HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


German Brotchen in the US

Four years after breaking up with my DeutchLiebe, I'm stil craving "kurbiskorn brotchen" or pumpkins seed rolls we used to get in Frankfurt. My love for them is so strong that I've contemplated the whole breakup with the Deutchmann.

To my question: Short of going to Frankfurt with my tail between my legs, does anybody know anywhere in the US that stocks Brotchen, particularily the pumpkin seed variety?? I'll pay crazy shipping costs; I just need to know where it is.

My second question: Why isn't Panera bread/whole foods/Cosi all over this "whole foods" movement and start stocking some uber German whole grain foods?

My last question: Does anyone have a recipe for it? I've tried making my own with one I found on "Grandma's recipes", some website and, while it was close, it still wasn't there. I'll trade cases of Gerolsteiner for a decent recipe.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Maybe you could find an old German and/or a German cookbook.

    1. ooh, well...

      i've found brotchen nearly impossible to get here, although if you ever find a small, ethnic bakery in your travels, you can find excellent ones. (i literally chose my college bc their german bakery has excellent brotchen!) Short of that, a friend in Germany sends me mixes (brand name: Muhlen Gold); if you could find those here, you'd probably be able to make your own! There's all sorts of european food shops around, and websites too.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kryrinn

        living with a german host family for a year in berlin, my host dad would trek out every sat. morning and pick up a huge sack of broetchen for the whole family. he never forgot the kuerbiskern broetchen (my favorite) for me.

        i wish i could help you find it too...equally going through german bread syndrome withdrawls.

        while were at it...how about those doener kebap cravings?

        1. re: kare_raisu

          For me it was Lachmajun...hmmm...I found a place in Patterson which makes frozen Lachmajun and, with a small salad atop, I can imagine I'm in a smokey Frankfurt Turkish restaurant.

          1. re: kare_raisu

            I did a semester in Berlin and doener kebaps were the best!!! I searched and searched, and even did a post on chowhound, just to see if anyone knew how to make the awesome bread they were served in, to no avail. I guess I'll just have to go back. :)

            1. re: immelu

              all i remeber was it was called 'fladenbrot' and i miss it too/

              there was a great schwarma place at winterfeld platz (i think) that had a lighter than air pocket bread

          2. re: kryrinn


            Without a doubt, brotchen would be an incredible enticement to any college. Moving to the food has always been important to me...it's the only concrete reason I can say that I wanted to move to New Jersey (ah, the tomato).

          3. I find a lot of recipes for brotchen that are just standard bread recipes with the addition of sugar and egg whites. I also find recipes for Altdeutxche Brotchen which is a baking powder muffin with vanilla, rum, cinnamon, ground almonds, orange rind, and maybe raisins. Which are you looking for?

            2 Replies
            1. re: yayadave

              I'm looking for more of the savory brotchen - not so much like stolen and more like a savory roll. The best ones I've had are VollKorn -full seed- and more akin to multi-grain than anything

              1. re: sixelagogo

                Yes, "vollkorn" in English is "whole grain." Try other bakeries (Mexican is good usually), though they tend not to be so whole grain.

            2. I love those things! I get maddening cravings for them. I wonder if they're the same throughout Germany? Each region seemed to me to have completely different broetchen/semmel.

              1 Reply
              1. re: commie hound

                Ja, I spent a year in Hamburg more than 30 years ago. There was a bakery just a couple of blocks away where I'd often trot over to to get fresh Brötchen for breakfast. They were unflavored (as far as I could tell) white rolls, but oh! so delicious in some way I've never found the equal of since. I sure wish I knew the secret.

                Jim (Jakob)

              2. In Boston, the local metzgerie, Karl's Sausages in Saugus, who make their own hams (including schwarzwald schinken), wursts, and a great landjaeger, sell brotchens only on Fridays and Saturdays until their supply runs out. They're pretty good - I lived in Germany for 3 years and these come as close as anything I've seen here. I'm sure they don't make them and get them from somebody - somehow, I've never asked who they get it from. I'll ask next time I'm there and pass on the info.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Great web site!!!! wow, i was really excited to see the variety of brotchen, even the frustruck brotchen...i just emailed them about shipping...

                    No, I live in new jersey, but i'll go to great lengths -or VERY LONG road trips- to get superfood.

