Little Slices of Heaven

There are little slices of heaven in Germany. They are present everywhere from the tiniest village to the largest cities. They are German bakeries. Now, I might huff and puff about Germany in my rants, but I pronounce them to be very talented, awesome and downright inventive with their baked goods.

A typical German bakery.

A typical German bakery.

Here is a list of German bakery stuff that I love the most. There are other things besides these that I love but I included my most favorite ones here. I’ll attach a photo with each of them.

  • Brezeln (Pretzels):
    A pretzel.

    A pretzel.

    German pretzels tend to be hard, smooth and brown. This is because Germans make their pretzels almost always with lye.They can be found in both heavily salted and mildly salted varieties. Pretzels are so popular around the world and in Germany, that they can be referred to as the ambassadors of the art of German baking. In fact, many German bakeries even have pretzels on their signs. What I love about the pretzel tradition here is how German parents give them to their young who spend the whole day peacefully nibbling and chewing on them.

  • Brot und Brötchen (Bread and Bread Rolls): Germans eat a lot of bread, which is called Brot in German. In fact, another name for dinner is Abendbrot or evening bread. Germans also love eating Brötchen which are bread rolls.
    Bread and Brötchen

    Bread and Brötchen

    But both bread and bread rolls in Germany have a seriously huge number of varieties. There are estimated to be a whopping 1,200 – 1,500 varieties of breads and bread rolls in Germany! Being in such a highly breadified (patent pending on this word) environment, it’s hard not to be charmed by some breads. My particular favorite bread is Stutenbrot which is a sweet white bread and my favorite Brötchen are the Mehrkornbrötchen which are whole wheat bread rolls.

  • Berliner: A Berliner is a filled doughnut made out of soft, sweet yeast dough. It’s full name is Berliner Pfannkuchen or Berlin Pancake even though it is not at all a pancake; not in the English sense anyway. But due to it’s name it’s called a Berliner in all of Germany and simply Pfannkuchen in Berlin. You get the picture, right? Now, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who love jam
    Jam filled Berliners.

    Jam filled Berliners.

    filled Berliners and those who love pudding filled Berliners. There is no third kind of person. I am personally the latter. The jam is usually strawberry but in rare cases you can find other flavors too, whereas, the pudding is always vanilla

    Pudding filled Berliners.

    Pudding filled Berliners.

    and quite thick and whipped up. Which is why you might wanna hold off on your planned Berliner binge.

  • Mohnkuchen (Poppy Seed Cake)Mohnkuchen is a popular cake in Germany and is readily available in bakeries here. Mohnkuchen is made by sandwiching a bittersweet and rich filling of poppy seeds between sweetened dough, sometimes glazed with marzipan icing.
    One way of doing a Mohnkuchen.

    One way of doing a Mohnkuchen.

    I don’t like marzipan so I prefer it without the icing. It’s a really delicious way to treat yourself after a hard day and works great with coffee or tea. In fact, having coffee and cake is a big tradition in Germany. People invite guests over for this ritual and it makes for a great atmosphere. But take it easy on the cake, the poppy seeds maight make you really zen, if you know what I mean. Note, that different people do Mohnkuchen in different ways. Some cakes have more poppy, some less, some have more dough and some have no dough at all.

  • Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)Bienenstich is a type of cake which might make your teeth fall off from the sweetness and richness. You might have started to notice a trend among German desserts by now.
    Bienenstich

    Bienenstich

    This cake has sweet yeast dough sandwiching a filling of cream, vanilla cream or butter cream. The top part has almonds on it and honey is poured over it before baking it, leading to the almonds being caramelized. The last parts earns the cake its name. As legend has it, a German baker came up with this cake, which smelled so enticing that it attracted a bee to it. The bee ended up stinging the baker who promptly named it Bienenstich.

  • Quarkbällchen (Quark Balls): As the name suggests, Quarkbällchen are little pieces of sweetened dough in which quark is mixed as well. This makes them really soft. For those of you unfamiliar with quark,
    Quarkbällchen

    Quarkbällchen

    it’s a dairy product made by heating soured milk up to a certain temperature. Quark is used widely in German desserts and cooking. Quarkbällchen are almost always sprinkled with powdered sugar after being deep fried. They taste best warm.

  • Russische/r Zupfkuchen (Russian Plucked Cake): First of all, if you don’t speak German, don’t try making sense of the ‘/’ in the heading. It’s a grammatical thing. This cake, although simple, is remarkably delicious. The ‘base’ of the cake is chocolate dough and the filling is quark with vanilla pudding.
    A Russischer Zupfkuchen.

    A Russischer Zupfkuchen.

    The name of this cake comes from the process by which it is made. Chocolate dough is first spread on the cake pan, and a bit of it is kept aside for later. The quark with vanilla pudding is then poured on top. Pieces of the dough put aside earlier are then plucked out and put over the quark. Afterwards, the cake is baked and – if it’s me who is being served – eaten with delight.

  • Stutenkerl/Weckmann: The Stutenkerl or Weckmann (and it has a lot of other names too) is a German tradition for Saint Nichloas. On 6 December, Saint Nicholas’s Day is celebrated as part of a Germanic tradition stretching back hundreds of years.
    Stutenkerl.

    Stutenkerl.

    The Stutenkerl is made up of vanilla flavored sweetened dough in the shape of a man with a baked clay pipe in the figure’s mouth. I haven’t been able to find out exactly why this shape and pipe are chosen but it might have something to do with the Reformation. Caution: the pipe is not edible! I found this out after I tried biting on it, thinking it was made of marzipan. Sadly, it ruined the whole experience which only another Stutenkerl was able to recreate. The second time, I removed the pipe before biting into it.

  • Laugengebäck (Baked goods made with lye): As with most of the things in this post, lye is something I had never tasted. Aside from pretzels, there are many other things made out of lye here. Lye rolls, lye croissants and even lye baguette! The lye baguette tastes really good when its baked just right and comes out warm and soft from the oven. Lye is definitely something you should give a shot if you’re not familiar with it.

In addition to all this wonderful baked food, there is a lot of other German dessert which I just might explore in a second post. Hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment about some of your favorite German baked foods!

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6 thoughts on “Little Slices of Heaven

  1. Pingback: German Cuisine: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly | Eine abenteuerliche Reise: My Life in Germany

  2. Pingback: How the Germans Celebrate New Year | A Pakistani in the Bundesrepublik

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