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.