                  2. "alexia" brand does sell what looks like frozen broetchen...even in a whole wheat version.

                    1. Here's what I don't get: Since "ethnic food" is the new IT trend - be it Japanese, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, or Swedish-why hasn't German food made its impression? sure there are "little Bavarias" everywhere in America (My favorite: Frankenmouth, Michigan- home of the "allyoucaneat 'german style' fried chicken) but none of them, that I've experienced, have anything worth going back to.

                      What's interesting is how many of us are just one or two generations removed from our German ancestry who moved here and lived in German enclaves around America. Detroit had a thriving German community until the 1960's, Brooklyn as well. These communities are virtually gone now (even their beer!!! and, more importantly, Beir Gartens!). What's up with that!?? You can walk the streets of NYC and go to "little" india,korea,chinatown,ghana but Germany...nah.

                      I don't get it.

                      Sure, there are shnitzel houses across America

                      After all these "ethnic food hitting the Bon Appetit scene for the last 10 years

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: sixelagogo

                        At least three good new German restaurants and at least as many German-style bakeries have opened in the San Francisco area in recent years.


                        1. re: sixelagogo

                          The decline in German restaurants and bakeries in Chicago is closely related to management/ownership succession issues and immigration patterns. Quite a few German food businesses closed because nobody in the family wanted to take over the business with its long hours. The owners often did too good of a job of educating their children and preparing them for professions. There haven't been a lot of fresh German immigrants since the 1960s while most of the very active ethnic cuisines have had a lot of immigration in the last 10-20 years.

                          I suspect that the same factors are at work in other cities. The same issues are true for Hungarian and Swedish food businesses here. Polish food was going in the same direction until an immigration surge in the 1990s, which led to great Polish food options again.

                          1. re: Eldon Kreider

                            meyer's is pretty sad looking now-a-days...

                          2. re: sixelagogo

                            Columbus, Ohio has a German Village. Still a few restaurants, bakeries, and delis but much the place is much cleaned up. Several generations of my family lived there, the last being my Grandfather. He grew up in GV, but as soon as he finished college and was able to afford it he moved his wife & kids elsewhere.

                            We still have the taste for German food, especially at Christmas. But as a business? No thanks, I'd rather work shorter hours and earn more money doing something else, and cook for friends and family.

                            1. re: sixelagogo

                              "What's interesting is how many of us are just one or two generations removed from our German ancestry who moved here and lived in German enclaves around America. Detroit had a thriving German community until the 1960's, Brooklyn as well. These communities are virtually gone now (even their beer!!! and, more importantly, Beir Gartens!). What's up with that!?? "

                              "I don't get it">>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                              One word>>>>>>>>>>>>HITLER

                              My grandmother was born in the little Germany neighborhood (Yorkville)of Manhattan in 1900. Her grandparents came here in the 1870s. She spoke of German being spoken as music to her ears. BUT after 1938 she referred to herself as from Vienna.

                              American Germans ran from being identified with Germany as Hitler rose to power. The heavy food and Beer started going out of favor with WW! and fell out of favor in WWII.

                              The health food craze in the 70s and 80s dealt the death knell to German Restaurants.

                              I grew up in New Haven, a very Irish-Italian-Jewish city of 150,000 people. There were 2 major downtown German resrtaurants in my growing up years, the HofBrau Haus which foled in the early 1970s, and the Old Heidelberg, New Haven's oldest reataurant more than 200 years old when it folded about 2000.

                              I was in business in Danbury, CT from 1980 to 1990, the German community was a large part of the community. It was not unusual to hear German on the Main Street. There was a Schaller and Weber delicatessen on Main Street as well, But in the last 30 years, only one German restaurant at a time has been able to survive in the area.

                              Except for the Sunday afternoon family visits to the Beirgarten which fell out of fashion in the early 20th century, German cooking was more likely to be enjoyed with extended family at home than in restaurants

                            2. In the western suburbs of Chicago, we had an authentic German bakery that specialized in pastries but the brotchen were just like I had in Bavaria. He said that the difference was the flour and that he could not get the same authenticity with any of the American flours he had tried. So, perhaps if you find a flour supplier, you can get what you are looking for. The baker had taken over from an older man but the hours, profit margin and lack of appreciation influenced his decision to close. This makes me want to hop a plane to Munchen.

