What is it with the Germans?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am half German and absolutely think that Germans make the best bread in the world.  No discussion there.  Not only do they the largest variety of bread in the world, they also have many fantastic local bakers and, as with everything, the Germans just won’t put up with bad quality bread.  However…

When I was in the North of Germany I tried to see Thomas Effenberger from Effenberger’s and I tried to see people from Springer.  Both are organic bakers.  Mr Effenberger refused to meet me and explained that sour dough was very sensitive and that one could not understand it in a short meeting (seriously) and Springer never bothered responding.  I thought it was just the reserved Hamburg people who would be so exclusive.  Wrong.

I arranged to go to Munich and left it to my friend Sabine (a Munich native) to get me into Hofpfisterei or Aran or Manufaktum to have a quick hour long chat with a baker about German bread culture and their bread in particular.  No way.  They did not even consider it a possibility.  They did not tell Sabine that sourdough was sensitive but they did say that their baking processes were highly secretive and they could not risk my coming to talk to them just in case – WHAT – just in case I sneaked past them and took photos and stole some sourdough?  I mean really….what is the problem here?

If you know that answer to that question or the broader one “What is it with the Germans” do come back to me.  I am longing to love German bakers as much as I love their bread.  But they are making it very hard.

6 Replies to “What is it with the Germans?”

  1. Hi Jane
    I like your style! I too can comment from an “almost-German” perspective, rather than the usual British national sport of “Kraut-bashing” – my wife is half-German, I lived and studied in German, my business is in Germany.
    German businesses are naturally secretive. Networking and sharing ideas just don’t happen the way they do here – especially as we adopt more business habits from the US, where everybody is more open to talk. Trade associations and networks are more concerned with legislation and rules – not how whole communities can help each other to move forward, so that “all boats rise”.
    End of lecture. In the meantime, I’ll ask around, get some contacts, and next time I’m in Munich or Hamburg or Berlin I’ll see what I can find to report back. Stay tuned!
    PS Yes, they make fabulous bread. Dare I say, best in Europe?

  2. Jane, I am responding late I know.
    But Thomas is going to blow a gasket…what about Switzerland? Don’t they make good bread?
    xx

  3. Birdylein, welllllll…..in actual fact, no, the bread, on the whole, in Switzerland is pretty pants compared to Germany but is much better than France. Even in the German part of Swizerland, they eat a lot of white bread. Very little Rye, relatively little whole wheat or spelt. There is not a lot of variety compared to other countries. It is a function of what is grown and what the trading partners were. It’s all a bit wheat wheat wheat (sorry Thomas….)

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