Bread, the simple accompaniment complimenting meals from all over the globe, it comes in lots of styles, shapes and varieties. Anything from the humble baguette in France to the versatile pitta in Mediterranean countries, it goes without saying that bread is a staple in cuisines around the globe. Bread is often distinct in its ingredients, some variations are made with corn and others with wheat, some bakers poke holes in Italian focaccia, making dimples in it, and French baguettes are often scored at an angle!
There are so many variations of bread from around the world and all of them are unique to their countries of origin, well-loved and time tested recipes from hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
It goes without saying that nearly every nation in the world has some form of bread that they claim as their own. Whether yeasted or unleavened, polished or unadorned, it goes without saying that these breads are significant and delicious.
Bread is a staple food of lots of cultures. Inexpensive and easy to make, it’s a good source of energy and very filling, as well. Essentially, bread is any dough made from flour and water, which puts the actual outcome open to interpretation. Here is a couple of our favourite interpretations of bread from around the world!
The origins of bread
In accordance with the Bible, bread is the stuff of life and as humans have been eating it in various formations since Neolithic times. The Egyptians are thought to have placed loaves of bread next to the dead so they’d have something to eat in the afterlife. The process of baking bread has long been linked to procreation.
Even today, pregnant women are often referred to as having a bun in the oven. In addition to this, lots of everyday phrases include the mention of bread, from the English axiom “bread and circuses” to the American expression “It’s the best thing since sliced bread,” which is linked to an early Wonder Bread catchphrase.
With this in mind and without further ado – let’s let our bread journey around the globe commence!
Ciabatta – Italy
The classic loaf ciabatta is frequently believed to be an ancient staple of the Italian diet, in fact, the version most people are familiar with only came into being in July 1982. Earlier that year, a group of flour experts came together to discuss a baguette invasion the results of increasingly big imports from France this was a threat to the Italian sandwich market. One of the men was a miller named Arnaldo Cavallari and he experimented for weeks to make new Italian sandwich bread, using several variations on traditional recipes before coming up with a soft, wet dough made with mineral-rich high-gluten flour.
Francesco Favaron, who also helped in creating the flour made to Cavallari’s requirements, said the bread’s shape reminded him of the slippers, or “ciabatta,” worn by his wife. Registered under the trademark “Ciabatta Polesano,” the bread is now found everywhere in lots of regional and international versions around the world!
Baguette – France
The humble baguette is shrouded in mystery. Some believe the bread’s distinctive shape can be traced back to Napolean, who requested a long bit of bread could easily fit into the trousers of soldiers and taken into battle. Others believe the bread’s shape is due to an early 1900s rule that bakers could not work before 4:00 am – making a leaner bread that was quicker to make.
In any case, this French classic has become enormously popular and influential around the world. The bread has even inspired other beloved staples, like Vietnamese banh mi, which is essentially a baguette that uses rice flour instead of wheat flour.
Naan – India
You will see this on almost all Indian restaurant menu’s, naan isn’t often frequently found in Indian homes. The version we know enjoy today – known as naan-e-tanuri, which is rustled up in a tandoor oven, started off as a tasty breakfast dish for the Mughal royals (it was also the Mughals who bought the introduction of the clay tandoor oven to the Indian subcontinent). Nevertheless, the basic ingredients of yeast, flour, water, sugar, ghee and sometimes yoghurt are easy to find, few homes have a tandoor oven to actually cook the bread. In this day and age, naan can be served on its own or topped with garlic, filled with paneer, or even stuffed with fruit and meat as in Kashmiri and Peshwari versions.
Tortilla – Mexico
Tortillas were made as early as 10,000 BC and were a regular dish for Aztecs. Wheat did not grow in the Americas before Spanish contact, so traditionally the Aztecs used maize or corn. Women took hours grinding corn on a metate, a sloping oblong stone that’s one of the most widely used domestic tools in the Americas then rolling a cylindrical handheld stone across the stone to break down the kernels. The ground corn, which could be made from white, yellow or blue (black) maize, was then cooked in a lime and water solution.
Prior to the Spanish coming to the Americas, bringing wheat and religion, the Otomí in Guanajuato painted ceremonial tortilla with images associated with their gods. For “paint,” they used a liquid from boiled honeysuckle flowers to make their favourite colour, purple, as well as the nopal plant for hues of red. After the occupation, the Otomí included Catholic patron saints in their tortilla motifs.
Damper – Australia
Damper gets its distinctive flavour from ash. Australian soda bread has a distinctive flavour from how it is cooked: in the ashes of a campfire. The bread has long been prepared by stockmen and other travellers, who historically were able to make it with nothing but water, flour, sometimes milk and baking soda, and an open flame.
Damper is often eaten warm and coated in a golden syrup called “cocky’s joy.” The name of the bread is tied together with the dampening of the fire at the end of the day and to the dampening or lessening, of hunger.
Trabzon – Turkey
Over on Turkey’s Black Sea Coast, all road trips include a stop-off at roadside stalls who sell Trabzon (sometimes called Vakfikebir) bread. This is created from flour and water, then leavened with sourdough and baked in a stone oven, the bread is round, with a twist across the middle of the crust, and can weigh anywhere from 1 to 16 pounds. It is flaky and flavorful lasts a good amount of time, and is delicious to eat even when it goes stale.
Freshways – we provide quality wholesale bread for your business
At Freshways, we stock high-quality bread and dairy products and we have a range of items to accommodate all food and beverage businesses. From thick sliced bread, flatbreads to waffles, we have the ingredients you need to propel your business and we promise to deliver your products on time to prevent any disruption to your operation.
Our family-run business began in 1990 and has continued to grow. Freshway is the largest independent family-run dairy supplier in the UK and we pride ourselves on high quality and reliable service at competitive rates.
At Freshways, we’re reliable and high-quality dairy suppliers for businesses throughout London, Wales, and the UK, we’re dedicated to providing wholesalers, manufacturers, and other businesses such as cafes, hotels, retailers, and bakeries with the freshest dairy products available.
Regardless of if you run a bijou restaurant or a largescale hotel, we work with a broad range of clients and can provide the exact quantities you need. Plus, we pride ourselves on offering an extremely affordable service. So, if you’re looking for a bread supplier that can provide all the essentials, contact us today and get your wholesale needs met at Freshways.