Bread
Overview

Bread is a staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 prepared by cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

 a dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

 of flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed (e.g., mantou
Mantou
Mantou, often referred to as Chinese steamed bun/bread, is a kind of steamed bun originating in China. They are typically eaten as a staple in northern parts of China where wheat, rather than rice, is grown. They are made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents...

), fried (e.g., puri
Puri (food)
Puri ,Hindi पूरी , Urdu: بوری, Tamil பூரி , Kannada ಪೂರಿ , Oriya ପୁରି, is an unleavened Indian bread, commonly consumed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal.Puri is most commonly served at breakfast...

), or baked on an unoiled frying pan
Frying pan
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

 (e.g., tortilla
Tortilla
In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize...

s). It may be leavened
Leavening agent
A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product...

 or unleavened. Salt
Edible salt
Salt, also known as table salt, or rock salt, is a mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to animals and plants in excess...

, fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 and leavening agent
Leavening agent
A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product...

s such as yeast and baking soda are common ingredients, though bread may contain other ingredients, such as milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, egg
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

, sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 (such as raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

s), vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s (such as onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

), nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

 (such as walnut
Walnut
Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

s) or seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s (such as poppy
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

).
Encyclopedia

Bread is a staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 prepared by cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

 a dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

 of flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed (e.g., mantou
Mantou
Mantou, often referred to as Chinese steamed bun/bread, is a kind of steamed bun originating in China. They are typically eaten as a staple in northern parts of China where wheat, rather than rice, is grown. They are made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents...

), fried (e.g., puri
Puri (food)
Puri ,Hindi पूरी , Urdu: بوری, Tamil பூரி , Kannada ಪೂರಿ , Oriya ପୁରି, is an unleavened Indian bread, commonly consumed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal.Puri is most commonly served at breakfast...

), or baked on an unoiled frying pan
Frying pan
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

 (e.g., tortilla
Tortilla
In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize...

s). It may be leavened
Leavening agent
A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product...

 or unleavened. Salt
Edible salt
Salt, also known as table salt, or rock salt, is a mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to animals and plants in excess...

, fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 and leavening agent
Leavening agent
A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product...

s such as yeast and baking soda are common ingredients, though bread may contain other ingredients, such as milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, egg
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

, sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 (such as raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

s), vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s (such as onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

), nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

 (such as walnut
Walnut
Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

s) or seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s (such as poppy
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

). Referred to colloquially as the "staff of life", bread has been prepared for at least 30,000 years. The development of leavened bread can probably also be traced to prehistoric times. Sometimes, the word bread refers to a sweetened loaf cake, often containing appealing ingredients like dried fruit
Dried fruit
Dried fruit is fruit where the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators. Dried fruit has a long tradition of use dating back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and is prized...

, chocolate chips, nuts or spices, such as pumpkin bread
Pumpkin bread
Pumpkin bread is a type of moist quick bread made with pumpkins. The pumpkin can be cooked and softened before being used or simply baked with the bread...

, banana bread
Banana bread
Banana bread is a type of bread that is made with mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread; however, there are some banana bread recipes that are traditional-style yeast breads.-History:...

 or gingerbread
Gingerbread
Gingerbread is a term used to describe a variety of sweet food products, which can range from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. What they have in common are the predominant flavors of ginger and a tendency to use honey or molasses rather than just sugar...

.

Fresh bread is prized for its taste, aroma, quality, appearance and texture. Retaining its freshness is important to keep it appetizing. Bread that has stiffened or dried past its prime is said to be stale
Staling
Staling, or "going stale", is a chemical and physical process in bread and other foods that reduces their palatability. Stale bread is dry and leathery.-Mechanism and effects:...

. Modern bread is sometimes wrapped in paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 or plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 film or stored in a container such as a breadbox
Breadbox
A breadbox or a bread bin is a container for storing bread and other baked goods to keep them fresh. They were a more common household kitchen item until bread started being made commercially with food preservatives and wrapped in plastic...

 to reduce drying. Bread that is kept in warm, moist environments is prone to the growth of mold
Mold
Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds are not considered to be microbes but microscopic fungi that grow as single cells called yeasts...

. Bread kept at low temperatures, in a refrigerator
Refrigerator
A refrigerator is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room...

 for example, will develop mold growth more slowly than bread kept at room temperature, but will turn stale quickly due to retrogradation
Retrogradation (starch)
Retrogradation is a reaction that takes place in gelatinized starch when the amylose and amylopectin chains realign themselves, causing the liquid to gel....

.

The soft, inner part of bread is known to baker
Baker
A baker is someone who bakes and sells bread, Cakes and similar foods may also be produced, as the traditional boundaries between what is produced by a baker as opposed to a pastry chef have blurred in recent decades...

s and other culinary professionals as the crumb, which is not to be confused with small bits of bread that often fall off, called crumbs. The outer hard portion of bread is called the crust.

Etymology

The word itself, Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 bread, is common in various forms to many Germanic languages, such as Frisian
West Frisian language
West Frisian is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian,...

 brea, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 brood, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Brot, Swedish bröd, and Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

 brød; it has been claimed to be derived from the root of brew
Brewing
Brewing is the production of beer through steeping a starch source in water and then fermenting with yeast. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BCE, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt...

. It may be connected with the root of break, for its early uses are confined to broken pieces or bits of bread, the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 crustum, and it was not until the 12th century that it took the place—as the generic name for bread—of hlaf (𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐍆𐍃 [hlaifs] in Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

: modern English loaf), which appears to be the oldest Teutonic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 name. Old High German
Old High German
The term Old High German refers to the earliest stage of the German language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of...

 hleib and modern German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Laib derive from this Proto-Germanic word for "loaf", and through borrowing it gave rise to Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 chleb, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 хлеб (khleb), Finnish leipä and Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

 leib as well.

History

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. Evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe revealed starch residue on rocks used for pounding plants. It is possible that during this time, starch extract from the roots of plants, such as cattails and ferns, was spread on a flat rock, placed over a fire and cooked into a primitive form of flatbread. Around 10,000 BC, with the dawn of the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 age and the spread of agriculture, grains became the mainstay of making bread. Yeast spores are ubiquitous, including the surface of cereal grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

, so any dough left to rest will become naturally leavened. There were multiple sources of leavening available for early bread. Airborne yeasts could be harnessed by leaving uncooked dough exposed to air for some time before cooking. Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 reported that the Gauls
Gauls
The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

 and Iberians
Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

 used the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples." Parts of the ancient world that drank wine instead of beer used a paste composed of grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

 juice and flour that was allowed to begin fermenting, or wheat bran steeped in wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

, as a source for yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

. The most common source of leavening was to retain a piece of dough from the previous day to use as a form of sourdough starter
Bread starter
A pre-ferment is a fermentation starter used in bread making, and is referred to as an indirect method. It may also be called mother dough....

.

A major advance happened in 1961 with the development of the Chorleywood bread process
Chorleywood Bread Process
The Chorleywood bread process is an industrial process used to lower the cost of bread production. The CBP, or no time method, was developed in 1961 by the British Baking Industries Research Association based at Chorleywood, and is now used to make 80% of the UK's bread...

, which used the intense mechanical working of dough to dramatically reduce the fermentation
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 period and the time taken to produce a loaf. The process, whose high-energy mixing allows for the use of lower protein grain, is now widely used around the world in large factories. As a result, bread can be produced very quickly and at low costs to the manufacturer and the consumer.

Recently, domestic bread machine
Bread machine
A bread making machine or bread maker is a home appliance for baking bread. It consists of a bread pan with a paddle mounted in the center of a small special-purpose oven, with a control panel...

s which automate the process of making bread have become popular.

Cultural and political importance of bread

As a foodstuff of great historical and contemporary importance, in many cultures in the West and Near and Middle East bread has a significance beyond mere nutrition. The Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, for example, contains the line "Give us this day our daily bread"; here, "bread" is commonly understood to mean necessities in general. Bread is also significant in Christianity as one of the elements (alongside wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

) of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

; see sacramental bread
Sacramental bread
Sacramental bread, sometimes called the lamb, altar bread, host or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.-Eastern Catholic and Orthodox:...

. The word companion comes from Latin com- "with" + panis "bread". The Roman poet Juvenal
Juvenal
The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by the Latin author Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books; all are in the Roman genre of satire, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a...

 satirised superficial politicians and the public as caring only for "panem et circenses" (bread and circuses
Bread and circuses
"Bread and Circuses" is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement...

). In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 the most usual phrase in work-related demonstrations is "lekhem, avoda" [bread, work], and during the 1950s the beatnik
Beatnik
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s and early 1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical...

 community used the term bread as a euphemism for money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

. In Cockney rhyming slang, bread means money; this usage is derived from the phrase "bread and honey". The word bread is now commonly used around the world in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

-speaking countries as a synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for money (as is also the case with the word dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

).

