Breads from Around the World
We all love a good slice of bread with our meals, for breakfast, as an appetizer, or simply as a snack. But with so many bread varieties out there, where should you start? Read on for a little world tour of breads from around the globe!
Bagel – Poland
Originating from Poland, bagels are traditionally a Jewish bread. The ring-shaped bread is first boiled, then baked, resulting in a dense & chewy texture. Over the years, bagels have evolved from using yeasted wheat, to other varieties including rye, sourdough, or multigrain. Frequently topped with seeds and grains, the bagel can also be made into a sandwich and is a popular breakfast food in many countries.
Baguette – France
The classic French bread that’s almost synonymous with the French way of life, baguettes are long and crusty breads with the characteristic diagonal cuts across the crust. While the origins remain unclear, the bread has evolved before becoming the baguette we know and love in the early 20th century. Frequently eaten as part of a continental breakfast, and can be made into a sandwich.
Brioche – France
Another French classic that’s rich and fluffy, a brioche is considered a Veinnoiserie. Thanks to the high content of butter, eggs and milk, the brioche is almost a cross between a bread and pastry. The brioche can be eaten plain, or as a vessel for savoury elements. Other varieties made with brioche include Tarte Tropézienne, panettone, and brioche parisienne.
Ciabatta – Italy
A relatively modern bread, the ciabatta was created in Italy in response to the popularity of French baguettes. Within 20 years of the first creation, the recipe was licensed to bakers in over 10 countries, thus cementing the popularity of ciabatta. The bread is relatively soft and airy, with a crispy crust. Ciabatta are predominantly used for sandwiches and panini, or served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Focaccia – Italy
An Italian bread that’s rich in flavour, focaccia has roots in Ancient Rome. The flat bread has a chewy texture and is crispy on the outside. As it spread, the bread varied according to region, with some variations including herbs or cheese. Frequently topped with salt, rosemary, olives or sun-dried tomatoes, focaccia can be eaten as an antipasto, snack, or used as a pizza base.
Grissini – Italy
This Italian bread is pencil-sized sticks of dry & crispy bread. The breadsticks originated from Piedmont as an easily-digestible food for a Duke with digestive problems. Grissini is usually served as an appetizer and can be topped with butter, garlic, cinnamon or sugar.
Lavash – Armenia
Originating from Armenia, lavash is a thin and unleavened flatbread traditionally cooked in a tandoor. It is also popular in many Middle Eastern countries, and is eaten while fresh and soft in wrap sandwiches. More commonly, the lavash is sprinkled with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, then dried into brittle pieces that can be stored for up to one year.
Naan – India
A thick and leavened flatbread, Indian naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor. The texture can range from soft to thin & chewy. While it is traditionally prepared with just butter or ghee spread across the top, naan can also be topped or stuffed with garlic, minced meat, cheese or nuts & raisins. The flatbread is usually eaten together with dhal and spiced meat dishes like tandoori chicken.
Stollen – Germany
A traditional Christmas bread originating from Germany, Stollen is a soft and moist fruit bread. Stollen first came about in the 15th century but evolved over the years to the decadent form of today’s fruit bread. Filled with candied fruits, nuts and various spices, the bread may also have a marzipan rope running through the bread. Once baked, the bread is coated in melted butter and rolled in icing sugar.
Tortilla – Mexico
The first tortillas were created over 12,000 years ago by Ancient Aztecs and Mayans. Tortillas are thin and unleavened flatbreads, mostly produced by machine, there are still many places that prepare the corn tortillas traditionally, resulting in a thicker tortilla. Tortillas are always served warm and are an essential part of many Mexican dishes, be it wrapped, grilled or fried.
Now that you’ve got a crash course in bread, you’re ready to embark on a delicious new journey!