Back in 1960, the Pfennigmuckerl was well known and much loved in Munich, but these days this traditional roll has disappeared from most bakeries and been forgotten by the city’s residents. The name is perhaps a reference to the roll’s price or the fact that the rolls, baked together in rows of four, five or six, resembled rolls of coins.
This is just one of the many small bread rolls traditional to Munich. Workers who started their day early needed a hearty late-morning snack, which led to the invention of these rolls. Their names—different from the ordinary Brotchen found all over Germany—reveal their origins: Pfennigmuckerl (Pfennig roll), Maurerlaiberl (builder’s roll), Schuastabuam (cobbler’s roll). The Remische, on the other hand, take their name from Remischen rye flour, the finest and most prized, from the first or second milling.
Now these traditional rolls are only found in a few bakeries. They are made from rye flour or a mix of wheats; some contain between 20% and 70% rye. Some, like Riemischen, are sprinkled with caraway, while others have the seeds mixed in the dough. Depending on the variety they can have a rough, smooth or cracked surface. They pair well with other Munich specialties: Leberkäse (“liver cheese”), Weisswurst (white sausage), Pressack (brawn), cheeses and beer.
The dough should be made using a sourdough starter. Gradually this product is disappearing because the production method is too complex and because people are less keen on the product.
All of the varieties have a strong rye flavor. Thanks to the rye flour, the rolls can be kept for a fairly long time without becoming dry and hard. Remische, Maurerlaiberl and Schuastabuam are often baked joined in pairs or in Kränzen, a kind of string of rolls linked together. Their joining in pairs or in Kränzen is an invitation to share them, to enjoy them with friends or neighbors while chatting in the street. The small Pfennigmuckerln are perfect for children.
The original recipe calls for sourdough, even though this tradition is being lost among younger bakers. Research has shown that only six bakeries in Munich still follow the entire traditional procedure for making the rolls.
Image: © Rudolf Böhler