The cultural importance of bread goes beyond slang to serve as a metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 for basic necessities and living conditions in general. A "bread-winner" is a household's main economic contributor and has little to do with actual bread-provision, for example. This is also seen in the phrase "putting bread on the table". A remarkable or revolutionary innovation is often referred to as "the greatest thing since sliced bread". In Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 in 1917, Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks promised "Peace, Land, and Bread." The term "breadbasket
Breadbasket
The breadbasket or the granary of a country is a region which, because of richness of soil and/or advantageous climate, produces an agricultural surplus which is often considered vital for the country as a whole. Rice bowl is a similar term used in Southeast Asia...

" is often used to denote an agriculturally productive region. In Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 cultures bread and salt
Bread and salt
Bread and salt is a Slavic welcome greeting ceremony.The tradition, known by its local Slavic names , was also adopted by two non-Slavic nations — Lithuanians and Romanians — both of which culturally and historically close to their Slavic neighbours .When important, respected, or admired guests...

 is offered as a welcome to all guests. In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, life's basic necessities are often referred to as "roti, kapra aur makan" (bread, cloth and house).

The political significance of bread is considerable. In Britain in the nineteenth century the inflated price of bread due to the Corn Laws
Corn Laws
The Corn Laws were trade barriers designed to protect cereal producers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland against competition from less expensive foreign imports between 1815 and 1846. The barriers were introduced by the Importation Act 1815 and repealed by the Importation Act 1846...

 caused major political and social divisions, and was central to debates over free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 and protectionism
Protectionism
Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow "fair competition" between imports and goods and services produced domestically.This...

. The Assize of Bread and Ale
Assize of Bread and Ale
The Assize of Bread and Ale was a 13th-century statute in late medieval English law, which regulated the price, weight and quality of the bread and beer manufactured and sold in towns, villages and hamlets. This statute is usually attributed to act 51 Hen. III, occurring about 1266–1267. It was...

 in the thirteenth century demonstrated the importance of bread in medieval times by setting heavy punishments for short-changing bakers, and bread appeared in the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

a half-century earlier.

Types

Bread is the staple food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, European-derived cultures such as the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, as opposed to East Asia whose staple is rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

. Bread is usually made from a wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

-flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

 that is cultured with yeast, allowed to rise, and finally baked in an oven
Oven
An oven is a thermally insulated chamber used for the heating, baking or drying of a substance. It is most commonly used for cooking. Kilns, and furnaces are special-purpose ovens...

. Owing to its high levels of gluten
Gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye...

 (which give the dough sponginess and elasticity), common wheat
Common wheat
Common wheat, Triticum aestivum, is a cultivated wheat species.-Nomenclature and taxonomy of the variety and its cultivars:-Evolution:...

 (also known as bread wheat) is the most common grain used for the preparation of bread, but bread is also made from the flour of other wheat species (including durum
Durum
Durum wheat or macaroni wheat is the only tetraploid species of wheat of commercial importance that is widely cultivated today...

, spelt
Spelt
Spelt is a hexaploid species of wheat. Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the...

 and emmer
Emmer
Emmer wheat , also known as farro especially in Italy, is a low yielding, awned wheat. It was one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East...

), rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 (corn), and oat
Oat
The common oat is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed...

s, usually, but not always, in combination with wheat flour. Spelt bread (Dinkelbrot) continues to be widely consumed in Germany, and emmer bread was a staple food in ancient Egypt. Canadian bread
Canadian White
Canadian white is a style of bread produced by several bread companies including Pepperidge Farm, and J.J. Nissen. It is heartier than regular white bread, and is of a thicker consistency. J.J. Nissen also offers other Canadian style breads...

 is known for its heartier consistency due to high protein levels in Canadian flour.
  • White bread
    White bread
    White bread is made from wheat flour from which the bran and the germ have been removed through a process known as milling. Milling gives white flour a longer shelf life by removing the bran which contains oil, allowing products made with it, like white bread, the ability to survive storage and...

     is made from flour
    Flour
    Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

     containing only the central core of the grain (endosperm).
  • Brown bread
    Brown bread
    Brown bread is a designation often given to breads made with significant amounts of whole grain flour, usually rye or wheat, and sometimes dark-colored ingredients such as molasses or coffee...

     is made with endosperm and 10% bran. It can also refer to white bread with added colouring (often caramel colouring) to make it brown; this is commonly labeled in America as wheat bread (as opposed to whole wheat bread
    Whole wheat bread
    Whole wheat bread is a type of bread that is made using flour which is partly or entirely made from whole or almost whole wheat grains, see whole wheat flour and whole grain. It is one kind of brown bread. Synonyms or near-synonyms for whole wheat bread elsewhere in the world are whole grain bread...

    ).
  • Wholemeal bread contains the whole of the wheat grain (endosperm and bran). It is also referred to as "whole grain" or "whole wheat bread", especially in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    .
  • Wheat germ
    Cereal germ
    The germ of a cereal is the reproductive part that germinates to grow into a plant; it is the embryo of the seed. Along with bran, germ is often a by-product of the milling that produces refined grain products. Cereal grains and their components, such as wheat germ, rice bran, and maize may be used...

     bread has added wheat germ for flavoring.
  • Whole grain bread can refer to the same as wholemeal bread, or to white bread with added whole grains to increase its fibre content, as in "60% whole grain bread".
  • Roti
    Roti
    Roti is generally a South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also consumed in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and...

     is a whole-wheat-based bread eaten in South Asia. Chapatti is a larger variant of roti. Naan
    Naan
    Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in South and Central Asia, in Iran, and in South Asian restaurants abroad. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian labour, naan has also become popular in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.Originally, naan is a...

     is a leavened equivalent to these.
  • Granary bread is made from flaked wheat grains and white or brown flour. The standard malting process is modified to maximise the maltose or sugar content but minimise residual alpha amylase content. Other flavour components are imparted from partial fermentation due to the particular malting process used and to Maillard
    Maillard
    The Maillard was a French automobile manufactured from 1900 until around 1903. Two models, a 6 hp and a 10 hp, were available; these were upgraded to 8 hp and 12 hp in 1901. Maillards were also built in Belgium under the name Aquilas....

     reactions on flaking and toasting.
  • Rye bread
    Rye bread
    Rye bread is a type of bread made with various percentages of flour from rye grain. It can be light or dark in color, depending on the type of flour used and the addition of coloring agents, and is typically denser than bread made from wheat flour...

     is made with flour from rye grain of varying levels. It is higher in fiber than many common types of bread and is often darker in color and stronger in flavor. It is popular in Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

    , Germany, Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    , the Baltic States
    Baltic states
    The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

    , and Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    .
  • Unleavened bread or matzo
    Matzo
    Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

    , used for the Jewish feast of Passover
    Passover
    Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

    , does not include yeast, so it does not rise.
  • Sourdough bread is made with a starter
    Bread starter
    A pre-ferment is a fermentation starter used in bread making, and is referred to as an indirect method. It may also be called mother dough....

    .
  • Flatbread
    Flatbread
    A flatbread is a simple bread made with flour, water, and salt and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened: made without yeast or sourdough culture: although some flatbread is made with yeast, such as pita bread....

     is often simple, made with flour, water, and salt, and then formed into flattened dough; most are unleavened, made without yeast or sourdough culture, though some are made with yeast.
  • Hempbread Hemp
    Hemp
    Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

     seeds do not mill into flour because of their high oil content (~30%). Hemp flour is the by-product after pressing the oil and milling the residue. Hemp flour doesn't rise, and is best mixed with other flours. A 3:1 ratio produces a hearty, heavy, nutritious loaf high in protein and essential fatty acids.

Quick breads

The term quick bread
Quick bread
Quick bread is an American term used to denote a type of bread which is leavened with leavening agents other than yeast. Quick breads includes many cakes, brownies and cookies, as well as banana bread, beer bread, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.-History::"Quick...

 usually refers to a bread chemically leavened, usually with both baking powder and baking soda, and a balance of acidic ingredients and alkaline ingredients. Examples include pancakes and waffles, muffins and carrot cake
Carrot cake
Carrot cake is a cake which consists of grated carrots mixed with batter. The carrot softens in the cooking process, and the cake usually has a soft, dense texture...

, Boston brown bread
Brown bread
Brown bread is a designation often given to breads made with significant amounts of whole grain flour, usually rye or wheat, and sometimes dark-colored ingredients such as molasses or coffee...

, and zucchini
Zucchini
The zucchini is a summer squash which often grows to nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. It is a hybrid of the cucumber. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green...

 and banana bread
Banana bread
Banana bread is a type of bread that is made with mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread; however, there are some banana bread recipes that are traditional-style yeast breads.-History:...

.

