Bread is such a staple in our modern diets that we sometimes forget the process it takes to make it. Its role in our lives has evolved as much as we have over the years but it is still true that it’s an essential part of culture and traditions through most of the world in one form or another. Such an essential ingredient of life deserves appreciation for the journey it takes from just flour, water and yeast into the beautifully golden and amazing smelling bread in the end.
Unfortunately in the States and England, the process of making and buying bread have become quite disconnected. It’s rare to find a local bakery to stop into and buy your daily loaf of bread these days. You can’t see the effort it takes to make the bread and time bakers spend getting the loaves just right. Luckily, more and more artisan bakers are popping up selling their wares at farmers markets and the like. I hope that this relationship continues and becomes a stronger presence against the unsatisfying supermarket loaf.
I love a French baguette from time to time, but German bread is a whole different animal. It is largely varied all over the country but usually contains rye as the common ingredient. The Germans have an undeniable love for dense and super nutritious whole grain loaves along with bread studded with seeds and nuts of all sorts. My favorites are the walnut rye loaf and the millet, flax sesame seed loaf. The selection is immense but you’ll be hard pressed in this country to find a decent plain boring white loaf. The bread that is the most common must be the brötchen which are little bread rolls that are used for just about every meal. They come in all sorts of varieties from the basic white to the pumpkin seeded roll and make the perfect base for a delicious sandwich.
Though Germans are renowned for their bread, the local bakeries here are also slowly selling out to the supermarkets and commercial bakery chains. More and more Germans are buying their bread from places like Aldi and outlets which have their bread delivered from large factories on a daily basis. However, luckily, there are still real bakeries that exist in both the cities and in villages. The traditions that have been passed down for years are still in place and will hopefully continue to keep German bread an integral part of life.
I really wanted to document what happens behind the scenes and my friend Alessandro at Bastian’s was happy to help. I spent a (very early) morning photographing the daily process that results in delicious bread that people flock to the bakery for every day. It’s a finely tuned machine working in the bakery and very long day on your feet. However, for me, the satisfaction others get from eating and sharing what you’ve spent time to make is well worth it!
I loved capturing the hard work and effort it takes to produce so many loaves of bread. I hope you enjoy the pictures and make sure you savor that crusty loaf next time you have one!