, like many other people, and I don't care for someone who somehow manages to work less hours and have more spare time, because although I think that is wonderful, I, like many others, do not have that chance. All I am saying here is that sometimes, I just don't have time to cook at all, and then, a pre-prepared dinner that I only need to pop in the oven is a blessing.

 

Well, it would be if it tasted good, but here it simply doesn't. Man, I would kill for the £10 dinner for two that you get in M&S in the UK. For £10:

* 1x bottle of wine (you will see the same bottle going for 7pounds on it's own, and although nothing great, it still tastes good enough and what you expect for a 7quid.

* A main course for two. The last time we done this, we chose the Italian chicken breast stuffed with herbs and goats cheese. This wasn't frozen, and needed the oven (not microwave) to cook properly. It tasted pretty good.

* A Side dish for two. We chose last time a salad, but there were quite a few good choices.

* A desert for two. And here we chose an Apple Pie. Yes, it was in fact a whole apple pie, which not only tasted great (with the double cream you also can't buy here) but was of course so large it had to be finished later.

 

£10, nothing frozen, and all tasting great. Could I have done a better job by cooking that myself from fresh ingredients. Yes, of course. But it would have taken quite a bit of time, including baking the Apple Pie, which we didn't have that day.

 

There is a time for everything. And sometimes, a ready-made dinner is all we have time for. No amount of political or ideological preaching will give me more time in the day to cook as much as I would like.

 

But that option is less available here because the ready-made food is very much below par in quality and range.

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But then you miss out on the huge amounts of fat, salt, and sugar, so what's the point?

 

Sometimes I actually would like to eat ramen (like they have in the U.S.: ultra-cheap, ultra-easy to make). Maybe once every two months or so. I think the last time I've been to the U.S. I brought back a couple of packets. With something so cheap, I wonder what is the threshold until it counts as smuggling :)

 

Ivo.

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