Formulation

The proportion of water to flour is the most important measurement in a bread recipe, as it affects texture and crumb the most. Professional bakers use a system of percentages known as baker's percentage
Baker percentage
Baker's percentage is a baker's notation method indicating the flour-relative proportion of ingredients used when making breads, cakes, muffins, and other pastries. It is also referred to as baker's math, or otherwise contextually indicated by a phrase such as based on flour weight...

 in their recipe formulations. They measure ingredients by weight instead of by volume, because measurement by weight is much more accurate and consistent than measurement by volume, especially for the dry ingredients.

The amount of flour is always stated as 100%, and the amounts of the rest of the ingredients are expressed as a percent of that amount by weight. Common table bread in the U.S. uses about 50% water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, resulting in a finely textured, light bread. Most artisan bread formulas contain anywhere from 60 to 75% water. In yeast breads, the higher water percentages result in more CO2 bubbles and a coarser bread crumb. One pound (450 g) of flour will yield a standard loaf of bread or two French loaves.

Calcium propionate
Calcium propionate
Calcium propanoate or calcium propionate has the formula Ca2. It is the calcium salt of propanoic acid.-Uses:As a food additive, it is listed as E number 282 in the Codex Alimentarius. Calcium propanoate is used as a preservative in a wide variety of products, including but not limited to bread,...

 is commonly added by commercial bakeries to retard the growth of molds.

Flour

Flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 is a product made from grain that has been ground to a powdery consistency. Flour provides the primary structure to the final baked bread. Commonly available flours are made from rye, barley, maize, and other grains, but wheat flour is most commonly used for breads. Each of these grains provides the starch and protein needed to form bread.

The quantity of the protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 contained in the flour serves as the best indicator of the quality of the bread dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

 and the finished bread. While bread can be made from all-purpose wheat flour, for quality bread a specialty bread flour, containing more protein, is recommended. If one uses a flour with a lower (9–11%) protein content to produce bread, a longer mixing time will be required to develop gluten strength properly. This extended mixing time leads to oxidization of the dough, which gives the finished product a whiter crumb, instead of the cream color preferred by most artisan bakers.

Wheat flour, in addition to its starch, contains three water-soluble protein groups (albumin
Albumin
Albumin refers generally to any protein that is water soluble, which is moderately soluble in concentrated salt solutions, and experiences heat denaturation. They are commonly found in blood plasma, and are unique to other blood proteins in that they are not glycosylated...

, globulin
Globulin
Globulin is one of the three types of serum proteins, the others being albumin and fibrinogen. Some globulins are produced in the liver, while others are made by the immune system. The term globulin encompasses a heterogeneous group of proteins with typical high molecular weight, and both...

, and proteose
Proteose
A proteose is any of various water-soluble compounds that are produced during digestion by the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins short of the amino acid stage....

s) and two water-insoluble protein groups (glutenin
Glutenin
Glutenin is the glutelin derived from wheat. Gluteninis a protein best known for its role, along with gliadin, in the creation of gluten with its disulfide inter- and intra-molecule links. Glutenin consists of 20% HMW subunits, which are relatively low in sulfur...

 and gliadin
Gliadin
Gliadin is a glycoprotein present in wheat and several other cereals within the grass genus Triticum. Gliadins are prolamins and are separated on the basis of electrophoretic mobility and isoelectric focusing.- Types :...

). When flour is mixed with water, the water-soluble proteins dissolve, leaving the glutenin and gliadin to form the structure of the resulting bread. When relatively dry dough is worked by kneading
Kneading
Kneading is a process in the making of bread or pasta dough, used to mix together the ingredients and add strength to the final product. Its importance lies in the mixing of flour with water. When these two ingredients are combined and kneaded, the gliadin and glutenin proteins in the flour expand...

, or wet dough is allowed to rise for a long time (see no-knead bread
No-knead bread
No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long rising time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough...

), the glutenin forms strands of long, thin, chainlike molecules, while the shorter gliadin forms bridges between the strands of glutenin. The resulting networks of strands produced by these two proteins are known as gluten
Gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye...

. Gluten development improves if the dough is allowed to autolyse.

Liquids

Water, or some other liquid, is used to form the flour into a paste or dough. The volume of liquid required varies between recipes, but a ratio of 1 part liquid to 3 parts flour is common for yeast breads, while recipes that use steam as the primary leavening method may have a liquid content in excess of one part liquid to one part flour by volume. Instead of water, other types of liquids, such as dairy products, fruit juices, or beer, may be used; they contribute additional sweeteners, fats, or leavening components, as well as water.

Leavening

Leavening is the process of adding gas to a dough before or during baking to produce a lighter, more easily chewed bread. Most bread consumed in the West is leavened. Unleavened breads have symbolic importance in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. Jews consume unleavened bread called matzo
Matzo
Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

 during Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

. Roman Catholic and some Protestant Christians consume unleavened bread during the Christian liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 when they celebrate the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, a rite derived from the narrative of the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 when Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 broke bread with his disciples, perhaps during a Passover Seder
Passover Seder
The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in...

. In contrast, Orthodox Christians always use leavened bread during their liturgy.

Chemical

A simple technique for leavening bread is the use of gas-producing chemicals. There are two common methods. The first is to use baking powder
Baking powder
Baking powder is a dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, scones and American-style biscuits. Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in...

 or a self-rising flour that includes baking powder. The second is to include an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

 and add baking soda; the reaction of the acid with the soda produces gas.

Chemically leavened breads are called quick breads and soda bread
Soda bread
Soda bread is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate is used as a raising agent rather than the more common yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk...

s
. This method is commonly used to make muffin
Muffin
A muffin is an American English name for a type of quick bread that is baked in small portions. Many forms are somewhat like small cakes or cupcakes in shape, although they usually are not as sweet as cupcakes and generally lack frosting. Savory varieties, such as cornbread muffins, also exist...

s, pancake
Pancake
A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side...

s, American-style biscuits, and sweet breads such as banana bread
Banana bread
Banana bread is a type of bread that is made with mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread; however, there are some banana bread recipes that are traditional-style yeast breads.-History:...

.

Yeast

Many breads are leavened by yeast
Yeast
Yeasts are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described estimated to be only 1% of all fungal species. Most reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by an asymmetric division process called budding...

. The yeast used for leavening bread is Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast. It is perhaps the most useful yeast, having been instrumental to baking and brewing since ancient times. It is believed that it was originally isolated from the skin of grapes...

, the same species used for brewing alcoholic beverages. This yeast ferments carbohydrates in the flour, including any sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, producing carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. Most bakers in the U.S. leaven their dough with commercially produced baker's yeast
Baker's yeast
Baker's yeast is the common name for the strains of yeast commonly used as a leavening agent in baking bread and bakery products, where it converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol...

. Baker's yeast has the advantage of producing uniform, quick, and reliable results, because it is obtained from a pure culture. Many artisan bakers produce their own yeast by preparing a growth culture which they then use in the making of bread. When this culture is kept in the right conditions, it will continue to grow and provide leavening for many years.

Both the baker's yeast and the sourdough method of baking bread follow the same pattern. Water is mixed with flour, salt and the leavening agent (baker's yeast or sourdough
Sourdough
Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. It is one of two principal means of biological leavening in bread baking, along with the use of cultivated forms of yeast . It is of particular importance in baking rye-based breads, where yeast...

 starter). Other additions (spices, herbs, fats, seeds, fruit, etc.) are not needed to bake bread, but are often used. The mixed dough is then allowed to rise
Proofing (baking technique)
Proofing , as the term is used by professional bakers, is the final dough-rise step before baking, and refers to a specific rest period within the more generalized process known as fermentation...

 one or more times (a longer rising time results in more flavor, so bakers often "punch down" the dough and let it rise again), then loaves are formed, and (after an optional final rising time) the bread is baked in an oven
Oven
An oven is a thermally insulated chamber used for the heating, baking or drying of a substance. It is most commonly used for cooking. Kilns, and furnaces are special-purpose ovens...

.

Many breads are made from a "straight dough", which means that all of the ingredients are combined in one step, and the dough is baked after the rising time. Alternatively, dough can be made using a "pre-ferment", when the leavening is combined with some of the flour and water a day or so ahead of baking and allowed to ferment overnight. On the day of the baking, the rest of the ingredients are added, and the rest of the process is the same as that for straight dough. This produces a more flavorful bread with better texture. Many bakers see the starter method as a compromise between the highly reliable results of baker's yeast and the flavor and complexity of a longer fermentation. It also allows the baker to use only a minimal amount of baker's yeast, which was scarce and expensive when it first became available. Most yeasted pre-ferments fall into one of three categories: "poolish" or "pouliche", a loose-textured mixture composed of roughly equal amounts of flour and water (by weight); "biga
Biga (bread baking)
Biga is a type of pre-ferment used in Italian baking. Many popular Italian breads, including ciabatta, are made using a biga. Using a biga adds complexity to the bread's flavour and is often used in breads which need a light, open texture with holes...

