There are *many* kinds of bread in Germany. Germans are kind of funny about
their bread, it is a staple food and therefore extremely important. It
generally falls into two categories, fine and black. Fine bread is
extremely dense with a small crumb and few or no bubbles and holes. It has
a nice chewy crust. Black bread is usually an extremely dense sourdough rye
with *whole* grains. My husband calls it brick bread.
Fine bread keeps well because the crust doesn't let any air get to the
inside of the loaf. If the air is moist enough, the cut part of the loaf
doesn't dry out too much. Black bread is so dense that the only way it will
become inedible is if it gets moldy. I like it best slightly desiccated. My
family in Germany covers their loaves with plastic bags though. I don't
think the bakers are allowed to put preservatives in their breads. Kind of
like the beer (another staple) can only have water barley hops and yeast.
The good news for me is grocery stores here (Boston area) are starting to
carry black bread.
I'm glad you hit the bakeries. Hope you tried the pastries too...