Saturday, 18 May 2013

brototyp or bakers’ dozen

In Germany, there are over six-hundred distinct varieties of bread and some additional twelve-hundred permutations of baking besides. Not including beer-brews, which Germany might be more renowned for and enjoy actually a legal status that classifies and protects them as a liquid bread, these hundreds of different recipes and preparations are governed, unsurprisingly and meticulously, by a system of standards that codify traditional variations on a theme.

This process is illustrated in development of Brötchen—buns, rolls, which go by many regional names, including Weckeln, Weggla, Stollen, Kipfle, Bömmeln, Semmeln, and Schrippen with further distinctions for topping, what kind of seeds or grains they are encrusted with, and how the dough is rolled out and baked, -laibchen (round, like a little loaf), -stangl (like a staff that can also be twisted in a pretzel) or -hörnchen, with a shape like a croissant. Each type has specific percentages of what kind of grains comprise the dough, usually a given ratio of two or more different wheats and barleys. Small bakeries keep the lesser known and uncommon varieties on offer and local interpretation and nomenclature alive. I wonder if anyone has managed to catalogue ever type of Brötchen in circulation and unraveled the etymology. We don’t visit the baker’s like we ought to but I am resolving to do so more often and see what sort of heritage breads—and their unusual names (I am not sure if it’s just marketing or what, but one bakery offers what’s called “Sündlicher Weck”—sinful rolls, as near as I can guess), that I can discover.