", a stiff mixture with a higher proportion of flour; and "pâte fermentée", which is simply a portion of dough reserved from a previous batch. Sourdough (also known as "levain" or "natural leaven") takes it a step further, creating a pre-ferment with flour and water that propagates naturally occurring yeast and bacteria (usually Saccharomyces exiguus, which is more acid-tolerant than S. cerevisiae, and various species of Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic rod-shaped bacteria. They are a major part of the lactic acid bacteria group, named as such because most of its members convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. They are common and usually benign...

).

Sourdough

The sour taste of sourdough
Sourdough
Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. It is one of two principal means of biological leavening in bread baking, along with the use of cultivated forms of yeast . It is of particular importance in baking rye-based breads, where yeast...

s actually comes not from the yeast, but from a lactobacillus
Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic rod-shaped bacteria. They are a major part of the lactic acid bacteria group, named as such because most of its members convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. They are common and usually benign...

, with which the yeast lives in symbiosis
Symbiosis
Symbiosis is close and often long-term interaction between different biological species. In 1877 Bennett used the word symbiosis to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens...

. The lactobacillus feeds on the byproducts of the yeast fermentation, and in turn makes the culture go sour by excreting lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

, which protects it from spoiling (since most microbes are unable to survive in an acid environment). Formerly all yeast-leavened breads were sourdoughs, and the leavening process was not understood until the 19th century, when with the advance of microscopes scientists were able to discover the microbes that make the dough rise. Since then, strains of yeast have been selected and cultured mainly for reliability and quickness of fermentation. Billions of cells of these strains are then packaged and marketed as "baker's yeast". Bread made with baker's yeast is not sour because of the absence of the lactobacillus. Bakers around the world quickly embraced baker's yeast for it made baking simple and so allowed for more flexibility in the bakery's operations. It made baking quick as well, allowing bakeries to make fresh bread from scratch as often as three times a day. While European bakeries kept producing sourdough breads, in the U.S., sourdough baking was widely replaced by baker's yeast, and only recently has that country seen the rebirth of sourdough in artisan bakeries. According to Alton Brown
Alton Brown
Alton Crawford Brown is an American television personality, author, actor, and cinematographer. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats and the mini-series Feasting on Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, and he is the host and main commentator on Iron Chef America...

, host of Food Network
Food Network
Food Network is a television specialty channel that airs both one-time and recurring programs about food and cooking. Scripps Networks Interactive owns 70 percent of the network, with Tribune Company controlling the remaining 30 percent....

's Good Eats
Good Eats
Good Eats is a television cooking show created and hosted by Alton Brown which airs in North America on Food Network. Likened to television science educators Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye, Brown explores the science and technique behind the cooking, the history of different foods, and the advantages of...

television show, each region of the world has different strains of lactobacillus, so the flavor of the bread made from home starters is unique. The San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

 is especially famous for its sourdough breads.

Sourdough breads are most often made with a sourdough starter (not to be confused with the starter method discussed above). A sourdough starter is a culture of yeast and lactobacillus. It is essentially a dough-like or pancake-batter-like flour–water mixture in which the yeast and lactobacilli live. A starter can be maintained indefinitely by periodically discarding a part of it and refreshing it by adding fresh flour and water. (When refrigerated, a starter can last weeks without needing to be "fed".) There are starters owned by bakeries and families that are several human generations old, much revered for creating a special taste or texture. Starters can be obtained by taking a piece of another starter and growing it, or they can be made from scratch. There are hobbyist groups on the web who will send their starter for a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and there are even mail-order companies that sell different starters from all over the world. An acquired starter has the advantage of being more proven and "established" (stable and reliable, resisting spoiling and behaving predictably) than from-scratch starters.

There are other ways of sourdough baking and culture maintenance. A more traditional one is the process that was followed by peasant families throughout Europe in past centuries. The family (usually the woman was in charge of breadmaking) would bake on a fixed schedule, perhaps once a week. The starter was saved from the previous week's dough. The starter was mixed with the new ingredients, the dough was left to rise, and then a piece of it was saved (to be the starter for next week's bread). The rest was formed into loaves which were marked with the family sign (this is where today's decorative slashing of bread loaves originates from) and taken to the communal oven to bake. These communal ovens over time evolved into what are known today as bakeries, when certain people specialized in bread baking, and with time enhanced the process so far as to be able to mass produce cheap bread for everyone in the world.

Steam

The rapid expansion of steam produced during baking leavens the bread, which is as simple as it is unpredictable. The best known steam-leavened bread is the popover
Popover
A popover is a light, hollow roll made from an egg batter similar to that of Yorkshire pudding, typically baked in muffin tins.Popovers may be served either as a sweet, topped with fruit and whipped cream for breakfast or with afternoon tea, or with meats at lunch and dinner.-Name:The name...

. Steam-leavening is unpredictable since the steam is not produced until the bread is baked.

Steam leavening happens regardless of the rising agents (baking soda, yeast, baking powder, sour dough, beaten egg whites, etc.).
  • The leavening agent either contains air bubbles or generates carbon dioxide.
  • The heat vaporises the water from the inner surface of the bubbles within the dough.
  • The steam expands and makes the bread rise.

This is the main factor in the rise of bread once it has been put in the oven. CO2
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 generation, on its own, is too small to account for the rise. Heat kills bacteria or yeast at an early stage, so the CO2 generation is stopped.

Bacteria

Salt rising bread
Salt rising bread
Salt rising bread is bread in which the main rising agent is a bacterium Clostridium perfringens, which leavens the bread along with lactobacillus and other wild microbes, as opposed to mainly yeast or baking soda. It is thought that the salt used in the starter is used to suppress yeast growth...

 employs a form of bacterial leavening that does not require yeast. Although the leavening action is not always consistent, and requires close attention to the incubating conditions, this bread is making a comeback due to its unique cheese-like flavor and fine texture.

Aeration

Aerated bread is leavened by carbon dioxide being forced into dough under pressure. The technique is no longer in common use, but from the mid 19th to 20th centuries bread made this way was somewhat popular in the United Kingdom, made by the Aerated Bread Company
Aerated Bread Company
The Aerated Bread Company Ltd was founded in the United Kingdom in 1862 by Dr. John Dauglish. Its aim was to mass produce healthy, additive-free breads using a new bread leavening technology invented by the company's founder...

 and sold in its high-street tearooms.

Fats or shortenings

Fats such as butter, vegetable oils, lard, or that contained in eggs affects the development of gluten in breads by coating and lubricating the individual strands of protein and also helps to hold the structure together. If too much fat is included in a bread dough, the lubrication effect will cause the protein structures to divide. A fat content of approximately 3% by weight is the concentration that will produce the greatest leavening action. In addition to their effects on leavening, fats also serve to tenderize the breads they are used in and also help to keep the bread fresh longer after baking.

Bread improvers

Bread improver
Bread improver
Bread improver has been a common ingredient in bread since the early 1950s, and is used to speed up bread production.- History :Before the 1950s, bread had been made virtually the same way since it was first discovered. Using sourdoughs, and sponge and dough methods, bread would take up to a day to...

s are often used in producing commercial breads to reduce the time needed for rising and to improve texture and volume. Chemical substances commonly used as bread improvers include ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties. It is a white solid, but impure samples can appear yellowish. It dissolves well in water to give mildly acidic solutions. Ascorbic acid is one form of vitamin C. The name is derived from a- and scorbutus , the...

, hydrochloride
Hydrochloride
In chemistry, hydrochlorides are salts resulting, or regarded as resulting, from the reaction of hydrochloric acid with an organic base . This is also known as muriate, derived from hydrochloric acid's other name: muriatic acid....

, sodium metabisulfate, ammonium chloride
Ammonium chloride
Ammonium chloride NH4Cl is an inorganic compound with the formula NH4Cl. It is a white crystalline salt that is highly soluble in water. Solutions of ammonium chloride are mildly acidic. Sal ammoniac is a name of natural, mineralogical form of ammonium chloride...

, various phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

s, amylase
Amylase
Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Food that contains much starch but little sugar, such as rice and potato, taste slightly sweet as they are chewed because amylase turns...

, and protease
Protease
A protease is any enzyme that conducts proteolysis, that is, begins protein catabolism by hydrolysis of the peptide bonds that link amino acids together in the polypeptide chain forming the protein....

.

Salt is one of the most common additives used in production. In addition to enhancing flavor and restricting yeast activity, salt affects the crumb and the overall texture by stabilizing and strengthening the gluten. Some artisan bakers are foregoing early addition of salt to the dough, and are waiting until after a 20-minute "rest". This is known as an autolyse and is done with both refined and whole grain flours.

