Germany – land of bread culture. Hardly any other country has such an intimate and traditional relationship with its bakery products. In its guidelines, the German Food Book differentiates between around 17 groups of bread types. We present the most well-known types of bread.
According to the German Bread Register, there are over 3,100 registered bread specialties in Germany.
There is a precise recipe for each type of bread. This is specified in the German food book for bread and small baked goods from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Since 2014, German bread culture has been part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
Over 3,100 bread specialties registered in the German Bread Register, a bread institute which, among other things, is dedicated to the training of bread sommeliers, and a specially proclaimed German Bread Day, which takes place annually on May 5th – the love of Germans for their bread apparently knows no one limits.
The bakery trade has developed in the various regions of Germany over the centuries. This resulted in a large number of bread types and baking techniques, which became part of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2014 as a common bread culture.
Types of bread: which grains are used?
A decisive factor for the variety of bread in Germany is the availability of many different types of grain. In the bakery trade, a distinction is made between the so-called bread grains rye, wheat and spelt, the other types of grain such as oats, barley, corn and millet, and pseudo-cereals such as amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.
The types of grain defined as bread grain have a so-called self-baking ability. This means that when they are mixed, they form an elastic and cohesive dough, from which a crumb is formed when baked. Cereal flours from oats and barley as well as flours from pseudocereals cannot form a classic dough structure and are therefore usually mixed with bread cereal flour.
Bread recipes are strictly regulated
For a mixed wheat bread to be able to call itself mixed wheat bread, for example, it must follow a precise recipe. What this looks like is regulated in the German food book for bread and small baked goods of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The commission behind the book distinguishes around 17 different types of bread and documented the essential characteristics and properties of these. We have listed the most important types of bread below.
1. Wheat Bread
Breads with a wheat flour content of at least 90 percent are considered wheat bread. Yeast is traditionally used as a baking agent in wheat bread. Well-known forms are the tin bread, the yeast braid or, internationally, the baguette or chiabatta.
2. Rye bread
Rye breads are characterized by a rye flour content of at least 90 percent rye flour. Since doughs with rye flour can only be baked by adding acid, they are prepared on a sourdough basis. This gives the rye bread a slightly sour taste. A classic form of rye bread is farmer’s bread.
Variety jungle: Wholemeal, multigrain and mixed breads
3. mixed bread
Mixed breads consist of two different types of flour. As a rule of thumb, these types of bread may contain more than 50 percent and less than 90 percent of the eponymous grain flour. Depending on whether the mixed bread contains more wheat or rye flour, it is prepared with yeast or sourdough. A well-known form of mixed rye bread is, for example, brown bread, a well-known variant of mixed wheat bread is crust bread.
4. Whole Wheat Bread
Wholemeal bread is made from at least 90 percent rye, wheat or spelled flour. In contrast to classic flour, the whole grain flour used for this contains all the components of the cereal grain and thus also the whole range of vitamins, minerals and roughage. In addition, at least two-thirds of the added acid must come from sourdough.
An exception are wholemeal breads with oats or Geste. They must contain at least 20 percent of the eponymous grain. So that they are still considered wholemeal breads, wholemeal wheat or rye flour is added for the remaining wholemeal flour. In addition to wholemeal flour, wholemeal meal, semolina or wholemeal bran can also be used for wholemeal bread.
5. Multigrain bread
Multigrain breads should consist of at least three different grain flours. At least five percent of each type of grain must be included in the recipe. In addition to a type of bread grain, such as rye, wheat or spelled, a multigrain bread always includes a non-bread type of grain, such as barley, oats or corn.
Breads with more fiber are healthier
Pumpernickel is considered very healthy because it contains a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals. The type of bread consists of only three ingredients: rye meal, water and salt. The recipe must contain at least 90 percent wholemeal rye meal. It takes a lot of time to produce: a pumpernickel is baked in the oven for between 16 and 24 hours. The long baking time also makes the bread durable for a very long time.
Toast bread is a breakfast classic. The toast is baked in a special loaf pan to keep the crust soft. According to the German Food Book, classic wheat toast bread must consist of around 90 percent wheat flour. For wholemeal toast, on the other hand, the rule applies that wholemeal wheat and rye flours can be mixed in any proportion.
The Swedish classic crispbread is also very popular in this country. The original recipe was based on wholemeal rye flour. There are now a large number of variants based on a wide variety of cereal flours or wholemeal meal. The individual varieties also differ in the addition of different seeds and spices.
According to the German Food Book, a finished crispbread must not contain more than 10 percent moisture. The dough must also be physically raised by sourdough fermentation, yeast raising or air infiltration. On the other hand, loosening the dough by means of hot extrusion, a dehydration process in which the dough is heated under pressure, is not permitted.
Make bread yourself: With this recipe it works
Doing it yourself is even better than buying it. If you bake your own bread, you have full control over the ingredients and can adapt the recipe to your own preferences. With our bread recipe, the first home-baked loaf of bread is easy. All you need is four ingredients and a little time.