Bread rolls in the morning, slices in the evening – there are thousands of types of bread in Germany. Which ones do people like to eat and which ones are particularly healthy?
Elbländer, Hoflaiberl or the Gallic walnut sickle: the variety of German breads is unique worldwide. But what are the differences? Some answers:
How many types of bread are there in Germany?
The bakery trade lists around 3200 specialties in its bread register. Almost a quarter of these are rye mixed breads, followed by wholemeal breads and mixed wheat breads. But there are differences: while almost half of the varieties in Baden-Württemberg have a high proportion of wheat, in Bavaria, breads made primarily from rye make up the majority of the specialties.
White bread, rye, multigrain, mixed bread? Who can keep track of things?
It’s actually a bit complicated. White bread is usually wheat bread that is made from at least 90 percent wheat flour. In a mixed wheat bread, more than half must be wheat flour. These quantity requirements apply accordingly to rye flour in rye breads or mixed rye breads. In contrast to white bread, the designation black bread is not so clear. Some understand this to mean bread made from rye flour, others whole grain bread. Or multi-grain breads in which at least three types of grain are baked.
What does whole grain actually mean?
The name has nothing to do with the grain. Whole grain breads are made from wheat, rye, spelled, or other types. They can even be mixed breads. Nor does it mean anything if whole grains are baked onto the crust of a bread. It is more important that whole wheat flour is used. This is because all three components of a cereal grain are processed in it: germ, endosperm and shell. This also makes the bread appear darker.
Whole grains are considered healthy – why?
As a rule, only the endosperm is used for normal flour, which contains the starch necessary for human nutrition. But the germ contains important oils and the surface layer contains valuable proteins, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron – as well as indigestible dietary fibers that stimulate the intestinal activity. Whole grain bread contains three times the amount of minerals and twice as many vitamins and fiber as white bread.
What do Germans like best now?
A household buys almost 46 kilograms of bread on average every year. In 2016, mostly mixed breads landed on the plates: almost every third slice was cut from such a loaf. Behind them were toast bread (21 percent), breads with grains (16) and whole grain bread (10). White bread or rye bread each make up about 5 percent.
Is the triumph of rice bread coming?
Bread instead of rice for breakfast is no longer uncommon in modern Japan. The rice farmers are also feeling this. Now bread made from rice flour should help to stimulate rice consumption in the island kingdom. So far, however, rice breads have been difficult to match the consistency of the competition made from wheat or rye without additives. Some of them are coarse-grained and crumbly, you can hardly smear butter on them.
That is why wheat gluten is often added to gluten-free rice flour, which can cause allergies in some people. In other cases, the rice breads contain thickeners or starch. That is about to change: Researchers at the University of Hiroshima have worked with Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (Naro) to develop a method for making baked goods from pure rice flour, which should hold a candle to wheat and rye bread in terms of consistency.
The developers are already delighted that this could literally «revolutionize» global bread production. But how do you make bread like that? “The most important point is to use rice flour in which the starch is as undamaged as possible,” explains Professor Masumi Villeneuve from the University of Hiroshima. Because not every rice flour rises when baking and forms a dough as we know it from bread made from other types of grain. “There is obviously a connection between the damage to the starch and the specific volume of the baked bread,” explains Villeneuve.
So will the wheat and rye breads of German large bakers soon be bothering? “No, definitely not,” says Armin Juncker, General Manager of the Association of German Large Bakers. Rice flour is also used in Germany in the production of gluten-free or wheat-free baked goods. In Central Europe, however, wheat and rye would remain the main types of grain for bread production in the future.