Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Das Brot

Yep, sure, I know - it's a bit odd doing a post about bread on a blog that has the word 'glutenfrei' in its title, even if that word is in parenthesis. Nevertheless, I press on, because it's (half) my blog and I find it mildly interesting. So, I present to you, with nary a flourish, my List of Things about Bread in Germany that I Find Mildly Interesting, Certainly Interesting Enough, at least, to Ponder Over, Wistfully Perhaps, While I Sip my Soy-Chunk Coffee in the One-Room Apartment I Call Home while Alone and Unemployed on a Tuesday. 

1. Why is it so hard to get a decent sliced bread? 

I'm not sure what it's like in other English-speaking countries but in Australia one can typically buy two kinds of pre-sliced bread: 'sandwich' and 'toast'. The difference between the two comes down to the difference in the thickness of the slices of each. As someone with the intestinal fortitude to be able to digest gluten, I was always fond of 'toast' bread, even when I wasn't planning on toasting it, 'cause that's just the sort of crazy risk-taker that I am. Also, it meant that I was able to ingest more delicious wheaty goodness with each bite than otherwise would be possible.  

German sliced bread is labelled the same but, it seems, not for the same reason. The first loaf of sliced bread I bought was labelled 'toast' and it was pretty stale and dry when I took some slices out of the packet on the first day. I was pretty miffed. 

Later, trying to find a different brand, I noticed that the toast and sandwich breads are the same thickness. (I know, here is where the story gets really interesting!) Shamed by my cultural superiority complex, I realised that the bread labelled 'toast' may be solely for toasting, and the bread labelled 'sandwich' may be for eating raw. This, of course, makes perfect sense, much more than the Australian labelling, and I feel suitably self-chastised.  

Except, when I bought the sandwich bread to make a fresh sanger, that stuff was stale and dry from the first as well. WTF am I to do now if I want a sandwich without toasting it first? I think the answer is 'be sad'.

Interesting sidenote: most 'sandwich' style breads are labelled 'American'. Perhaps Americans are just used to eating stale bread?

2. What is the German equivalent of "the best thing since sliced bread", considering their sliced bread is pretty much rubbish and definitely not an improvement on the previously-existing state of affairs of bread.

I don't have anything else smarmy to say about this one.

3. What do they do with the crusts?

Germans are notorious the world over for being efficient and precise. This results in wonderful beers and automobiles. It doesn't seem to apply to sliced bread, however, and is even more bamboozling when every single loaf comes without its endpieces. 

loaf seeks crust
no, I didn't take the loaf out the packet, remove the crust, and replace it
open packet, still missing.

This is yet another attempt by Germany to screw me over, surely. As a young whippersnapper, the crusts of loaves were my favourite bits. Now that I am an old whippersnapper, it looks like I will have to learn to live without them. 

Personal maturation aside, I still wonder what is done with the leftovers. Perhaps the pigeons nearby the Back-factory are exceptionally well-fed. 

4. Double Toasting Coincidence.

For about a week, while using the shonky toaster in our flat, I have been popping the toast back into the machine for a quick second go, after the initial pop, to get it to my preferred level of toastiness. After this week, I realised I was a lazy, stupid git, and could simply turn up the dial on the side to increase toast factors. I did so.

Soon after that, Vicky started work and began discussing toast with one of her new colleagues (yeah I don't know how it came up, either). Apparently, with German toast, you are supposed to toast it twice. It's a thing. 

I am so into the collective unconscious. This is going to become my excuse every time I do something lazy and/or stupid from now on. It's supposed to be done like this!

5. I like the number 5. 

It makes it much more list-ful (opposite of listless). 

PS - Don't get me wrong. German bread is generally pretty magnificent and the fresh rolls are a staple of my lunchtimes. I heartily enjoy sampling all the varieties from the local store nearby. Today, for example, I munched on "world champion bread" (Weltmeisterbrot) and it was truth in advertising.

But -
doesn't this just make the dearth of a decent sliced more curious?

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