Coming from the UK or the US, where innumerous supermarkets bake their own loaves of bread and many doing it 24/7, it can be fascinating to discover a quirk of an aspect very basic about living in Germany.
After thirty odd years in the country, one day I decided to do something I had obviously never before attempted. We had guests staying and out I trotted with the dog to purchase some goodies at the baker I frequent. They have friendly, chatty and certainly most helpful staff, who patiently answer anyone’s quieries concerning ingredients, baking method, shelf life and so on.
This morning though, my lady was speechless. Presumably, for the first time ever, I had asked for a bread loaf as well as the assorted bread rolls on this particular day. She kindly informed me that the bread was from Saturday. I dared to question why and she was dumbfounded: “Are you joking with me again?”, was her comment. It appears no-one had ever asked her this before. I turned to other customers in the store and interrogated further. Silence.
Illegal to bake bread loaves on Sundays?
Finally, that fateful day, I received a half-hearted claim that nobody wants bread, so it would go stale and be thrown away. Okay. Now my question is, who started buying or baking the rolls? Was it people power and consumer demand? Or perfect commercial sense by a lonely baker in a village, who was fed up arising so early to later sadly dispose of his hard earned creations. And when did this fascinating tradition commence?
In the days following I pursued my mission. Friends, colleagues and clients were asked. Nothing. Fresh bread is not sold on a Sunday, only rolls. Period. So, if you yearn for your fresh bread before going to church or commencing your day any other way, purchase the “bake your own” at the supermarket. On Saturday. Stores are closed on Sundays but that’s another story.