From India’s naan to France’s fougasse, Musement takes a look at 10 different types of bread around the world.
Bread is one of the world’s most beloved foods, a humble pantry staple that can be prepared, served, and enjoyed countless ways. There are hundreds if not thousands of bread varieties out there and sampling some when traveling offers a distinct taste of local culture. Here’s a look at ten types of bread you can find around the world.
1. Naan India
This leavened, baked flatbread is a must-eat when you’re India and it’s often served alongside a meal. Or you can dip it in one of the incredible sauces of chutneys on the table. There are many ways to prepare it from plain to paneer filled to garlic, and all are delicious.
2. Pão de Queijo, Brazil
At some point in your life, you’ve likely sampled grugeres, bite-sized baked cheese rolls. Pão de Queijo is similar but gets its Brazilian flair from tapioca flour instead of wheat flour. Enjoy one (or a few) during breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day.
3. Fougasse, France
The baguette is just as emblematic of France as the Eiffel Tower. So instead we thought we’d share a bread you might not know as well: Fougasse. Typical of Provence, the Fougasse is similar to Italian focaccia but tastes sweeter and may contain orange water. It’s often topped with local ingredients and spices.
4. Italy, Pane Toscano
It’s likely you’re well versed in focaccia and its various incarnations so we thought we’d share another typical Italian bread: pane Toscano or, Tuscan bread. You’ll notice its most distinct characteristic at first bite: the absence of salt. There are many stories as to the reason behind this, one of which posits a papal salt tax increase in the 16th century. Salt was already an expensive commodity, and making the bread without it meant they needed, and therefore bought, less.
5. Brown Bread, Ireland
Soda bread tends to be the first bread to jump to mind when one thinks of Ireland, but brown bread is another kitchen staple. It’s dense, crumbly, hearty, nutty, and quite flavorful. It’s delightful fresh out of the oven and topped with rich magical Irish butter or served alongside meals…in particular soup or stew, or the Irish Fry-Up breakfast. It’s made from whole wheat flour and buttermilk and is often topped with oats. Like soda bread, it’s leavened with baking soda.
6. Injera, Ethiopia
This porous flatbread is sour with a spongy texture and is a fundamental Ethiopian cuisine, which you eat with your hands thanks to injera. Just rip off a piece and scoop up whatever delights such as Mesir Wat (a legume dish) and different stewed meats.
7. Bublik, Poland
If you’ve strolled the streets of Krakow, you’ve likely noticed vendors hawking what appear to bagels from their carts. They’re selling bubliks, the ancestor of the bagel. Like a bagel, it’s boiled before baking but it tastes more like a pretzel. They’re usually eaten as is without the addition of condiments. You can find similar types of bread in Eastern European countries like Russia.
8. Roosterkoek, South Africa
Meaning “grill cake,” this South African bread is made from butter-brushed leavened bread dough, rolled into balls, and grilled over an open flame. A fundamental at every braai (South African barbecue) and also a delightful snack that you can top with cheese, bread, or butter. It’s best fresh off the grill.
9. Mantou, China
It’s easy to recognize this distinct steamed, slightly sweet Chinese bread. Made from wheat flour, mantou is typical of Northern China where wheat, not rice, is harvested. When they’re stuffed with fillings, they’re called bao, which you’re likely to be familiar with.
10. Dampfnudel, German
To end on a sweet note, Dampfnudel is a white bread roll that recalls a dumpling and is served steam-fried. The dough contains yeats and is rolled into egg-sized balls then cooked steam-friend in a closed pot with milk and butter or salted water and fat. The bottom is crispy and caramelized, the top is soft and pillowy, and there are myriad sweet and savory ways to serve and prepare them.