Types of Bread
Bread is a staple in most, if not all, households. In fact, most people have different types of bread in their shopping carts every time they do their weekly grocery runs. This is probably because bread has so many varieties that go with so many dishes. Plus, they’re easy to prepare! Of course, some bread is delicious enough to eat on its own.
Because there are so many different types, you’re guaranteed to find one or more made for you! Aside from being your daily sustenance, bread offers a lot of health benefits. Furthermore, some types of bread hold great cultural significance in certain places. If you’re interested in learning more about how they vary in taste, smell, and preparation, then read on for the 35 types of bread you have to know!
One of the most popular types of bread in Japan is the Anpan. “Bread” in Japanese is “pan,” while “sweet bean paste” is “An” or “Anko.” Thus, “Anpan” literally translates to “sweet bean bread.” As the name suggests, this bread is a sweet roll with a filling. The usual filling is red bean paste, but tastes can vary. Other filling flavors include white beans, green beans, sesame, and chestnut.
The Anpan is a staple in most Japanese bakeries. People often pair the Anpan with a cup of green tea. If you plan to visit a Japanese bakery soon, then trying the Anpan is a must!
In Colombia and Venezuela, one of the types of bread they favor is the arepa. While most are made from corn flour, arepas come in different variations. Venezuelan arepas are usually smaller and thicker. Meanwhile, Colombian arepas are usually stuffed with cheese but sweeter and thinner.
Usually, people slice the arepa in half and stuff it with cheese, chicken, and avocado to make a sandwich. Some also like to include beans and eggs. The arepa is incredibly versatile, so you can make a sandwich to suit your personal taste!
Among the different types of bread, the bagel’s shape is one of the most distinct. This donut-shaped bread originates from Poland’s Jewish communities. Bakers shape the bagel by hand, so you’ll need a lot of care and technique to get the hang of making the perfect bagel. Some bagels are made from whole grain while some are made from rye. Each bite is dense and chewy.
There are plenty of bagels you can choose from. While some stores will sell plain bagels, you’ll find most bakeries sell bagels with different toppings and sandwiches. A popular variation is bagels topped with poppy and sesame seeds. You can slice this in half and slather on some cream cheese!
France is well-known for its pastries, and the baguette is one of them. Baguettes are long and thin with a crispy exterior. Baking bread is already quite difficult, but baguettes are especially tricky. It contains standard ingredients like wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, the preparation time takes a while.
There are different ways to enjoy a baguette. Some recommend tearing the bread instead of slicing it. Then, slapping on some butter or jam makes the perfect breakfast. An interesting fact about the baguette is its cultural significance in France. It’s a classic staple in any French bakery. In fact, last May 2021, France even submitted the baguette for the UNESCO heritage status.
Out of the different types of homemade bread, banana bread might be the most popular. Banana bread is a moist and sweet type of bread that is very easy to make. And it is flavorful enough to eat on its own!
As the name suggests, banana is the star ingredient of this bread. It requires little technique since you can just mix all the ingredients into one bowl. If you’re a beginner baker, then try making your own banana bread. Of course, if you’re only interested in tasting it, you can easily find your town bakery selling loaves of this. People of all ages love banana bread!
Bing is a type of bread from China. This wheat flour-based bread is circular and flat like pancakes. You’ll find most people in China eat bing for lunch. However, some also serve this type of bread on formal occasions. There are different variations of bing. An example of this is “Bo bing,” which is popular in American-Chinese cuisine. You might know this by its other names like “Mandarin pancake” or “moo shu pancake.”
Even if you aren’t familiar with the other types of Italian bread, you’ll probably know about breadsticks. As the name suggests, breadsticks are small and thin sticks of crispy bread. When you eat at fancy restaurants, they’ll usually serve buttered breadsticks as appetizers. They’ll even give you cheese dips to pair them with.
Other names for the breadstick include “grissini” or “grissino.”
