With four simple ingredients, bread has been around for thousands of years. With humble beginnings of unleavened bread baked in clay pots to community bakehouses where citizens would prepare their bread at home and bring it to a central location for baking, hand-crafted breads have been at the dinner table.
Today, there’s typically a myriad of artisan breads available at the local bakery as well as a decent selection at most grocery stores. They all look delicious of course, so which one should you buy? It depends on what you are going to do with the bread when you get home. Here are some of our favorite breads and a few ideas for how to best enjoy them.
A rustic Italian loaf with irregular holes, this airy bread is amazing with just a simple drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Cut lengthwise, ciabatta makes wonderful sandwich bread, soaking up any juices from sandwich fillings like artichoke hearts or tapenade
Thought to be the prototype of modern pizza, focaccia is an Italian flatbread with a light texture, frequently dipped in olive oil. Short on time? It makes a great base for a quick pizza. More complex focaccia has olives or tomatoes on top and can be served alongside a tossed salad with vinaigrette as a light meal. Be sure to soak up any additional dressing with the bread.
Rich and buttery, brioche hails from France, has a tender crumb and contains eggs which give it a gorgeous yellow-hued interior. Brioche rolls are a worthy upgrade for your grilled burgers, or slice thick for making an outstanding French toast.
Consider challah to be the non-dairy cousin of brioche. It is traditionally eaten at home on Shabbat and during Jewish festival holidays. Also rich and eggy, it is usually presented in a lovely braided loaf. Challah is a great choice for Sunday dinner or cubed and turned into bread pudding.
Pain de Campagne
Also known as country bread, pain de campagne is a classic handmade artisan bread. For centuries, French villagers gathered each week at communal ovens with their dough to be baked. The loaves often weighed from four to as much as twelve pounds and could feed a family for days, until the next baking day. A combination of bread flour, whole wheat, and rye flour are combined to create this rustic French loaf. It is often baked in a stoneware baker known as a cloche and topped with a dusting of flour before baking. It has a crunchy, chewy crust that perfectly complements fresh, sweet butter.
A tangy loaf made with a starter, salt, flour and water. A starter is a mixture of flour, water and a little sugar. Sitting at room temperature, wild yeasts in the air and on the grain settle into the mix. Fermentation that occurs in a few days, and the starter is ready to use. During the California gold rush, master bakers from France came to San Francisco and became famous for their bread with this special flavor. Its chewy crumb is perfect for cold sandwiches or toast with butter. Try making a grilled cheese with sourdough and a mild cheddar. The tang of the bread plays off the rich, melty cheese.
Recipes for boule vary, but the main characteristic is its round shape. This is a popular bread for soup bowls, as the sturdy crust lends itself to a lovely presentation and can hold up to a few ladles of hot soup.
Wolf Gourmet toasters are crafted with advanced toasting technology. We equipped the toasters with unique self-centering bread guides to deliver perfectly even results, regardless of bread type. Enjoy crunchy English muffins, golden toasted crumpets, brioche with a hint of color, or crisp and chewy bagels. Learn more.
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