                              1 Reply
                              1. I've been looking for broetchen online as well, and found this bakery: Priska's Breads N' More (www.priskas.com). They have a very delicious looking Kürbiskern-Brötchen under specials (http://www.priskas.com/special.htm


                                The only downside is, the minimum order is $25, and shipping is way expensive (the cheapest to ship to me was $25, which would mean getting a few broetchen would cost at least $50! I may break down and do it though. lol

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Ilovebroetchen

                                  Any luck with Broetchen? How about posting the recipe. Just kidding. If you're going into business, that would be bad biz for sure. If you start baking, let us all know.

                                  1. re: Ilovebroetchen

                                    I have to report on Priska's brotchen..ok, but nothing to stay on this side of the atlantic for.plus, a a buck a pop, they'd make the euro blush.. Why, oh why is the real thing so ellusive in America!! I'm still looking!

                                  2. I lived in Nordrhein-Westfalen for 10 years and was so disappointed with the lack of German breads when I returned to the U.S. that I went back to Germany for a couple weeks only for the sake of learning how to bake authentic Broetchen. The baker in Germany was more than helpful. I actually made them in a commercial bakery in Germany by hand (as opposed to an automated roll line) according to his step-by-step instructions. He told me that baking Broetchen was one of the most difficult types of German breads to make, compared with a Graubrot, or Vollkorn bread, or almost any other bread for that matter, and he said that my biggest problem was going to be finding the ingredients in the U.S.

                                    It took me a very long time to find the correct ingredients here in the U.S., but after 2 years of having all the ingredients that I used in Germany analyzed in various labs, I finally managed to find all the right ingredient suppliers here in the U.S. The baking is the easiest part, and you will need a stone-hearth steam oven to make them properly. Convection ovens won't cut it. The most daunting task, besides finding the right ingredients, is in the dough preparation. The timing of the rise, water temperature, room temperature, humidity etc. had such a profound effect on the quality of the end product that it really is a science to make authentic Broetchen properly.

                                    Because I work for and live near Daimler-Chrysler in Michigan, I am currently in the process of developing a German bakery, with these authentic Broetchen as my 'hallmark' product. We've tried them at the German-American Cultural Center in Detroit during various social events, along with one of their networking fairs and I was told by almost every German there that they were the only authentic German Broetchen that they had ever eaten in the U.S. My main problem will be distribution, since metro-Detroit is such a large area, and since this is such a high-volume product, providing things go as planned, I may be buying an automated roll line. We'll have to see how things go.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Guinness


                                      Though i live in jersey now, i'm from the scenic MetroDetroitArea..My dear mom and pop still live in the area and will be hearty consumers, as will i....I've always heard "back in the day" stories of my aunt Katie's restaurant in the German section of detroit and long for those days...

                                      please keep up the work keep us updated.

                                      1. re: Guinness

                                        Did you open a Bakery in the metro-Detroit area? If so where?

                                        1. re: Woolspins

                                          I think guinness did, under the name "Rheinland Bakery", but sadly, I think it closed last year, as they lost their baker and couldn't find another.

                                      2. Here in SF, CA there's a bakery that comes in to the farmer's markets (from Concord I want to say?), they have 'bretzeln,' 'mehrkorn broetchen,' and 'volkorn broetchen.' All of which I am also deeply passionate about. They are a full-on German bakery, and I only wish they came by earlier in the week when I still have lots of money to spend! They'll be at the farmer's market near me tomorrow - i can ask if they ship and report back?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. In Arlington, VA The Heidelburg Pastry Shoppe makes delicious lagen brotchen, pretzel rolls. The may very well have the pumpkin seed variety as well.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Steve

                                            The German Gourmet on Lee Highway in Falls Church also has good lagen brotchen and brotchen rolls, fresh or par-baked. They have opened a second store in Bailey's Crossroads area that I have not been to yet. The Heidelberg and German Gourmet are not far apart (3 miles or so) on Lee Highway, great for us Germans and Germans at heart in the Arlington / Falls Church, VA area.


                                          2. Just back from a week in Berlin and I'm still thinking about the fabulous bread. I'm not a big bread eater this side of the pond, but I find myself devouring the stuff in Germany, especially at breakfast. Sixelagogo - I don't know where you are in NJ, but Hudson Bakery makes a very decent roll/ broetchen that is much like its German counterpart, it's called their "health loaf". Maybe you can find them somewhere.