Bread baking

This is a visual representation of a step-by-step guide of the making of bread.

Serving and consumption

Bread can be served at any temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

; once baked, it can subsequently be toast
Toast
Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...

ed. It is most commonly eaten with the hands, either by itself or as a carrier for other foods. Bread can be dipped into liquids such as gravy
Gravy
Gravy is a sauce made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces and gravy is often thicker than in Britain...

, olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, or soup
Soup
Soup is a generally warm food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.Traditionally,...

; it can be topped with various sweet and savory spreads, or used to make sandwich
Sandwich
A sandwich is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of :bread with one or more fillings between them, or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or...

es containing myriad varieties of meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

s, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments.

Bread crust

The bread crust is formed from surface dough during the cooking process. It is hardened and browned through the Maillard reaction
Maillard reaction
The Maillard reaction is a form of nonenzymatic browning similar to caramelization. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat....

 using the sugars and amino acids and the intense heat at the bread surface. The nature of a bread's crust differs depending on the type of bread and the way it is baked. Commercial bread is baked using jets that direct steam towards the bread to help produce a desirable crust.

The crust of most breads is less soft, and more complexly and intensely flavored, than the rest, and judgments vary among individuals and cultures as to whether it is therefore the less palatable or the more flavorful part of a particular style of bread. Some manufacturers, including Sara Lee, market traditional and crustless bread
Crustless bread
Crustless bread is bread without crusts. It is popular among children. It is popular in spite of the fact that bread crusts are very high in fiber, antioxidants, and contain a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals than the rest of the bread....

s.

The first and last slices of a loaf (or a slice with a high ratio
Ratio
In mathematics, a ratio is a relationship between two numbers of the same kind , usually expressed as "a to b" or a:b, sometimes expressed arithmetically as a dimensionless quotient of the two which explicitly indicates how many times the first number contains the second In mathematics, a ratio is...

 of crust-area to volume compared to others of the same loaf) are sometimes referred to as the heel or the crust of the loaf.

Breads in different cultures

As a simple, cheap, and adaptable type of food, bread is often used as a synecdoche
Synecdoche
Synecdoche , meaning "simultaneous understanding") is a figure of speech in which a term is used in one of the following ways:* Part of something is used to refer to the whole thing , or...

 for food in general in some languages and dialects, such as Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

. There are many variations on the basic recipe of bread worldwide, including pizza
Pizza
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

, chapati
Chapati
Chapati or Chapatti or Chapathi is an unleavened flatbread from the Indian subcontinent. Versions of it are found in Turkmenistan and in East African countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania...

s, tortilla
Tortilla
In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize...

s, bocadillo
Bocadillo
The bocadillo or bocata, in Spain and other hispanic countries, is a sandwich made with Spanish bread cut lengthwise, not with sliced bread. Traditionally seen as a humble food, its low cost has allowed it to evolve over time into an iconic piece of the Hispanic cuisine....

, baguette
Baguette
A baguette is "a long thin loaf of French bread" that is commonly made from basic lean dough...

s, brioche
Brioche
Brioche is a highly enriched French pastry, whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb. It is "light and slightly puffy, more or less fine, according to the proportion of butter and eggs" It has a dark, golden, and flaky crust, frequently accentuated by an egg wash applied...

, pita
Pita
Pita or pitta is a round pocket bread widely consumed in many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It is prevalent in Greece, the Balkans the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough...

s, lavash
Lavash
Lavash is a soft, thin flatbread popular in several countries of the northern parts of the Middle-East and the southern parts of the Caucasus.Traditionally the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven....

, biscuit
Biscuit
A biscuit is a baked, edible, and commonly flour-based product. The term is used to apply to two distinctly different products in North America and the Commonwealth Nations....

s, pretzel
Pretzel
A pretzel is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe...

s, naan
Naan
Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in South and Central Asia, in Iran, and in South Asian restaurants abroad. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian labour, naan has also become popular in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.Originally, naan is a...

, bagel
Bagel
A bagel is a bread product, traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, roughly hand-sized, which is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior...

s, puris
Puri (food)
Puri ,Hindi पूरी , Urdu: بوری, Tamil பூரி , Kannada ಪೂರಿ , Oriya ପୁରି, is an unleavened Indian bread, commonly consumed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal.Puri is most commonly served at breakfast...

, and many others. There are different types of traditional "cheese breads" in many countries, including Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

Europe

Germany prides itself on having the largest variety of breads worldwide. More than 300 basic kinds of bread are produced with more than 1,000 types of small bread-rolls and pastries. It has been estimated that the basic kinds of bread are so widely varied by more than 16,000 local bakeries that more than 1,000 different breads have been presented at a 2005 Cologne bread show. Germans are worldwide the biggest consumers (per capita) of bread, followed by Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

In Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n and Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

, four grain types dominated in the prehistoric era (before 1000 AD). Barley and rye are the oldest; wheat and oats are more recent. During the Iron Age (500 AD–1050 AD), rye became the most commonly used grain, followed by barley and oats. Scandinavian soldiers apparently learned baking techniques while working as mercenaries in the Roman army (200–400 AD). They subsequently took the technique home with them as a way to show that they had been employed in high-status work on the continent. Early Christian traditions promoted an interest in bread. Rye was also the most commonly used grain for bread up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, older grain types such as emmer and spelt are once again being cultivated and new bread types are being developed from these grains. Culturally, Germany has influenced most of the bread types in the Nordic countries. In the eastern part of Finland, there is a cultural link to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 bread traditions.

In the late 19th century, Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 bakers in the larger towns baked fresh bread in the morning. This bread, called morgenbrød, primarily made from wheat and intended for the rising bourgeoisie, was baked into various shapes and with a variety of seasonings. Since then, this freshly baked bread has been produced in every Danish baker's shop, along with a variety of other breads. This decentralised form of baking bread alongside the more modern industrialised production of bread seems to be characteristic of the Danish bread sector. Consumption, to a great extent, has switched from rye bread to wheat bread.

Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 both have dark sourdough breads made of rye. Traditional Finnish rye bread is disc-shaped, with a hole in the center for easier storing. These breads have a rougher composition and a stronger taste than wheat bread, and can thus be stored for longer periods of time. Some families have leaven cultures, handed down from one generation to the next, that they use for baking these breads. Bread is made from all four of the cereals grown in Finland: wheat, rye, barley and oats; these are usually ground into various grades. Rye bread can be either light or dark in colour, depending on the type of flour mixture used. A few wheat breads are still made in Finland, although most are simple buns or loaves of sliced or unsliced bread. Some of the breads are thinner, multigrain types, such as elongated sekaleipä. Vesirinkeli (water rings) are small, almost tasteless rings of yeast-leavened wheat bread, which resemble bagels. The potato, although a late introduction to Finland in the early 19th century, features heavily in food culture and has found its way into many kinds of bread.

With the settlement of Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 about 800–900 AD, grain, in the form of barley, was brought, cultivated and used for bread and porridge. Grain cultivation is thought to have been abandoned before 1600 due to harsher climatic conditions, and subsequently most grains such as barley and rye were imported. The scarcity of grain was overcome in different ways in different parts of the country. In some areas, grain was made to go further using dulse (Palmaria palmata; in Icelandic, söl), Iceland moss
Iceland moss
Iceland moss is a lichen whose erect or ascending foliaceous habit gives it something of the appearance of a moss, whence probably the name...

 (Cetraria islandica; in Icelandic, fjallagrös) or Irish moss (Chondrus crispus; in Icelandic, fjörugrös) in compotes and breads. It was not until the 18th century that it became common practice to make leavened rye breads; sourdough was mostly used. Rye breads baked in hot springs are a popular item today, and are served for local consumption as well as for tourists. In general, stock fish (harðfiskur) was served as a bread substitute, eaten with butter on the side with almost every meal. Today, it is a popular snack which has found a new target group within the sports food market because of its high protein and favourable amino acid content. Most types of breads available in other Western countries are now also available in Iceland, either baked in Iceland or imported. Everyday bread is mostly made by industrial bakeries or at the local bakery. Of the bread types currently available, flatbrauð (flatbread) and laufabrauð (leaf bread) have the longest history.

Many new types of bread have reached the markets in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 in recent years. A high percentage of people reported regularly eating bread types such as spelt, speciality, gourmet, and fibre/bran bread, as well as ciabattas and baguettes, although very few reported doing so on a daily basis. Norwegian bakers now have competition from abroad. The wholegrain bread from local bakers must give way to huge lorry loads of baguettes and frozen dough offering cheaper products. Flatbread is still a very popular bread type.

In Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, during the transition to a modern urban and industrialised society in the 19th century, bread types changed when large industrial bakeries introduced new soft bread. From the early 1920s, these were often sweetened. From then on, bread was bought from stores and bakeries, rather than baked at home, as had previously been the case. Regional variation decreased due to the transportation and marketing of bread as a national product. The consumption of bread products of various kinds has increased since the 1990s, and wholegrain bread and wheat bread are the most popular. Many older bread types still exist alongside the newer varieties.

There is a wide variety of traditional breads in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, often baked in a rectangular tin. One such type of traditional thick, flat, round loaf from North East England
North East England
North East England is one of the nine official regions of England. It covers Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Teesside . The only cities in the region are Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland...

 is called a stottie cake
Stottie cake
A Stottie cake or stotty is a type of bread produced in North East England. It is a flat and round loaf , with an indent in the middle produced by the baker. Elsewhere in the world, bread considered similar to the stottie is known as Oven Bottom Bread. One chief difference is the heavy and...

. In Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 another form of bread called plain bread
Plain loaf
A plain loaf, slices of which are known in Scots as plain breid , is a traditional style of loaf made chiefly in Scotland. It has a dark, well-fired crust on the top and bottom of the bread. There is no crust on the sides due to the unbaked loaves being stuck together in batches, baked together...

 is also consumed. These loaves are noticeably taller and thinner, with burned crusts at only the top and bottom of the loaf, and with a much firmer texture than English and American pan bread.

In Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 it is traditionally held that the end of a loaf of bread (the "heel" or, rarely, "hilt" of the loaf) is the best part of the loaf. Other stories and myths surround this piece of the bread in Irish mythology. Irish soda bread, developed to make the most of the soft wheat grown in Ireland, is unusual for a European bread in that it is a quick bread
Quick bread
Quick bread is an American term used to denote a type of bread which is leavened with leavening agents other than yeast. Quick breads includes many cakes, brownies and cookies, as well as banana bread, beer bread, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.-History::"Quick...

, using the reaction of buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

 and baking soda rather than yeast to rise. Another traditional Irish bread is barmbrack
Barmbrack
Barmbrack is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins.Usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to...

, a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins, customarily consumed at Halloween. Potato bread
Potato bread
Potato bread is a form of bread in which potato replaces a portion of the regular wheat flour. It is cooked in a variety of methods, including by baking it on a hot griddle or pan, or in an oven. It may be leavened or unleavened, and may have a variety of other ingredients baked into it...

 is also traditional in Ireland, especially in Ulster
Ulster
Ulster is one of the four provinces of Ireland, located in the north of the island. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for administrative and judicial...

.

In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, pan bread is known as pain de mie
Pullman loaf
The pullman loaf, sometimes called the "sandwich loaf" or "pan bread," is a type of bread made with white flour and baked in a long, narrow, lidded pan. The French term for this style of loaf is pain de mie...

and is used only for toast
Toast
Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...

 or for making stuffing
Stuffing
In cooking, stuffing or filling is an edible substance or mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item...

; standard bread (in the form of baguette
Baguette
A baguette is "a long thin loaf of French bread" that is commonly made from basic lean dough...

s or thicker breads) has a thick crust and often has large bubbles of air inside. It is often baked three times daily and is sold totally unwrapped for a crisp crust. Some fancy breads contain walnut
Walnut
Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

s or are encrusted with poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

s.

Because of its long history of regional political division, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 specializes in many different kinds of bread, reflecting its great regional variation and widely different breadmaking recipes and traditions. Generally, rolls are typical of the northern regions, while large loaves are typical of the southern regions. Bread often has a small quantity of olive oil, butter, or rendered lard mixed into the dough to make it softer and more palatable. Traditional rustic breads include sfilatino imbottito (a stuffed bread roll) and pizza bianca (a flat white bread). Focaccia
Focaccia
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. It is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same....

is quite popular in Italy and southern France. In Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

, it is known as fougasse or fouace, with the former becoming increasingly common. Fougasse can now be bought all over France. It is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs, and often either topped with cheese or stuffed with meat or vegetables. Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza doughs.

In Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, bread is called pan. The traditional Spanish pan is a long loaf of bread, similar to the French baguette but wider. One can buy it freshly made ​​every morning in the traditional bakeries, where there is a large assortment of bread. A smaller version is known as bocadillo
Bocadillo
The bocadillo or bocata, in Spain and other hispanic countries, is a sandwich made with Spanish bread cut lengthwise, not with sliced bread. Traditionally seen as a humble food, its low cost has allowed it to evolve over time into an iconic piece of the Hispanic cuisine....

, an iconic piece of the Hispanic cuisine. In Spain, especially in the Mediterranean area, there have been guilds of bakers for over 750 years. The bakers guild in Barcelona was founded in 1200 AD. There is a region called Tierra del Pan (literally translated as "Land of the Bread"), located in the province of Zamora
Zamora (province)
Zamora is a Spanish province of western Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.The present-day province of Zamora province was one of three provinces formed from the former Kingdom of León in 1833, when Spain was re-organised into 49 provinces.It is bordered by...

, where economy was in the past joined to this activity.

South America

In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, bread is called pan . Although corn tortillas are the staple bread in most of Mexico, bread rolls in many varieties are an important daily food for city dwellers. Popular breads in Mexico include the bolillo
Bolillo
A bolillo is a type of savory bread traditionally made in Mexico, where it originates. It is a variation of the baguette, and is often baked in an horno de piedra....

 roll and pan dulce. There are many varieties, about 1,000. Pan dulce, which is Spanish for "sweet bread", is primarily eaten at breakfast.

In Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, pan has many variations due to the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. People usually eat pan de piso and pan serrano. There are also some kinds of bread made of potatoes; these are currently popular in the Andes. Bizcochos are sweet bread usually eaten with some butter and hot chocolate
Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar...

. A dough made with cooked pumpkin or squash, often shaped and fried into doughnuts and served with a sweet fruity dipping sauce, is a traditional favorite. Bread is an ingredient of sopas de ajo, gazpacho
Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a cold Spanish/Portuguese tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalucía. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal and parts of Latin America...

, and salmorejo
Salmorejo
Salmorejo is a cream consisting of tomato and bread, originating in Cordova in the south of Spain. It is made from tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and vinegar. Normally, the tomatoes are skinned and then puréed with the other ingredients...

.

North Africa

In Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and western North Africa a round bread which is roughly four inches (10 cm) tall is used to accompany most of the watery cuisine. Also consumed is a thick and chewy fried bread which is smothered in oil beforehand. The rghifa bread is a staple in the food of Morocco and consists of several layers of lightly cooked bread.

In Ethiopia in east North Africa, a bread called injera is made from a grain called teff. This is a wide, flat, circular bread that is also used as a utensil to pick up food. Teff has no gluten.

Asia

The traditional bread in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 is mantou
Mantou
Mantou, often referred to as Chinese steamed bun/bread, is a kind of steamed bun originating in China. They are typically eaten as a staple in northern parts of China where wheat, rather than rice, is grown. They are made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents...

. It is made by steaming or deep-frying dough made from wheat flour. In Northern China and northern central China, mantou is often eaten as an alternative staple to rice. Steamed mantou is similar to Western white bread, but since it is not baked it does not have a brown outer crust. Mantou that have a filling such as meat or vegetables (char siu bao, for example) are called baozi
Baozi
A bāozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau is a type of steamed, filled bun or bread-like item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations...

. The kompyang
Kompyang
Kompyang , also known as kompia, is a biscuit popular in the Malaysian townships of Sitiawan, Sibu, Ayer Tawar, Sarikei and other places where the dominant Chinese community is of Foochow ancestry. Kompyang originates from Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian Province of the People's Republic of China...

 of Fuzhou
Fuzhou
Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province, People's Republic of China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong linguistic and cultural area....

 is an example of a Chinese bread baked in a clay oven.

In South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 (including India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

), roti
Roti
Roti is generally a South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also consumed in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and...

or chapati
Chapati
Chapati or Chapatti or Chapathi is an unleavened flatbread from the Indian subcontinent. Versions of it are found in Turkmenistan and in East African countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania...

, types of unleavened flatbreads usually made from whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat flour is a powdery substance derived by grinding or mashing the wheat's whole grain. It is used in baking but typically added to other "white" flours to provide nutrients , texture, and body to the finished product....

 and baked on a hot iron griddle called a tava, form the mainstay of the people's diet. Rotis and naans are usually served with curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

 throughout the region. A variant called makki di roti uses maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 flour rather than white flour. Another variant is puri
Puri (food)
Puri ,Hindi पूरी , Urdu: بوری, Tamil பூரி , Kannada ಪೂರಿ , Oriya ପୁରି, is an unleavened Indian bread, commonly consumed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal.Puri is most commonly served at breakfast...

, a thin flat bread which is fried rather than baked and puffs up while cooked. Paratha
Paratha
A paratha/parantha/parauntha is an Indian flat-bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta which literally means layers of cooked dough...

is another variation on roti
Roti
Roti is generally a South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also consumed in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and...

