"Gebildebrote" or picture breads were being baked for special
occasions. Bakers shaped any type of dough into complex patterns and symbols.
Often these patterns had regional or ancient symbolic meanings. These
breads were eaten, -or if made from salt dough - used as decoration. Today
they are often made for special occasions, such as anniversaries.
"Brezel" are a specialty of southern Germany, with various
regions having their own Brezel-recipes. Traditionally, Brezel were heavily
salted or in some regions even soaked in lye. Brezel are an example of
a food that in America was not only preserved by the original group of
immigrants but was adopted by other ethnic groups and over time - in many
variations - has become a staple of American snack-foods.
In their German home regions, immigrants virtually baked every bread
in a smaller form "Brötchen", which literally means "little
They continued this tradition for a while in America, but yielding to
changes in preference in general, started to bake mostly white "Brötchen"
Bread dough was not always baked but also often steamed in water or milk
or boiled, to make "Klöße". These dumplings were
mostly eaten as a main-course warm meal, either topped with sweet fruit
and milk-based sauces or with gravy. German-American cookbooks from the
middle 19th century show a large selection of "Klöße"
recipes. At the beginning of the 20th century this tradition must have
already died out to a large extent, since only very few "Klöße"
recipes show up in editions from that time period.