                                            1. Trader Joe's has decent pumpkin seed rolls sold in bags by the baguettes. I won't say they're the real deal, but my honey (er ist ein Berliner!) have them most weekends for breakfast.

                                              When I was an exchange student in Germany my host family owned a bakery/konditerei that was right downstairs from our apartment. When I got off the plane back home after six months away my parents did not recognize me i'd gained so much weight! Have yet to lose it...

                                              1. A real nice source of German foods online is www.bavariasausage.com I order REAL Bavarian Pretzels from here almost weekly. AND YES THEY HAVE BROTCHEN !! Good Luck !!

                                                1. It might be as inconvenient as Frankfurt for you, but Rustic Sourdough Bakery here in Calgary has pumpkin-seed Broetchen. The also have addictive Bienenstich cake. KILLER. Amazing.

                                                  1. I just found a website on another chow thread from Madison Wisconsin called bavariasausage.com that bakes brotchen. It looks fantastic. Take a look.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: fryrose

                                                      hmmm, must have been mine, also on this thread about 2 people above, trust me it IS FANTASTIC !!!!!!

                                                      1. re: fryrose

                                                        I'll give it a look...thanks for the advice...

                                                      2. Hess' German Deli in Tacoma WA (Lakewood) has daily about 10 or so different types of German brotchen plus all the different full loaf breads, lunchmeats, etc. I don't know if they ship but having spent 10 years in Germany, their stuff is authentic. Here's their address & phone #:
                                                        Hess Bakery & Deli
                                                        6108 Mount Tacoma Dr SW
                                                        Lakewood, WA 98499
                                                        Tel: (253) 584-1451

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: onofudluvr

                                                          consider me INSANELY jealous...i checked out their website http://hessbakery.com/home.html and dont' think they'll ship but i''ll be emailing them in my UBER schlecter Deutch about possibilities...thanks for the headsup

                                                        2. They don't seem to have the pumpkin seed variety, but...

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. try this bakery in Leavenworth, WA. I have been there many times and is is owned by Germans. An Excellent bakery.

                                                            Bavarian Bakery
                                                            (509) 548-2244
                                                            1330 Us Highway 2, Leavenworth, WA 98826

                                                            1. Wimberger's in Colorado Springs ships their breads and brotchen around the US


                                                              1. I still crave my morning Broetchen, Marmelade & Wurst and of course my German coffee. I've found the coffee, no problem there. I keep trying to make the Broetchen and they just aren't the same. I've been told by family there that "it's the water". Perhaps I'll try with purified water from my Pur filter or try some bottled German (non carbonated) mineral water. I do remember them brushing with water but no egg whites. I think the egg whites just make them real shiny....that's not authentic to me. Good luck.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Enkenbach

                                                                  I recently found a Bread cookbook with three Brotchen recipes in it. There is a whole chapter dedicated to German and Austrian Breads. It's Local Breads by Daniel Leader: http://www.amazon.com/Local-Breads-So... and he owns Bread Alone Bakery in Boiceville, NY: http://www.breadalone.com/

                                                                  I plan on trying his recipes since after doing much Internet research his look like they are what everyone is talking about and like the ones I had this summer while in Elmshorn and Hamburg Germany.

                                                                  1. re: Woolspins

                                                                    From what I've tasted of Bread Alone's bakery, I'll take a pass. I think a lot of Broetchen has to do with the type of flour used.

                                                                    Flour in Germany is different than the stuff here (I had a conversation with the owner of recently (and very sadly) closed Rheinland bakery in Mt.Clemens, Michigan. She stated, that it took them years to find USA grown wheat that would yield German-like bread qualities, something I had never considered. Prior to that time, in order for them to make German tasting German bread, they had to import all their flour. I found this article online that explains how different German flour can be:


                                                                    That said, in the last month a German bakery has opened near me in Ridgewood, NJ. It's called Heidi's Bavarian Bakery and HOLY COW, they've done it! They have aforementioned pumpkinseed roll, my favorite Frankfurtian treat of all time, as well as nacht Brot, and a host of other Hessen-based breads. I think I'm in love. My review from yelp:http://www.yelp.com/biz/heidis-bavari...

                                                                    Having opened within the last month, they still don't have a website, but if yer in the NYC area and craving Deutche Brot, this place is worth a trip.