One of the first things that an American will notice about Germany is that the country has an enormous bread culture. Whether it be on the way to school, during a 20-minute break, or after meeting up with a friend, bakeries are always there for you. They are found on every city street, which makes it difficult not to spot one. Even in small towns, there will be a few that are popular with locals. The breads and sweets are usually made the same day that they are sold, contributing to their tastiness. They’re usually quite cheap too; a chunk of Apfelstrudel will only cost 1-2 euros.
This is much different compared to my experience with bread in the United States. Outside of making a weekly sandwich for lunch and having Texas toast for dinner, I didn’t eat much of it. I lived in a relatively suburban area and yet the next bakery would be 10-15+ miles away. I also ate rice as my main carbohydrate as part of my mother’s Indonesian cooking. All of the pastries in my household were bought from enormous supermarket chains such as Walmart or Sam’s, which contributed to a weaker taste and hardened the texture of the bread. Buying pastries from bakeries where I lived was mildly expensive as well. However, after being exposed to German bread, I can enjoy its full potential. Here are my three top picks from my local bakery!
First up is Milchbroetchen. This fluffy bread roll is perfect for breakfast. It has a soft texture, tastes mildly sweet, and was prepared with the dough with a dash of milk in it. They come either with chocolate, raisins, or just plain. In the realm of German bread, it is simple. Yet it is probably one of the most popular choices out there.
Puddingbrezel is shaped like a heart and personally, I feel it in mine whenever I see this beautiful lump of custard and dough. The texture is soft but it varies throughout itself, especially underneath the yellow custard. The paste is the main event to look forward to once you’ve gotten through the outside parts. The flavor is sweet and blends well with the consistency of the dough. Quite honestly, I’ve surmised that Puddingbrezel is the epitome of human success, far surpassing events such as the Moon Landing and the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Prasselkuchen is frankly my favorite. It has the best consistency compared to any other German bread that I’ve tasted. It’s a pastry made by baking Streusel, a type of sugary bread crumb topping, onto Puff Pastry. While eating it, you feel a stark contrast in texture between the crunchy bread crumbs on top and the softness of dough below it. It is quite a heavy pastry that fills you up. Normally, I choose to eat this after school as I don’t have that much food in hours prior.
Thank you for reading my love letter to German bread. I would definitely try these pastries out if you are ever near a bakery in Germany.