We have had ciabatta from Italy and pain de campagne from France, now Germany is the next Continental bakery superpower targeting British high streets after two of the country’s leading retail bakeries revealed ambitious roll-out plans for the UK.

Pretzel company Ditsch, which has over 200 stores in Germany, plans to build its fledgling UK business to around 50 stores in the next five years, while German self-service bakery concept Bake & Take opened its first store in the UK last month, with more in the pipeline.

Ditsch currently has 12 stores in the UK in London, Birmingham and the north west plus a wholesale business supplying Waitrose with pretzels. UK MD Raz Nehushtan told BB that the company is currently looking for sites of around 2,500sq ft in railway stations, shopping centres and busy high streets. "We want to grow as quickly as we can and are aiming to open three to five new stores this year in major cities in England and Wales, with a target of 50 in five years," he said.

The shops sell a wide range of soft pretzels in different flavours, pizzas made with pretzel dough and sweet pastries. Bakery products are imported frozen from Germany, before being proved and baked in-store.

Meanwhile, German bakery company BackWerk, which operates over 280 stores across six European countries, has opened its first store in the UK under the Bake & Take brand. The self-service shop bakes croissants, pastries, loaves and breakfast rolls throughout the day, and also sells sandwiches and drinks. Customers use tongs to help themselves from display cabinets before paying at the till.

"It is a great concept, which works well in this day and age, as time-pressed consumers are increasingly demanding fresh, affordable food and drink, without the wait," said shop owner Alexander Boll.

Further franchise stores are expected to be rolled out, once the first outlet has bedded in.