. Naan
Naan
Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in South and Central Asia, in Iran, and in South Asian restaurants abroad. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian labour, naan has also become popular in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.Originally, naan is a...

(leavened wholewheat bread) is baked in a tandoor
Tandoor
A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in Azerbaijan, India, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia, as well as Burma and Bangladesh.The heat for a tandoor was...

 or clay oven and is rarely prepared at home. White and brown breads are also very common, but not as common as roti
Roti
Roti is generally a South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also consumed in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and...

.

In the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, pandesal
Pandesal
Pan de sal is a rounded bread made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt. It has become a common food in the Philippines.-Description:...

(or pan de sal; literally, "bread of salt" or "salt bread") is a rounded bread usually eaten by Filipinos during breakfast. The Philippines also produces a cheap generic white bread called Pinoy Tasty.

North America

Traditional breads in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 include cornbreads and various quick breads, such as biscuits. Cornbread is made from cornmeal and can differ significantly in taste and texture from region to region. The South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 generally prefers white cornmeal with little to no wheat flour or sweeteners added. It is traditionally baked in a cast-iron skillet and ideally has a crunchy outside and moist inside. The North
Northern United States
Northern United States, also sometimes the North, may refer to:* A particular grouping of states or regions of the United States of America. The United States Census Bureau divides some of the northernmost United States into the Midwest Region and the Northeast Region...

 usually prefers yellow cornmeal with sometimes as much as half wheat flour in its composition, as well as sugar, honey, or maple syrup. This results in a bread that is softer and sweeter than its southern counterpart. Homemade wheat breads are made in a rectangular tin similar to those in the United Kingdom. Rolls, made from wheat flour and yeast, are another popular and traditional bread, eaten with the dinner meal. Sourdough biscuits are traditional "cowboy food" in the West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

. The San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

 is known for its crusty sourdough
Sourdough
Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. It is one of two principal means of biological leavening in bread baking, along with the use of cultivated forms of yeast . It is of particular importance in baking rye-based breads, where yeast...

. Spoon bread, also called batter bread or egg bread, is made of cornmeal with or without added rice and hominy, and is mixed with milk, eggs, shortening and leavening to such a consistency that it must be served from the baking dish with a spoon. This is chiefly popular in the South. Up until the 20th century (and even later in certain regions), any flour other than cornmeal was considered a luxury; this would explain the greater variety in cornbread types compared to that of wheat breads. Commercially, the most popular bread has been a soft-textured type with a thin crust that is usually made with milk and is slightly sweet; this is the type that is generally sold ready-sliced in packages. It is usually eaten with the crust, but some eaters or preparers may remove the crust due to a personal preference or style of serving, as with finger sandwiches served with afternoon tea. Some of the softest bread, including Wonder Bread
Wonder Bread
Wonder Bread is the name of three North American brands of white bread: One produced by George Weston Bakeries in Canada, another by Hostess Brands in the United States, and the third by Grupo Bimbo in Mexico.- United States :...

, is referred to as "balloon bread". Though white "sandwich bread" is the most popular, Americans are trending towards more artisanal breads. Different regions of the country feature certain ethnic bread varieties including the French baguette
Baguette
A baguette is "a long thin loaf of French bread" that is commonly made from basic lean dough...

, the Ashkenazi Jewish bagel
Bagel
A bagel is a bread product, traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, roughly hand-sized, which is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior...

, scali
Scali bread
Scali Bread is an Italian style of bread made predominantly in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It is a braided loaf that is covered in sesame seeds.A single loaf is called a Scala, and multiple loaves are called Scali....

 (an Italian-style bread made in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

), Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 frybread
Frybread
Frybread is a Native American food found throughout the United States. Frybread is a flat dough fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. The dough is generally leavened by yeast or baking powder....

 (a product of hardship, developed during the Indian resettlements of the 19th century), and Jewish rye, a bread commonly associated with delicatessen
Delicatessen
Delicatessen is a term meaning "delicacies" or "fine foods". The word entered English via German,with the old German spelling , plural of Delikatesse "delicacy", ultimately from Latin delicatus....

 cuisine.

Influence of particular religions

Christian traditional societies (usually in poor communities) used to respect bread since Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 symbolised his body with it. The sign of the cross
Sign of the cross
The Sign of the Cross , or crossing oneself, is a ritual hand motion made by members of many branches of Christianity, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of a trinitarian formula....

 was performed with the knife on the bread's surface, before the loaf was cut. Sometimes it was considered a sin to desecrate bread (e.g., throw it away).

Jews
Jewish cuisine
Jewish Cuisine is a collection of the different cooking traditions of the Jewish people worldwide. It is a diverse cuisine that has evolved over many centuries, shaped by Jewish dietary laws and Jewish Festival and Sabbath traditions...

 have traditionally baked challah
Challah
Challah also khale ,, berches , barkis , bergis , chałka , vánočka , zopf and kitke , is a special braided bread eaten on...

, a type of egg bread with a thin, hard crust and a soft, well-leavened center. It is made by wrapping plaits of dough and then lightly baking them in an oven. Challah is sometimes sweetened using honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 and sometimes includes raisin
Raisin
Raisins are dried grapes. They are produced in many regions of the world. Raisins may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking and brewing...

s. During Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, unleavened bread, in the form of various types of matzo
Matzo
Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

, is required due to the Biblical injunction to avoid any form of leaven during this time of year. There is some debate within the Jewish community as to whether dairy products are allowed in kosher bread; some authorities maintain that bread must be strictly pareve to avoid combining meat and dairy in the same meal, while others feel it is acceptable as long as a sign of some sort (usually a different loaf shape, but others are known) is baked into the loaf to distinguish it from pareve bread.

In Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

 bread and wine are often consumed together during rituals to remind followers that the gods provide everything needed to sustain humanity.

See also

  • Bread clip
    Bread clip
    A bread clip is a device used to hold plastic bags closed. They are also commonly called bread tags, bread tabs, bread ties, bread crimps, bread-bag clips, or bread climps...

  • Culinary arts


Breadmaking ingredients, techniques and tools
  • Baker percentage
    Baker percentage
    Baker's percentage is a baker's notation method indicating the flour-relative proportion of ingredients used when making breads, cakes, muffins, and other pastries. It is also referred to as baker's math, or otherwise contextually indicated by a phrase such as based on flour weight...

  • Baker's yeast
    Baker's yeast
    Baker's yeast is the common name for the strains of yeast commonly used as a leavening agent in baking bread and bakery products, where it converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol...

  • Bread machine
    Bread machine
    A bread making machine or bread maker is a home appliance for baking bread. It consists of a bread pan with a paddle mounted in the center of a small special-purpose oven, with a control panel...

  • Bread pan
    Bread pan
    A bread pan is a kitchen utensil in the form of a container in which bread is baked. Its function is to shape bread while it is rising during baking. The most common shape of the bread pan is the loaf - a convenient form from which usable slices of bread may be cut. The bread pan is made from a...

  • Quick bread
    Quick bread
    Quick bread is an American term used to denote a type of bread which is leavened with leavening agents other than yeast. Quick breads includes many cakes, brownies and cookies, as well as banana bread, beer bread, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, scones, and soda bread.-History::"Quick...

  • Sliced bread
    Sliced bread
    Sliced bread is a loaf of bread which has been pre-sliced and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped." This led to the popular phrase, "the greatest thing since sliced bread".- History :Otto...


Culinary uses
  • Bread Bowl
    Bread bowl
    A bread bowl is a round loaf of bread which has had a large portion of the middle cut out to create an edible bowl. Bread bowls can be used to serve chili, New England-style clam chowder, and other thick stews . Soups with thinner bases are not generally served in bread bowls, as the broth would...

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Breading
    Breading
    Breading is a dry grain-derived food coating for a piece of food such as meat, vegetable, poultry, fish, shellfish, crustacean, seitan, or textured soy, made from breadcrumbs or a breading mixture with seasonings. Breading can also refer to the process of applying a bread-like coating to a food...

  • Croutons
  • Melba toast
    Melba toast
    Melba toast is a very dry, crisp and thinly sliced toast often served with soup and salad or topped with either melted cheese or pâté. It is named after Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell. Its name is thought to date from 1897, when the singer was...

  • Sop
    Sop
    A sop is a piece of bread or toast that is soaked in liquid food and then eaten. In medieval cuisine, sops were very common. Sops were served with wine, soup or broth, and then picked apart into smaller pieces to soak in the liquid. At elaborate feasts, bread was often pre-cut into finger-sized...

  • Stuffing
    Stuffing
    In cooking, stuffing or filling is an edible substance or mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item...

  • Toast
    Toast
    Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...



