Bakeries in Germany – Backwaren

Bakeries in Germany – Backwaren

When you ask German expats what they are missing most since they have left their country, they will sooner or later mention bread.

Germans tend to have a special relationship not only to bread but baked goods in general. When visiting Germany, you will soon realize that there are bakeries all over the place, from big franchise chains to a family-owned business in a small town.

The Basics of a German Bakery

In 2014, UNESCO acknowledged German bread culture as intangible cultural heritage. Time-honored traditions persist, ensuring the preservation of a broad range of high-quality bread.

The Central Association of the German Bakery Trade estimates that there are 3,200 different types, not to mention the various styles of bread rolls. Over 1.200 types of bread rolls (or Brötchens) are known, but nobody can accurately prove it because the best bakeries have their own style and recipe for their fresh rolls.

The typical style of German bread is usually dark whereas the ordinary roll is light, but there are of course many exceptions. You will also find many styles from other countries or cultures in German bakeries such as French Baguettes, Italian Ciabatta or Turkish Flatbread.

For Germans, real bread has to have a brown crust and a soft, brown or gray crumb. This kind of bread called Graubrot is like the holy grail of German bread culture. You will find it in many different varieties, but all of them have in common that they are dense and very satisfying.

It is also one of three ingredients to the basic lunch and great sandwiches that probably every German child has had in his or her lunchbox, the Butterbrot: bread, butter, and a topping like cheese or Wurst.

Popular Types of Bread

Germans use almost all available types of grain for their loaves: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats and millet.

  1. Roggenmischbrot: A blend of rye and wheat flour, creating a hearty bread in a round shape that has remained the same for hundreds of years
  2. Weißbrot: A classic staple, made predominantly from wheat flour. Known for its lightness and soft crumb, it serves as a versatile base for various toppings and spreads.
  3. Vollkornbrot: Comprising over 90% whole grains, including the germ, bran, and endosperm. Its high fiber content offers a wealth of nutrients.
  4. Weizenmischbrot: A harmonious blend of wheat and rye flours, this combination results in a versatile, flavorful bread.
  5. Mehrkornbrot: Typically a mix of wheat, rye, oats, and seeds like sesame or linseed, this multigrain bread combines grains for a varied texture and enhanced nutritional profile.
  6. King Ludwig: Crafted from spelt, rye, wheat flour, and malt. Named after King Ludwig, this bread offers a unique combination of flavors and textures.
  7. Berliner: Distinguished by its high content of rye, wheat, and malt. This bread boasts a robust flavor profile, possibly with a hint of sweetness from the malt.
  8. Sonnenblumenkernbrot: This rye bread is enriched with sunflower seeds, adding a delightful crunch and nutty flavor.
  9. Kürbiskernbrot: Rye bread featuring pumpkin seeds, providing not only a unique flavor but also nutritional benefits from the seeds.
  10. Zwiebelbrot: Light wheat-rye bread infused with the savory goodness of roasted onions, likely offering a savory and aromatic experience.

German Bread – a Fitness Food?

Bakeries in Germany - Backwaren

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German bread tends to be heavy and healthy. That’s why you can often find whole grains inside it or even on top of the crust. Many varieties refer to the used kind of seed.

There is Kürbiskernbrot (bread with pumpkin seeds), Haferbrot (bread with oats), Dinkelvollkornbrot (bread with whole seeds of spelt) and so on and so on. You can also find this with rolls: there are some with poppy seeds on or in it, with sesame, with nuts, with carrots or just different types of flour.

A special one is the Weltmeisterbrötchen (“world champion bread roll”) with a bottom covered with whole grains. But there are also just the “regular” ones you can compare with a Baguette, just smaller.

It comes in two basic variants: The “Kaiserbrötchen” is round and more like a bun and the “normal” one which is longish and has different names, depending on the region. For example, Berliners call them Schrippen, Bavarians Semmel, Franconians Weck or Kipf, in northern Germany, they are often called Rundstück.

Germany does not have a tradition of sandwich shops, but many bakeries will do the job as well. Almost all of them are also selling prepared sandwiches with cheese or sliced meat or also regional specialties like Leberkäs in the south of the country.

Vollkornbrot Whole Grain Bread

According to German regulations, Vollkornbrote must contain more than 90% whole grains, ensuring the preservation of the germ (Keimling), bran (Schale), and endosperm (Mehlkörper). This robust fiber, taking an extended period for complete digestion, making you feel full throughout the day.

Nutrition experts consistently advocate that good food should include whole grains, as they offer a wealth of nutrients, including vitamin E, B complex vitamins, minerals such as selenium, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as protein, complex carbohydrates, and beneficial plant phytoestrogens.


A pretzel, also known as Brezel, is a baked pastry crafted from dough, traditionally formed into a knot. However, modern pretzels come in various shapes.

The plain ones are usually seasoned with salt but you can find an array of toppings, including mustard, cheeses, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, sweet glazing, seeds, and nuts. This versatile snack can be found in most bakeries and has evolved to encompass diverse flavors and presentations beyond its traditional form.

German Pastries and Desserts

While often overshadowed by the desserts of neighboring countries like Austria, France, and Italy, Germany boasts a delightful array of pastries and desserts. Among the most popular and delicious cakes is the iconic Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, also known as Black Forest Cake, inspired by the scenic Black Forest region.

  • Apfelstrudel, a beloved pastry throughout Germany, especially in Bavaria, features layers of pastry filled with sweet apple goodness, with hints of cinnamon.
  • Spaghettieis, a whimsical creation originating in Mannheim, combines ice cream “noodles,” whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and white chocolate shavings.
  • Streuselkuchen, or crumb cake, filled with fruits like apples and sour cherries, pairs perfectly with coffee.
  • Lebkuchen, dating back to the 13th century, graces modern Christmas markets.
  • Cheesecake is also a timeless favorite and is here made with a dairy product called Quark that makes for a thicker consistency than yogurt but not as dense or sweet as cream cheese. Occasionally, raisins are added for a touch of sweetness.

From simple soft pretzels at train stations to rolls with sesame seeds at a family-owned pastry shop, you can find a diverse selection of baked goods, including croissants with jam, white rolls with chocolate chips, and wholesome whole grain rolls adorned with sesame and sunflower seeds.

In some pastry shops you can also get a cup of tea, coffee, or some juice to enjoy with your breakfast or sweet treat.

Interested in German food culture? Check out some of our other articles dealing with all things food and drink related in Germany!

FAQs about German bakeries

Here are also some of the most frequently asked questions about bakeries and baked goods from Germany

What are German bakeries called?

German bakeries are commonly known as “Bäckerei” in German. This term refers to establishments that specialize in baking and selling a variety of delicious bread, pastries, and bread rolls.

What baked goods are from Germany?

Germany boasts a rich array of baked goods. Some well-known examples include “Stollen,” a fruit and nut-filled Christmas bread; “Lebkuchen,” a spiced gingerbread cookie; and “Kaisersemmel,” a type of bread roll with a distinct crust and soft interior. Each region in Germany may have its unique specialties and variations.

Summing Up: Bakeries and Bread in Germany

Germany is known for its baking traditions. From wholesome loaves to delicious pastries, buns, and cakes, bakeries offer great treats to eat in the morning and throughout the day.

German bakeries cater to every taste with an array of flavors, textures, and aromas that reflect the country’s culinary heritage.

If you’d like to learn more about German culture, come join us at SmarterGerman! We have a whole blog dedicated to teaching you about German culture and living in Germany.