Ah, here we are: the bread section. If you’ve read my other works on German delicacies (which you can find here and here), this one won’t come as a surprise. Are you bready ready? First of all, however, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that a) the reinforcement of stereotypes is harmful for the individual development of the self, b) the intercultural communication aspect is severely aggravated by said prejudiced reinforcements and c) god damn, we have a lot of bread here. Like, a lot a lot. Ask the people working at the bread museum in this lovely town called Ebergötzen, they’ll surely approve of this statement. Depending on where you are in Germany or the city you’re residing in, you will find yourself lost in a labyrinth of countless variations, types and shapes of bread. In this respect, I think we should cover the basics first; most of the time, there are at least three choices to be made before you decide the mode you want your bread to be in: do you prefer the a) easy, b) normal or c) difficult type of bread? Well, I’ll help you find the answer to that.
The easy mode is where wheat bread comes in which is still a lot darker and more solid than your common white bread or toast.* The wheat bread for beginners is obviously solely made out of wheat; it’ll go fairly easy on your teeth and you’ll recognise it by, well, its very light brown colour and soft-to-the-touch-… ness.
Moving on to the normal mode of difficulty: the brown bread (Mischbrot or in some regions Graubrot). This brown bread of exuberant normalcy is made out of sourdough mixed with wheat and rye, famous for its combination of the best of both worlds: it’s neither too soft, nor too hard and your teeth will probably thank you for it. From my experience, it’s one of the most popular types of bread, and you’ll find it on almost every bakery counter around the country. Attention though: if you ever happen to dine with a German family and they offer brown bread as garnish, try not to be too quick with taking the crusty end of the loaf. A lot of people love to dip it into their soups and sauces, so you might look rude if you’re the first one to take that pleasure away from them.
Now, this is where the hard part comes in: dark rye bread (imagine this Pokémon - it’s that badass). The mode of chewability has risen up to ‘difficult’ and you’re in for a very special treat if you’re not used to this kind of hard stuff. Dark rye bread, also called black bread, is known for its very crunchy crust and its dark brown (duh), almost black colour. This type of bread surely is the healthiest of the ones I’ve just introduced you to but equally as much a challenge for the teeth; different variations of this bread are, for example, the super-healthy granary loaf or that version in which they mix tiny, little carrots into the dough - for your extra tiny, little dose of healthy of course.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let me just give you a brief but surely overwhelming list of all the other breads, also called ‘special breads’ [link] you might find yourself forced to choose from: there’s spelt bread, three-grain bread, four-grain bread, five(!)-grain bread, barley bread, corn bread, potato bread, potato-corn bread, four-grain bread with potatoes, five-grain bread with carrots, pumpernickel bread, malt-corn bread, crispbread, farm-baked bread, woodstove bread, soy bread, bread bread .… You get the gist, and for a complete list you might want to click right here [link]. Now that you are fairly knowledgeable on the many, many variations of breads, apply the same amount of variety to bread rolls and you’re fully engaged in the German culture that is bread. Good luck and be bread brave!
*Fun fact: Did you know that the smoothness of your Nutella depends on the country you live in? Take, for example, the UK: your Nutella will be a lot smoother than our Nutella - it all goes back to the hardness grade of the bread you spread your molten chocolate on. The harder the bread, the harder the Nutella.