Another type of French bread is brioche. This bread is slightly puffy and round. If you’re looking for a light but sweet breakfast, then the brioche is the way to go. You’ll find that most bakeries serve brioche with different types of fruits or chocolate chips.
People consider the brioche as a “Viennoiserie” or a baked good that is bread-like but incredibly similar to pastries because of added ingredients. Despite being a type of bread, brioche is light with a golden crust.
If you’ve visited Portugal and Brazil, you’ll notice most bakeries sell broa. This Portuguese bread is in between cornbread and rye bread. To bake broa, you’ll need to mix cornmeal and rye together. This might be difficult for beginners, but the broa is definitely worth it. It is chewy, moist, and dense. Thus, it can be a little heavy on the stomach.
Brown bread is one of the types of bread that is easy to identify. As the name suggests, brown bread is brown. What gives it its dark color are ingredients like molasses, coffee, or caramel. Plus, brown bread is very healthy. Actually, people often call brown bread “whole wheat bread” and vice versa.
It contains all the essential nutrients and fibers of wheat flour. It is great for weight loss or the health-conscious. And some say eating brown bread helps reduce the risks of heart disease.
There is no shortage of variations of brown bread. Each country (and bakery) differs in its own recipe, so you’re sure to find the brown bread for you!
Another type of bread from Italy is ciabatta bread. Unlike brioche which puffs up, the ciabatta is flat in the middle. Its resemblance to footwear is probably the reason for its name. In Italian, “ciabatta” means “slipper.”
If you’re looking for a type of bread for your panini or sandwich, then consider the ciabatta. It tastes great with all kinds of add-ons.
Some types of bread are special because people only serve them on special occasions. An example of this is the challah. You’ll find that Eastern Europeans only serve this type of bread during the Shabbat or on major Jewish holidays. During these celebrations, attendants will set aside a piece of the challah as an offering.
Challah is pretty because it is braided and topped with sesame seeds. Other names for the challah include “challoth” or “challos.”
Chapati has various names. Some are “chapatti,” “roti,” and “roshi.” Chapati is a type of flatbread from the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, bakers form the shape of chapati by slapping and rotating the dough with their wet hands. Then, they’ll cook the dough on an open flame. Once it reaches your dining table, you can eat it with diced vegetables and butter.
Cornbread is an umbrella term for the different types of bread made with cornmeal. Cornmeal is ground dried corn, and it is more coarse than wheat flour. Cornbread originated from Native American cuisine. Because of how it is much easier and cheaper to bake, cornbread peaked in popularity in different countries. The Portuguese bread, broa, is an example of cornbread.
One of England’s traditional types of bread is cottage loaf. The cottage loaf’s shape is rustic. You can easily distinguish this bread by its two round loaves on top of one another. The top loaf is smaller. According to some, the cottage loaf has two loaves stacked on top of each other so bakers can save “floor space” in bread ovens.
The cottage loaf is easier to bake than other types of bread. Plus, it’s even easier to eat. All you have to do is dip it in bowls of soup or cheese!
A crepe is a popular snack in France, Belgium, and other parts of Europe. However, it is also a common breakfast choice for people in North America, Mexico, and Argentina. Unlike most types of bread, crepes aren’t baked. After mixing wheat flour, milk, and eggs together, the batter is spread thinly onto a flat pan and fried until golden.
Crepes are thin pancakes that can either be sweet or savory. There are different ways to serve crepes. You can roll them or stack them together. Nutella with some banana slices is a popular choice to top crepes with.
Now, croutons are a unique type of bread. This bread is rebaked. It’s easy to do so as well. People use all types of bread to make croutons. After cutting a piece of bread into cubes, you can lightly coat it in butter before baking it once again. Then, you can top this on your salad of choice. A popular choice is topping Caesar salad with croutons. The croutons add texture and flavor to complete the salad.
An English muffin is another breakfast staple in North America and Australia. This is a type of sourdough bread that is small, round, and flat. Usually, people slice the English muffin in half. Then, they toast and butter it to their preference. They also pair this bread with fruit jams or even eggs and bacon.
