Introducing two of my favourite Breze found in Munich bakeries – both delicious but very different breads!
The first Bavarian food I tried was a Breze as big as my head. A massive piece of rich, doughy, chewy, salty, slightly sweet bread with a distinctively flavoured cracked crust. Being quite averse to salt, I spent my time knocking off large chunks from the crust and onto the ground in the beer garden. Despite being so incredibly salty to my taste buds, I was hooked.
Full disclosure: I’m a bread addict. I love it and whilst it doesn’t love me back, I’ll happily consume it in all its glorious forms throughout the day. Brezen happily fit into this meal plan by being perfect for breakfast, as an extra at lunch, a mid afternoon snack as part of Brotzeit or as a beer accompaniment.
Let’s start with a bit of ‘good to know’ info about this Bavarian staple:
- It can go by many names, including Breze, Brezn and Brezel. Commonly known in English as a Pretzel.
- Making them is dangerous! True Breze get dunked in a lye bath. Yes, that ‘s food grade sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda. In other words – you need protective clothing to make this delicious bread. Eye goggles and gloves at the ready!
- The Bavarian Pretzel is on the EU’s protected origins list. Quoted from The Guardian:
Protected geographical indication status applied to the “typical Bavarian lye pastry whose shape symbolises arms folded in prayer”
- What should Breze be like, according to the EU?
“Characterised by a doughy taste, combined with a short, crisp crack and a soft, fluffy texture”
There are two Brezelina outlets; one at the Marienplatz and one at Karlsplatz, both in the underground S-Bahn shopping areas. Their slogan translates to “lovingly made for you” and their shops convey a modern aesthetic with white polka dotted pink branding.
A Breze costs 65 cents and Brezelina turn them into a range of sandwiches, aiming to combine a traditional Bavarian bread with a variety of fillings. Given the shape they’re a bit messy to eat but the ones I’ve tried have been very tasty!
In the picture above, the left image shows the fluffy texture when the bread is ripped, with the image on the right showing its spongey structure when sliced through with a knife.
The texture here is very different to any other Breze I’ve encountered in Munich. It’s softer, fluffier and sweeter than any of its counterparts, with a milder, lighter flavour than traditional Breze. When squeezed, the bread compresses in easily and to me it’s more like a fluffy shaped roll than a true Bavarian pretzel. I don’t think these are as salty either, though they still have a lovely rich buttery taste.
More often than not, you’ll get them warm too – And who can resist freshly baked, warm bread? They’re delicious, if not quite what I’d consider to be traditional.
Rischart is a common sight in Munich and I’ll often get a Breze from the Hauptbahnhof store to munch on whilst waiting for a train. According to their website, Rischart has 15 addresses in Munich’s best locations with the main Marienplatz location serving 1.2 million customers a year. Highly thought of and very popular, this bakery also sells their Breze at 65 cents.
Again, the image on the left shows the texture when the bread is ripped, with the image on the right showing its structure when sliced through with a knife. Unusually for Rischart, I felt like this particular Breze had been slightly over baked as it was a little drier than usual.
To me this is a more traditional product, with a saltier, stronger flavour from the crisp crust and a firm chew. Unlike Brezelina, the crust here is darker and flakier, encasing a sturdier textured bread and you have to try much harder to squash it down. In comparrison, these would make a far more difficult sandwich to eat and I wouldn’t recommend it personally.
Well, I said it was a battle – so who won? I’m afraid I’m gonna have to call the winner as me, as I got to eat all the bread! No no, that’s not cheating at all…
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