Monday, October 12, 2009

Why English bread?

Why on earth can't Yankees bake decent bread? (oh, lucky Seattle and San Diego!). According to polls Americans claim more often German ancestry than any other. Did they choose, along with English as their common language, also English bread as their common bread?
Sorry, there's one exception: Portland's Standard Bakery.


  1. Americans used to bake a lot of breads at home, and there were a lot of bakeries but around 1920-30 with all the mechanization of bread making took hold in the U.S. It "freed" a lot more people, to do other things, but bread suffered greatly. Almost the same thing happened with American beer making. Americans brewed pretty good beer, very much in the german style until prohibition, and then it pretty much died off from there, and now there is a resurgence in beer making.

    There are some good bakeries in the San Francisco and surrounding bay area too. Too bad good bakeries are far between in the U.S.

    Do you have any recommendations for german cookbooks, and baking books?

  2. Sorry, I didn't see your comment any earlier! Fortunately here in Maine at least we have some very good micro breweries, and some even brew German style wheat beer and even Altbier Düsseldorf style.
    I own some English language German cookbooks that are pretty good: Dr. Oetker: "German Cooking Today" (the German equivalent to "The Joy of Cooking") and Anderson/Würz: "The New German Cookbook", an American/German co-production.
    Dr. Oetker published also a baking book in English: "German Baking Today".
    Can you read German recipes? Then, of course, I could name more, but these are a good start.

  3. Hi, Karin

    Thank you for your reply, and I am so sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I can read German but very very slowly, which is fine as I need the practice. I have the Dr. Oetker books mentioned but if you can recommend some books in German I can use it for studying German, and learn to make breads and cakes. I currently live in Germany but most people never try to talk to me since I struggle they automatically switch and I have all Dutch neighbors. :) Sorry for the stilted writing typing on a pad device is a PITA. I also wanted to let you know I enjoy your posts both in English and in Deutsche!

  4. Hi, nice to hear from you again! What a pity that people don't try more helping you to speak the language, instead of just switching to English. This often happens to my husband, too, when we are visiting.
    For bread baking, I would recommend checking out some really good German blogs. Look in my Blog List on the right: Bernd's Bakery (German and English), Plötzblog, Brotdoc and Ketex have great recipes.
    Gerhard Kellner(Ketex) and Lutz Geissler (Plötzblog) just published bread baking books, I have, and like, Kellner's "Rustikale Brote aus deutschen Landen", and ordered Geissler's "Das Brotbackbuch", but haven't seen it, yet.
    Since I didn't learn bread baking from a German book, (living already in the US) but from Peter Reinhart's "Bread Baker's Apprentice" and "Whole Grain Breads", both excellent for beginners, I cannot say, whether those German books are appropriate for newbies.
    Unfortunately many of the good English bread baking books were never translated, and the American flour types are different (here my Flour Type "Translation" might help, though.)
    German bakers use a "bakers' lingo" that you have to get used to (this was new to me, too), but those specific terms are explained in Kellner's and Geissler's books.
    Maybe a good start would be (apart from my bread posts) Bernd's Bakery blog, since this is German and English.
    Any case, I will be happy to help you out, when you have any questions. You can also send me a message on my facebook pages "Brot & Bread" or "Karin's Bäckerei".

  5. Danke Hanseata,
    I have been so very busy I haven't had the time to reply, and I haven't been bread baking as much lately. Trying to pare down the house for another move. *sigh* I hate moving. Really you have been a great resource, and my german is getting better but I think if we stay in germany I will have to have to find more people willing to limp along with my terrible german, and classes. :) Thank you so very much.

    1. Ich hasse Umziehen auch! Thanks for your nice compliments, and I hope you keep visiting. Alles Gute für den Umzug!