Breads

 

Bread is one of the world's oldest prepared foods, dating back thousands of years to the Neolithic era. It has become a staple food for many cultures, where it is eaten either as an accompaniment to a dish (for example, ciabatta); as a way of scooping or holding the food, (such as pitta bread or tortillas); as part of a dish (for example, slices of baguette in French onion soup); or even as a meal in itself, such as some of the stuffed focaccia breads. It may even be produced and eaten as a way to celebrate festivals or other special occasions, as seen with hot cross buns at Easter or panettone at Christmas.

There are a number of different types of bread, depending on the ingredients used. At its most basic, bread is made using flour and water, although salt is also usually added. The dough may be leavened using yeast or a chemical agent such as baking powder, or it may be left unleavened to produce a flatbread. It may also be enriched with eggs, milk or butter, and flavoured with sugar, spices, dried fruit, nuts or seeds. The dough may then be baked, steamed or fried.

Bread recipes vary widely from region to region: Britain and Ireland are known particularly for their range of breads that are best served with tea, such as crumpets, muffins, bannock, Bath buns and bara brith, whereas Indian breads (chapattis and naans for example) are more commonly made for serving with curries and other savoury dishes. Different countries and regions also tend to use their own particular shapes of bread; for example the instantly recognisable French baguette or the distinctively-shaped cottage loaf found in Britain.

In this section, you'll find an in-depth guide to bread, including details on the most popular shapes and types, along with a look at the range of different breads found around the world.

Related Articles

Types of Bread
Find out about the wide variety of bread types, including enriched bread, festive breads, yeast-free breads and flat breads ...
Bread Shapes
A guide to some of the most popular shapes of bread, including baguette, batch, bloomer, boule, cob, coburg, plait, sandwich loaf, spilt tin and Vienna ...
British & Irish Breads
A look at the Scottish bannock, Welsh bara brith, English muffin and Irish soda bread ...
French Breads
Typical French breads, including baguettes, brioche, croissants, galettes, sourdough and pain ordinaire ...
Italian Breads
Find out about the variety of Italian breads, such as ciabatta, focaccia, grissini (breadsticks), italian rye bread, pane casalingua, pane di semola, pane Toscano and panettone ...
Other European Breads
Breads from the rest of Europe, such as bagels, crispbread, matzoh, pitta bread, pretzels, pumpernickel, rye bread, german sourdough and stollen ...
Indian Breads
A look at Indian flatbreads, including chapattis, naans, parathas and poppadoms ...
Other World Breads
Breads from the United States and Mexico, such as cornbread, tortillas, New York rye bread and San Francisco sourdough ...