Bread has been part of every dinner table around the world. While no one can seem to tell who made the first bread ever, everyone has surely eaten one. Aside from their appetizing appearance, bread has very interesting origins too.
Discover bread from around the world. Experience them on your next trip or try baking them at home.
Quick Bread, USA
Quick bread is bread that uses baking soda or baking powder rather than yeast. You might not know this, but quick bread actually includes muffins, doughnuts, pancakes, banana bread, and waffles, to name a few.
Quick bread needs to be baked quickly unlike the traditional way of baking bread, thus calling them quick bread. It is said that during the war, the demand for bread was high, so there was a need to produce bread supply quickly.
In Spanish, tortilla means “small cake”. It is an unleavened flatbread made with wheat or corn. Did you know that the oldest tortillas dated back as far as 10,000 years BC?
Now, tortillas can be eaten with hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly, pizza, and anything that you can think of to use it as a wrap.
Vienna Bread, Austria
A must-try bread when visiting Europe is the Vienna bread. It gives you the feeling of sitting in one of the coffee shops in Vienna while enjoying a cozy afternoon.
Vienna bread is a leavened bread made with high milling of Hungarian grain. It is often served along with soup or stew. Taking a look at its history, the first recorded Vienna bread was in the 19th century.
Another famous bread from Europe. The word “baguette” means wand, baton, or stick. An interesting fact about this bread is that it is referred to as the “Bread of Equality”.
A law was made after the French Revolution to make sure that both the rich and the poor had good quality bread daily. The 1793 Convention states that all bakers will make only one type of bread. It will no longer be what it used to be, which was bread made of wheat for the rich and bread made of bran for the poor.
Baguette is like a national symbol of France that is well-loved and really popular even with tourists. It is often paired with olive oil, garlic, and basil. It goes well with cheeses, too.
Challah means “cake” in Hebrew. For the Jewish, challah is more than just bread. It is usually eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Shabbat and major Jewish celebrations. Challah can be served with roast beef or butter.
One of the many symbols surrounding this bread is the blessing said over two loaves. These symbolize the two portions of the manna that was distributed to the children of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt.
Anpan comes from the words “an” which means sweet bean paste and “pan” which means bread. Anpan is a sweet roll commonly filled with red bean paste. It can also be filled with other fillings like sesame, chestnut, or white beans.
It was first made in 1875 when a samurai man lost his job during the Meiji Period. Upon seeing a man baking bread, he got the idea to make bread too. However, the bread during that time was salty and sour, so he decided to make one with bean paste.
A fun fact is that a famous cartoon was based on this bread, the “Anpanman”.
When you visit any Asian food market or Chinatown, you will see these two everywhere: mantou (unstuffed buns) and Chinese steamed buns (stuffed with filling buns).
The history of mantou dated back in 771 B.C. during the Zhou Dynasty. This ancient bread is very versatile up to modern times. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.
It’s light, tasty, and easy to buy since some can be bought in pre-cooked packages. It can also be served as a dessert with condensed milk as a dip.
A paratha is a flatbread made of whole wheat. It’s considered to be one of the staple foods in India or in places where wheat is abundant.
Usually, paratha is eaten with dollops of white butter on top of it. It can go very well with curd, fried egg, and Nihari (beef dish).
Paratha can also be served stuffed with spiced potatoes; this is referred to as aloo paratha. If you like cheese, paratha can also be stuffed with cottage cheese, and this is called paneer paratha.
Flatkaka is a soft, round, and dark unleavened rye flatbread. Traditionally, it is prepared on hot stones or straight on the embers of the fire on small heavy cast iron pans. It has a characteristic pattern from the pan.
Eating flatkaka is a perfect warm dinner on cold winter days. You can also conveniently carry one and eat on the go. Also referred to as a flat cake, flatkaka can be served with creamy spreads and different kinds of toppings.
Cottage Loaf, England
Cottage loaf is a traditional type of bread from England. It is characterized by its shape. It is made of two round loaves with one on top of the other. The upper loaf is smaller than the base.
It was one of the popular breads in England until the Second World War. It slowly lost popularity to do its difficult preparation. Now, a few bakeries still serve this.
This old-fashioned loaf goes well with different kinds of cheeses. You can also have it with meat such as beef, similar to a burger.
Borodinsky Bread, Russia
Borodinsky bread or Russian sourdough is made with whole-grain rye and wheat flour, aromatic coriander, molasses, and rye malt. It is said that during the war between Russia and France, there were food trailers that contained caraway and rye flour that got blasted by a canon.
Since the locals didn’t want to waste food during the war, they used a mixture of rye and caraway to bake bread. Caraway was eventually replaced by coriander.
What’s great about the Borodinsky bread is that it’s produced commercially without artificial ingredients. It can be paired with anything such as sauerkraut, cheese, butter, fresh vegetables, and marinated mushrooms.
Massa Sovada, Portugal
This Portuguese sweet bread is traditionally served during Christmas and Easter. Some sweetbreads made during Easter are called Folar de Pascoa. This is prepared with a hard-boiled egg cooked in the dough. It symbolizes the rebirth of Christ.
Massa Sovada is a light and airy bread that can be enjoyed during meals or as a dessert. It’s also great comfort food with hints of vanilla and lemon. Some Massa Sovada recipes use raisins, lemon zest, rum, or even whiskey to intensify the flavor.
There are so many interesting types of bread around the world with fascinating origins. There are recipes online that you can follow to make one at home, or you can add any of these breads to your food list next time you plan a vacation. After all, one of the best ways of experiencing a foreign country is through its food.