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Traditional German Breakfast

Schwarzwaelder (black forest) ham, salami, gouda cheese, cheese spread, marmalade and margarine

Schwarzwaelder (black forest) ham, salami, gouda cheese, cheese spread, marmalade and margarine

Germany's Customs and Traditions

Every country has its own customs and traditions. As I am living here in Germany, I would like to share with you the customs and traditions of the Germans. But first, I will start with the food, which is the first thing we do in the morning: Eat breakfast. Well, not all of us, of course, as every person has their own habits.

I have the habit of escaping breakfast when I am not working. But whenever I have to go to work, I eat one piece of German bread with salami or gouda cheese so that I have the strength to massage my clients, as it is hard work. I am not hungry at all in the morning, only late at night. Maybe that is why I am still full when I wake up in the morning.

You don't have to skip breakfast like me because, as we all know, breakfast is a very important meal of the day. When you are hard-working, you have to fill your stomach with food so you will not collapse while working.

Not all German pieces of bread look appetizing, as there are about 300 kinds of German bread. They look white, brown, dark, and even black. The darker, the better in nutrition. That's why the Germans are big and strong people. My favorite bread is the Pumpernickel, and as my husband says, "I am the only Filipina he knows of eating Pumpernickel."

Pumpernickel bread

Pumpernickel bread

What Is in a Traditional German Breakfast?

  • Bread rolls (or as we call these in German: Broetchen/Brötchen) are made of rye or multi-grain flour.
  • Multi-grain, brown or rye bread.
  • Butter or margarine.
  • Marmalades such as strawberries and cherries.
  • Nutella or nougat bread spread.
  • Honey
  • Schwarzwaelderschinken (Black Forest smoked ham)
  • Gouda or Emmentaler cheese
  • Salami
  • Boiled, fried or scrambled eggs.
  • Traditionally, a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
  • A glass of orange juice.
  • A glass of fresh milk.

"Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."

— Adelle Davis, American Nutritionist

Traditional German breakfast is a simple breakfast. It consists of different varieties of Brötchen (bread rolls), marmalade or jam, chocolate spread, cheeses, hams, salami, Schwarzwälder, and honey.

Types of Brötchen (Bread Rolls)

White bread rolls (weiße Brötchen) are a kind of bread roll made of wheat flour and are crispy outside while soft and white inside.

  1. Mixed rye bread rolls are a mixture of wheat and rye flour. It is very healthy as rye flour has lower gluten compared to wheat flour and has a lot of useful vitamins. Pumpernickel is an example of this kind of bread.
  2. Wholemeal bread rolls are made of wholemeal flour. It has a lot of valuable minerals and vitamins that are needed in our bodies.
  3. Sunflower bread rolls are made of wheat flour mixed with sunflower seeds.
  4. Sesame bread rolls are made of wholemeal flour and sesame seeds.

Note: If you can´t buy rye bread in a bakery near you, why don´t you buy rye bread mix from the supermarket or online and bake it yourself? Your kitchen will smell yummy.

Typical German breakfast

Typical German breakfast

Bauernbrot ( farmers bread), rye bread roll and white bread roll

Bauernbrot ( farmers bread), rye bread roll and white bread roll

Breakfast With the Family

  • A member of a German family goes to the bakery every morning to buy fresh bread rolls.
  • German families enjoy their breakfast with glasses of orange juice, cups of coffee, glasses of fresh milk and sometimes cups of tea.
  • Some Germans are still using coffee grinders for making their fresh coffees.
  • They butter or put margarine on their rolls. Then spread marmalades, cheeses, hams, honey or Mett (raw spiced ground pork with onions) on them.
  • Boiled eggs are usually served.
  • Some will decorate their rolls with slices of tomatoes, gherkins and hard-boiled eggs to have a change on their breakfast table.
  • The Germans seldom talk to each other while eating. They are usually quiet when they enjoy their meals. Germans seldom talk while their mouth is full.
Rye bread rolls ( Vollkorn Broetchen) and white bread rolls (Broetchen)

Rye bread rolls ( Vollkorn Broetchen) and white bread rolls (Broetchen)

Questions & Answers

Question: What two breakfasts are there in German?

Answer: Breakfast in Germany is usually with bread rolls or slices of whole wheat or rye bread with any kind of jam or marmalade, nougat cream or with salami, ham or cheese slices. This food is accompanied mostly with a cup of coffee and orange juice.

Question: Is there a traditional German birthday breakfast?

Answer: There is no special traditional breakfast for a birthday in Germany. It is just the same as the food we eat during breakfast like roll bread with salami, cheese, ham, eggs, marmalade or jam, chocolate spread, and coffee or tea. However, there is a special coffee and cake birthday celebration in the afternoon at 3. Freshly brewed coffee with cheesecake, apple cake, Black Forest cake or as we called it in Germany Schwarzwäldertorte.

Question: Do people ever have bacon or sausages in Germany for breakfast?

Answer: Yes, the Germans eat bacon and sausages, too. Germans have many varieties of sausages, but they are eaten for lunch or dinner, not breakfast.

Question: What’s the food for Oktoberfest?

Answer: The food for Oktoberfest are Knödeln (potato dumplings), Roast pork, Sauerkraut, Weisswurst or white Bavarian sausages, Bratwurst and many more.

Question: Is a German breakfast particularly healthy?

Answer: I think so. It really depends on what the Germans are eating. Rye bread is a healthy food.

© 2011 Thelma Alberts