The English muffin is a key ingredient when making Eggs Benedict. Eggs Benedict is a popular breakfast or brunch meal in New York. Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce top two slices of the English muffin.
Another popular bread from Italy is the focaccia bread. Focaccia resembles pizza so much that people often call it the “pizza bianca.” Focaccia and pizza have the same style and texture. However, bakers will let focaccia dough rise before baking it. Meanwhile, they bake pizza dough immediately after it is prepared.
Like the other types of bread, focaccia comes in different variations. In Northwest Italy, you’ll find the focaccia dolce or “sweet focaccia.” Sugar and honey top the focaccia bread. In Northeast Italy, the Venetian focaccia is popular for Easter celebrations. It uses eggs, sugar, and butter.
Now, some types of bread might not be ideal for those who have allergies. Gluten-free bread refers to bread that doesn’t use wheat or any other gluten-containing cereal. This includes barley, rye, and triticale. Instead, gluten-free bread uses rice flour, potato flour, oat flour, and cornflour.
Because it doesn’t have gluten, these types of bread help those who have gluten allergies or intolerances enjoy all kinds of sandwiches or snacks.
If you’ve ever been to an Ethiopian or Somali restaurant, then you’ve probably heard of injera bread. Injera is a type of flatbread that is sour and slightly spongy. This type of bread is a staple in most meals, much like rice in Asian households.
A curious fact about injera is that you only need two ingredients to make it: an ancient grain from Ethiopia called teff and water. In case teff isn’t available, bakers will use other kinds of grains like barley or rice flour. Of course, many still prefer teff as it is gluten-free.
Knäckerbröd is light and crunchy. In fact, it is also a type of cracker. Rye is used as the key ingredient for the knäckerbröd, and it is baked dry. Because it is easy to store and can last for a long time, people often consider it as a “poor man’s diet.”
Like challah bread, matzo is another type of bread for special occasions. Matzo is a vital part of the Jewish Passover celebration. During Passover, Jews do not eat leavened bread because of God’s commandment from the Torah. During their Exodus from Egypt, they could not ferment any dough. Thus, they can only eat unleavened bread like matzo.
Matzo can either be soft or crispy. Usually, you’ll find crispy matzo in groceries because of its longer shelf life. Meanwhile, soft matzo is usually homemade. Other names for matzo include “matzoh” or “matzah.”
As the name suggests, multigrain bread is any type of bread that contains two or more types of grain. Barley, oats, wheat, and whole-wheat flour are popular grains for multigrain bread. To increase its nutritional value, bakers include flaxseed, chia seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Out of the different types of bread, multigrain is one of the healthiest. It contains a lot of dietary fiber. Plus, it also contains more vitamins and complex carbs than most types of bread.
Naan is a flatbread popular in India, Indonesia, and Myanmar, with some places in Western Asia also favoring it. Depending on where it is made, naan has different variations. In India, naan resembles pita bread. Sometimes, they’ll include add-on ingredients such as milk or yogurt. In Indonesia, they include different spices and garlic to match their strong tastes. Meanwhile, Myanmar restaurants often serve naan with boiled peas on top or with mutton soup.
The pita bread is another example of a flatbread. You might know the pita bread as the “Arabic bread,” “Syrian bread,” or “Greek bread.” Pita bread is common in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but it also gained popularity in Western countries.
This flatbread is round and baked from wheat flour. Pita bread has a “pocket” where bakers can stuff their preferred filling. Some common stuffings are tahini, hummus, or falafel.
Pretzels are another common favorite among food enthusiasts. This type of bread is easy to distinguish with its knot shape. Today, pretzels come in different sizes. Some are also topped with different ingredients. Some include nuts, cinnamon, or chocolates. Other variations of the pretzel include soft, chewy pretzels and hard-backed pretzels.
One unfortunate fact about the pretzel, however, is that its origins are unknown. Some claim pretzels came from European monks, while others in Germany claim imprisoned bakers invented pretzels. Wherever the bread came from, it wouldn’t change the fact that pretzels are now popular all over the world.
