George Explores… Breads Around the World

Bread is a staple in almost every single diet across the world

Throughout history, bread has been an important part of society’s survival.  There have even been wars started over the land on which the grains grow that are used to make the breads of a country or region!

  • breads come in many forms
  • they can be grilled, baked, boiled and fried
  • they can be loaf shaped, flat, square, round, long or shaped like a wreath
  • and they all have some sort of grain or flour in their ingredients

Breads are consumed with every meal of the day, not to mention for snacks, many sites like Village Bakery offer consumers different types of bread to mix things up every day!

  • Breakfast – we may think of Bagels, Croissants, Biscuits, Muffins or Scones
  • Lunches – may contain sandwiches made with Ciabatta, Pita, Cuban, Pumpernickel or Rye
  • Supper – we commonly see baskets containing Rolls, Bread Sticks, Focaccia or Naan

We also eat bread for snacks such as pretzels that come in both soft and hard varieties and it maybe a slice of fruit or vegetable breads like zucchini, banana or cranberry.

Some world breads –

  • Bammy – a cassava bread descended from the simple flatbread eaten by the Arawaks, Jamaica’s original inhabitants. In Jamaica, bammy is usually bought from a local vendor and served for breakfast or as a side dish with fish.
  • Banana Bread – eaten in many countries, of course. But it is especially popular in the Caribbean, particularly in Aruba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Serve slices with dollop of whipped cream and a cup of coffee or hot tea. Also great for breakfast or as a snack for kids.
  • Bao – also known as baozi, are pillowy, soft buns that are either steamed or baked. They come with a variety of fillings and are a common item in dim sum shops. Bao are a favorite breakfast or mid-morning snack.
  • Barmbrack – a tea bread popular in Ireland, especially around Halloween. It is best served toasted with a smear of butter and a cup of Irish tea.
  • Bauernbrot – Authentic-tasting German bread is easier to make than you’d think. Bauernbrot, or farmer’s bread, is a hearty rye bread that is the standard loaf in many German homes, especially in the south. It was traditionally made from scratch in farm homes and baked in age-old, wood-fired ovens. It takes a few hours from start to finish, but most of that time is spent resting the dough or baking it. The final product has a dense crumb, full flavor and a chewy crust.
  • Boston Brown Bread – lightly sweet, with a deep, rich color, brown bread is a scrumptious, whole-grain treat made from a batter that is steamed, sliced and spread with butter. Most New Englanders are familiar with a version that is sold in cans, but it’s so easy to throw together, there’s no reason not to make your own.
  • Boxty – from the northern regions of Ireland and goes well with a breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs or as a side dish to Irish stew
  • Challah – a the traditional bread that begins Sabbath meals in every observant Jewish home. These braided loaves are a symbol and reminder of the miraculous manna that fell from the heavens to feed the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. For Rosh Hashanah, a round challah is favored and symbolizes the cycle of the year.
  • Chapati – a popular bread accompaniment to a northern Indian meal. It is a simple wheat flatbread typically baked on a hot griddle, or tava. Pieces are broken off and wrapped around food before it is popped in the mouth.
  • Cuban Bread – This crunchy bread is the base for the mouthwatering Cubano, or Cuban sandwich, in which ham, roast pork, cheese and pickle achieve apotheosis.
  • Focaccia Genovese – a rich Italian bread with roots in ancient Rome. It’s name is derived from the Latin panis focacius, meaning “hearth bread,” and authentic focaccia is still baked in wood-fired ovens. There are endless variations made in the Italy’s various regions, but the most famous focaccia comes from the Ligurian town of Genoa on the northwest coast, where it’s called a fugassa in the local dialect.
  • French Bread – The ultimate dinner-bread, and what a shape; between baguettes and the Eiffel Tower, it’s no wonder Paris is though of as the city of love.
  • Fry Bread – This Native American bread is so much a part of modern Indian culture it’s practically a culture hero…and it’s also delicious.
  • Irish Soda Bread – contains only flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Soda bread became a popular hearth bread in Ireland in the mid-19th century when baking soda became available as a leavener. A baked loaf of bread is called “cake,” while flattened wedges baked on the stovetop are called farl.
  • Kulich – a tall, cylindrical sweet bread that is served for Easter in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It is traditionally paired with paskha, a sort of cheesecake. The two confections are taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed by the local priest. Then for the Easter meal, slices of kulich are spread with paskha and eaten. If you don’t have a kulich mold, you will need a 2-pound coffee can for this recipe.
  • Lavash – while freshly baked lavash has a soft, flexible texture, it quickly becomes crisp and crunchy. Fittingly, this thin flatbread is sometimes called “crackerbread.” Lavash — also spelled lahvash, lawaash, lavosh, lawasha — is one of the most common breads in southwest Asia and the Middle East and is baked by slapping dough on the blisteringly hot sides of a tandoor oven.
  • Naan – the famous bread from northern India that is baked in a distinctive tandoor oven. Variations of naan are found from India to Central Asia on into the Middle East. The intense heat of a tandoor is most closely replicated in the modern home by a very hot oven.
  • Pan de Jamón – a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread, but you can enjoy it any time of the year. A sweet, soft dough is rolled up around savory ham, sweet raisins and pimento-stuffed olives. The result is like a gift from heaven.
  • Pan de Muerto – a sweet anise-scented bread served during Mexico’s Días de los Muertos celebrations. The bread is offered up at temporary altars to relatives and friends who have passed away. Loaves are typically round and decorated with a knob of dough on top, representing a skull, and with bone-shaped pieces of dough around its perimeter. Pan de muerto is often sprinkled with colored sugar or glazed with orange juice.
  • Pão de Queijo – Pães de queijo are tasty little cheese buns popular in Brazil. They are made with yuca (cassava) flour, which gives them an interesting taste and texture and makes them a gluten-free treat. Modern Brazilians can purchase packaged mixes or buy pães de queijo from street vendors, but homemade is best. Serve pão de queijo with coffee for breakfast.
  • Pasta per Pizza – this is your basic dough for any Neapolitan-style pizza. Use all-purpose flour for a more authentic, cracker-like crust for your pizza. Bread flour will give the dough more of a chew. As with any yeast bread recipe, the exact amounts of flour, water and rising time are dependent on the day’s weather.
  • Pita – common throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Versions of this simple round loaf are found from Northern Africa to as far east as India. The popularity of pita, also known as khoubz araby, is said to have been spread eastward and westward by the conquering armies of Alexander the Great.
  • Rye Bread – This dark and hearty bread comes from Germany, and is the perfect match for Black Forest Ham.
  • Scottish Oatcakes – an ancient mainstay of the Scottish diet and were for a long time one of the main sources of carbohydrates for the average Scotsman. These days, Scottish oakcakes are commonly served with jam for breakfast or at afternoon tea topped with delicacies like smoked salmon and creme fraiche.
  • Socca Niçoise au Four – a famous specialty from Nice. The batter is baked on large copper pans in wood-fired ovens and was orginally sold by vendors to hungry workers as a cheap breakfast meal. Today it is a popular snack or starter to a meal.
  • Tamales de Elote – a favorite breakfast food in Mexico and throughout Central America. In El Salvador and Guatemala they are often served as the starchy portion of a meal. The fresh elote, or corn, used in Central America has a higher starch content than that in the United States, but the addition of masa harina in this recipe produces a very good approximation of the original.
  • Yemarina Yewotet Dabo –  a tender, lightly sweet loaf makes good use of Ethiopia’s abundant honey. Leftovers make excellent French toast

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