Bread! Everybody knows bread. It’s baked from a dough of flour and water, and you use it for toast, what’s new?
Be that as it may, I personally feel it’s one of the most under appreciated and underrated staples out there. Throughout recorded history, bread reigns supreme in biblical proportions. It’s an extremely prominent food in large parts of the world, and is amongst the oldest man-made foods, especially having great significant importance since the dawn of agriculture.
Bread’s actually the staple food of Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, Europe, and in European-derived cultures such as those in the Americas, Australia, and Southern Africa; whereas, in contrast, our (South and East Asia) staple is either rice or noodles.
So, bread’s pretty cool. Let’s take bread to the fourth gear and look at some of the cooler breads from around the world (as opposed to white bread).
Literally translating to ‘slipper’, this Italian bread’s made with (essentially) wheat flour, salt, yeast, and water, but is subject to change depending on the region of Italy; and with it the texture and crust may vary slightly too. Ciabatta is best for sandwiches and paninis, or just straight up plain with some olive oil or butter!
This Middle-Eastern flat, hollow, and slightly leavened flatbread made of wheat flour is cooked at high temperatures, causing the liquid in the dough to escape. This forms a large air bubble in the center, which becomes a pocket when cut in half — great for a hand-held sandwich with whatever filling you like! They’re also perfect for dipping once cut into wedges and toasted.
A combination of bread flour and rye flour bring us this dark, dense, and chewy bread; with an assertive rye flavour and a tight crumb. The origins take us to Europe, North America, and Israel. Sometimes, caraway or dill seeds are added for an earthier flavour, and this bread is what makes the pastrami sandwiches their awesome taste!
The signature braids prominent in this bread are meant to resemble intertwined arms symbolising love. Made from love, eggs, and topped with poppy seeds and sesame seeds, this Israeli bread typically eaten on the Sabbath and other major Jewish holidays.
Sourdough is so old, it can be regarded as ancient. The origins remain unsure, but its thought either the Swiss or the Egyptians baked it first. Sourdough is made by slowly fermenting the dough naturally with bacteria and yeast, and has a mild sour taste. The round loaf has a substantial crust with a soft, chewy center and large air bubbles. Use a slice of this to make some fire grilled cheese!
Words by Ali Ifaz