This is most likely going to be the most patriotic post I will ever write ;) Pretzels – or Brezeln, as we call them – have made their way around the world yet it’s one of the things people will always associate with Germany. When I search “German man” or “German woman” on Google Images most results show people in traditional Bavarian clothing, with a massive glass of beer and a Pretzel.
German Baking Culture
In Germany there are about 300 different types of bread. We love bread and we’re really good at making it (not me personally, I’m actually quite bad at it but I’m being patriotic here).
I often wonder how non-Germans perceive German bakeries when visiting my home country. Do they feel it’s over-the-top? Does the food look tasty to them? If not, why have they not adopted it? Has anyone ever tried to introduce the concept to other countries? So many questions!
Here’s what a typical German bakery looks like:
You’ll usually find a variety of the following:
- Different kinds of crispy bread rolls (wheat, poppy, sesame, whole grain, multi grain, rye etc.)
- Bread (white, rye, different kinds of grain, baguette and different varieties of bauernbrot)
- Pretzels: soft pretzels, pretzel bread sticks and pretzel-style buns – often including some varieties with cheese melted on top
- Cheese rolls and cheese sticks
- Assortment of prepared rolls with cheese and cold cuts
- Variety of cakes
- Sweet things like doughnuts, croissants, muffins, “nutty corners” etc.
Unlike the majority of bakeries in other countries, in Germany the emphasis seems to be on savoury goods rather than cakes. One of the reasons may be that we often have bread and cold cuts for dinner (Stulle mit Brot, as my parents would say). Thus, it’s perfectly normal to have bread and cold cuts twice a day.
Soft Pretzels – Laugenbrezeln
There are many different kinds of pretzels but the soft pretzel is my favourite. They’re soft (surprise!) and salty and taste magnificent with cheese and cold cuts. In German they’re called Laugenbrezeln (lye pretzel) because they’re briefly cooked in lye before baking.
To be honest, I was very surprised at how easy it was to make soft pretzels. As mentioned before, I am not very gifted when it comes to baking so I was a little apprehensive about making pretzels at home. However, there was nothing to worry about and only very little that can go wrong ;)
In addition to the traditionally shaped pretzel I usually make a few pretzel sticks/buns and some pretzel bites for variety.