Girls must pay attention if you are going to date with German guys or visit German families! The way you cut and eat bread in front of them will affect their first impression on you.
The most distinctive thing about German bread from other western countries is the addition of fiber-rich rye to the dough. Germans indeed take bread as meals or snacks, therefore, bread is undoubtedly the staple food of the day in Germany. There are two most common kinds of bread in daily life, including Brötchen, bread in the size of palm, and Brot, big and heavy bread. Their German appellation may vary from region to region. Germans usually eat Brötchen for breakfast. As more delicate flour is used, the bread is light and well fermented to be bulging and bright. And you have two choices, rye bread or simple white bread. There are some decorations of pumpkin seeds, white sesame seeds, poppy seeds and flaxseed on the outside of the bread during the second fermentation, which won’t change the whole flavor. All differences are in the details of material. In contrast, Taiwanese bakeries and Japanese bakeries have a variety of bread flavors, such as fragrant and sweet butter biscuit, salty and spicy meat floss, chopped green onion with oil flavor, pineapple pulp and so on. These flavors and colors are absolutely invisible in German bakeries, because Germans are accustomed to their own bread and have no interest in bread with fillings. And they also hope that bread, if it has fillings, should be put on the surface for a clear view.
At any time, German bread is firstly cut or sliced, smeared with butter, and then stacked with cheese, ham and raw meat moose of various flavors. It is considered as a delicious and nutritious meal. How to cut German Brötchen is the key point of today’s discussion. You can’t tear German bread into pieces by hand, or cut them in half according to the vertical axis, or grab them to bite. I met Mr. Hahn in Shanghai. We sometimes went to German restaurants when starting dating. To be honest, I didn’t care how I ate these Brötchen before I went out with German. For Taiwanese who are used to taking the traditional Taiwanese flavor, this unflavored, slightly hard, and grainy bread seems to be just taken a few bites by hand before the meal. At the beginning, Mr. Hahn said nothing on my behavior. He probably regarded that people didn’t often eat German food in Asia, so he never minded. But on my first dinner with him at his parents’ house in Germany, he insisted that I must cut the bread in “German way.” First of all, the knife must be thrust straight into the belly button of the bun, then “cut” it into flat upper and lower halves along circumference with blade, and finally laid it completely on the plate. I must pay attention to keeping 90 degrees between the knife and the bread as cutting, and made sure that the cutting force was adequate. Otherwise, serrated, uneven or chipped upper and lower halves were failed.
Online blogs in foreign cultures have mostly introduced about the classification or practice of European bread, but nobody seems to have a concrete talk about cutting bread way in Germany. In fact, there are knife shops in Germany for selling bread cutting knives, but most families use ordinary knives for daily meal. Up to now, I’m used to cutting the bread in the “German manner”, but sometimes the upper and lower halves are not very smooth and the crumbs may fall off. My way of cutting needs to be enhanced. Mr. Hahn also keeps an eye on my cutting and correct it at any time.
At today’s lunch, I learned that Klöße, a German dish made with potatoes, needed to be “cut” in the same way as a bun and served with all the gravy. I made fool of myself on the table due to my intuition of cutting along the vertical axis.
Bread is not the staple food for Taiwanese, so we never care how to cut bread in daily life. However, Germans are very particular about how to cut their food. So, my dear, if you want to hang out with Germans, you must learn and appreciate the way of “cutting” bread and how to enjoy them.
德國麵包和其他西方國家最不一樣的，就是將富含纖維的黑麥加入麵團。德國人真的將麵包納入所有的正餐或是點心，它無疑是德國人從早到晚必備的主食。我們日常生活中最常遇到的兩種分別是如掌心般大的麵包叫小麵包(Brötchen) 以及很大很重的大麵包 (Brot)。這些麵包的德文稱謂還會因地區不同而可能有不同的稱謂。 通常德國人會在早餐吃的是小麵包，小麵包用的麵粉較精緻，所以很輕盈發酵得鼓鼓很亮，品種有加少量裸麥或單純白麵包的選擇。小麵包的裝飾也會在麵包第二次發酵時外層沾南瓜子、白芝麻、罌粟籽及亞麻籽，總體來說口味變化不大，差別都在用料的細節裡。相比之下，台灣台式麵包店和日系麵包店的麵包口味，實在是五花八門，比如香甜奶酥、鹹辣肉鬆、油香蔥花、爆漿菠蘿等，這些花樣和顏色在德國的麵包店內是絕對看不到的，因為德國人習慣自己的麵包，而且不太喜歡麵包有夾心，也希望麵包就算有餡也應該鋪在表面，這樣才一覽無遺。