Pumpernickel is an example of rye bread from Germany. You can easily tell pumpernickel by its dark color. It is somewhat sweet, but it varies between European and North American bakeries. Traditionally, pumpernickel requires a sourdough starter and cooks for up to 24 hours. In North America, they use a higher baking temperature, which greatly shortens the baking time.
Rye bread refers to types of bread that use rye grain. Thus, the color of the loaves is much darker. Rye bread contains more fiber and less fat. This makes it perfect for those who are trying to lose weight. However, rye bread is stronger in flavor than most types of bread. They are also much denser than white bread.
Rye bread is very popular, especially in Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Russia. In Germany, they often top rye bread with caraway seeds. Some popular examples of rye bread include crispbread and Jewish rye bread.
Soda bread is an example of quick bread. Quick bread refers to types of bread that do not require any yeast. Instead, soda bread uses baking soda to help it rise. Buttermilk is also needed to create a chemical reaction that will activate the baking soda.
As a quick bread, soda bread is easy and fast to prepare. A lot of beginners favor this type of bread. In fact, some advise that you don’t knead the dough when preparing it. Simply flattening it into its flat round shape is enough. It is especially popular in Ireland, Scotland, Serbia, and Australia.
You’re likely familiar with this one: the sourdough bread. This type of bread rose in popularity last year at the start of the worldwide quarantine. It isn’t the easiest bread to master, but the taste is worth it. Sourdough bread refers to types of bread that don’t use chemical leavening agents. It only uses lactobacillus and yeast. This results in a much more sour taste.
Sourdough bread starters can take up to several days to ferment. During these days, you have to keep adding “refreshments,” which are flour and water, to help the starter dough ferment. Thus, patience is a must if you want to bake this at home!
Because of its sour flavor, people often use sourdough bread to make avocado toast and other varieties of toast.
Another example of a flatbread is the tortilla. Tortillas are thin, flat, and circular, which makes them a popular choice for all kinds of wraps. You can find different types of tortillas in the supermarket. These are the corn tortillas and wheat tortillas.
Corn tortillas are made from “masa de maiz,” a special type of corn grain from Mexico. Corn tortillas are the go-to for quesadillas and tacos! Wheat tortillas are made from wheat flour. This type came after the corn tortillas, but it is just as popular nowadays. Wheat tortillas are great for burritos.
Aside from making burritos, you can also make fajitas with tortillas. If you’re looking for something sweet instead of savory, why not try out some French toast wraps as well? Nutella banana wraps are also popular for those with a sweet tooth!
Among these types of bread, you’re probably most familiar with white bread. The white bread is a timeless favorite. It’s often the go-to for all kinds of sandwiches and toasts!
White bread refers to all types of bread that use wheat flour that no longer contains bran and germ. A milling process occurs to remove these layers from the wheat. Some also bleach the bread in order to achieve a clean, spotless white look. This results in longer shelf life for the white bread. However, because of these chemical processes, white bread is less healthy than other types of bread.
Like challah, vanocka bread is braided. The plaited shape and golden crust make it the perfect festive bread. In the Czech Republic, they serve and eat vanocka during Christmas. According to a Benedictine monk, he believed that the pastry signified the baby Jesus, wrapped in cloth.
Some bakers also add raisins and almonds into the dough for more flavor. Surprisingly, a lot of superstitions surround vanocka bread. Because it is difficult to prepare, bakers believe they have to think of their loved ones to successfully make vanocka. Another superstition is that the baker should jump up and down as the dough rises.
The zopf, or “zupfe,” is a type of bread from Switzerland. Zopf is an Instagram-favorite because of its golden crust and braided shape. Its ingredients include flour, milk, butter, eggs, and yeast. Bakers will either use egg yolks or milk to brush the dough before baking. This gives the zopf its shiny golden color.
Aside from Switzerland, zopf is also popular in Austria, Bavaria, and Germany.