Types of bread

  • Anadama bread
    Anadama bread
    Anadama bread is a traditional bread of New England made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour.- Origin of name :There are several popular myths about the origin of the name, which mostly take this form:...

  • Beer bread
    Beer bread
    Beer bread is a simple bread based on the idea that both beer and bread have a common creation process: yeast is used to turn sugar into alcohol, which in the case of bread then boils off....

  • Biscuit
    Biscuit
    A biscuit is a baked, edible, and commonly flour-based product. The term is used to apply to two distinctly different products in North America and the Commonwealth Nations....

  • Bread roll
    Bread roll
    A bread roll is a piece of bread, usually small and round and is commonly considered a side dish. Bread rolls are often used in the same way as sandwiches are—cut transversely, with fillings placed between the two halves.-Various forms:...

  • Brioche
    Brioche
    Brioche is a highly enriched French pastry, whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb. It is "light and slightly puffy, more or less fine, according to the proportion of butter and eggs" It has a dark, golden, and flaky crust, frequently accentuated by an egg wash applied...

  • Broa
    Broa
    Broa is a type of cornbread traditionally made in Portugal and Galicia . Unlike the cornbread typical of the southern United States, broa is made from a mixture of cornmeal and wheat or rye flour, and is leavened with yeast rather than baking powder or baking soda.This yeast bread has the...

  • Brown bread
    Brown bread
    Brown bread is a designation often given to breads made with significant amounts of whole grain flour, usually rye or wheat, and sometimes dark-colored ingredients such as molasses or coffee...

  • Bun
    Bun
    A bun is a small, usually sweet, bread. Commonly they are hand-sized or smaller, domed in shape, with a flat bottom. A bun can also be a savory bread roll similar to a bap or barmcake....

  • Bush bread
    Bush bread
    Bush bread, or seedcakes, refers to the bread made by Australian Aborigines for many thousands of years. The bread was high in protein and carbohydrate, and helped form part of a balanced traditional diet....

  • Canadian White
    Canadian White
    Canadian white is a style of bread produced by several bread companies including Pepperidge Farm, and J.J. Nissen. It is heartier than regular white bread, and is of a thicker consistency. J.J. Nissen also offers other Canadian style breads...

  • Cardamom bread
    Cardamom bread
    Cardamom bread is a type of bread flavored with cardamom. Usually baked as a loaf or in a Bundt cake pan, this sweet, aromatic cake is topped with chopped walnuts and vanilla icing, and usually requires about a day's worth of preparation...

  • Challah
    Challah
    Challah also khale ,, berches , barkis , bergis , chałka , vánočka , zopf and kitke , is a special braided bread eaten on...

  • Chapati
    Chapati
    Chapati or Chapatti or Chapathi is an unleavened flatbread from the Indian subcontinent. Versions of it are found in Turkmenistan and in East African countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania...

  • Cornbread
    Cornbread
    Cornbread is a generic name for any number of quick breads containing cornmeal and leavened by baking powder.-History:Native Americans were using ground corn for food thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World...

  • Cottage loaf
    Cottage loaf
    Cottage loaves are a traditional type of bread originating in England.A cottage loaf is characterised by its shape, which is essentially that of two round loaves, one on top of the other, with the upper one being rather smaller: the shape is similar to that of the French brioche and the pain...

  • Damper
    Damper (food)
    Damper is a traditional Australian soda bread prepared by swagmen, drovers, stockmen and other travelers. It consists of a wheat flour based bread, traditionally baked in the coals of a campfire. Damper is an iconic Australian dish...


  • Flatbread
    Flatbread
    A flatbread is a simple bread made with flour, water, and salt and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened: made without yeast or sourdough culture: although some flatbread is made with yeast, such as pita bread....

  • Focaccia
    Focaccia
    Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. It is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same....

  • Indian bread
    Indian bread
    Indian breads are a wide variety of flatbreads and crêpes which are an integral part of Indian cuisine. Their variation reflects the diversity of Indian culture and food habits....

  • Irish soda bread
  • Ka'ak
    Ka'ak
    Ka'ak or Kahqa is the Arabic word for "cake", and can refer to several different types of baked goods produced throughout the Arab world and the Near East.-Bread rings:...

  • Khaboos
  • Lavash
    Lavash
    Lavash is a soft, thin flatbread popular in several countries of the northern parts of the Middle-East and the southern parts of the Caucasus.Traditionally the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven....

  • Mantou
    Mantou
    Mantou, often referred to as Chinese steamed bun/bread, is a kind of steamed bun originating in China. They are typically eaten as a staple in northern parts of China where wheat, rather than rice, is grown. They are made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents...

  • Matzo
    Matzo
    Matzo or matzah is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday, when eating chametz—bread and other food which is made with leavened grain—is forbidden according to Jewish law. Currently, the most ubiquitous type of Matzo is the traditional Ashkenazic...

  • Melonpan
    Melonpan
    , also known as Melon pan, Melon buns or Melon bread, are sweet bakery products from Japan, but also popular in Taiwan and China. They are made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. Their appearance resembles a melon, such as a rock melon...

  • Monkey bread
    Monkey bread
    Monkey bread, also called sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, bubbleloaf and monkey brains is a sticky, gooey pastry served in the United States for breakfast. The origin of the term monkey bread is uncertain...

  • Naan
    Naan
    Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in South and Central Asia, in Iran, and in South Asian restaurants abroad. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian labour, naan has also become popular in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.Originally, naan is a...

  • Pandoro
    Pandoro
    Pandoro is a traditional Italian sweet yeast bread, most popular around Christmas and New Year. Typically a Veronese product, pandoro is traditionally shaped like a frustum with an 8 pointed-star section....

  • Paratha
    Paratha
    A paratha/parantha/parauntha is an Indian flat-bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta which literally means layers of cooked dough...

  • Pita
    Pita
    Pita or pitta is a round pocket bread widely consumed in many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It is prevalent in Greece, the Balkans the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough...


  • Portuguese sweet bread
    Portuguese sweet bread
    Portuguese sweet bread is a bread made with milk, sugar and/or honey to produce a subtly sweet lightly textured loaf...

  • Potato bread
    Potato bread
    Potato bread is a form of bread in which potato replaces a portion of the regular wheat flour. It is cooked in a variety of methods, including by baking it on a hot griddle or pan, or in an oven. It may be leavened or unleavened, and may have a variety of other ingredients baked into it...

  • Proja
    Proja
    Proja is a Serbian dish made of cornbread.It used to be popular in times of widespread poverty, mostly before the 1950's, but is now a common everyday meal...

  • Pumpernickel
    Pumpernickel
    Pumpernickel is a type of very heavy, slightly sweet rye bread traditionally made with coarsely ground rye. It is often made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries. It has been long associated with the Westphalia region of Germany. The first written mention of the black bread of...

  • Puri
    Puri (food)
    Puri ,Hindi पूरी , Urdu: بوری, Tamil பூரி , Kannada ಪೂರಿ , Oriya ପୁରି, is an unleavened Indian bread, commonly consumed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia. It is eaten for breakfast or as a snack or light meal.Puri is most commonly served at breakfast...

  • Rice bread
    Rice bread
    Rice bread is a type of bread that is made from rice flour rather than wheat flour. Being gluten free it can be much more digestible for those with gluten intolerance....

  • Roti
    Roti
    Roti is generally a South Asian bread made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta flour, that originated and is consumed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also consumed in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and...

  • Rye bread
    Rye bread
    Rye bread is a type of bread made with various percentages of flour from rye grain. It can be light or dark in color, depending on the type of flour used and the addition of coloring agents, and is typically denser than bread made from wheat flour...

  • Seed cake
    Seed cake
    Seed cake or bush bread refers to bread made by crushing seeds into a dough after which it is baked . Some seeds need to be heated, hulled and then ground dry, while others can be ground with water. Bush bread was traditionally made by aboriginal Australians...

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  • Texas toast
    Texas toast
    Texas toast is a type of packaged bread which is pre-sliced at double the typical thickness of most pre-sliced breads. While it can be used in the same manner as ordinary bread slices such as in sandwiches, it is especially useful for dishes involving liquids or where extra thickness can improve...

  • Tiger bread
    Tiger bread
    Tiger bread or Dutch crunch is made with sesame oil and with a pattern baked into the top made by painting rice paste onto the surface prior to baking. The paste dries and cracks during the baking process, creating a two-colour effect similar to a tiger's markings, hence the name. The rice paste...

  • Tortilla
    Tortilla
    In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize...

  • White bread
    White bread
    White bread is made from wheat flour from which the bran and the germ have been removed through a process known as milling. Milling gives white flour a longer shelf life by removing the bran which contains oil, allowing products made with it, like white bread, the ability to survive storage and...

  • Whole wheat bread
    Whole wheat bread
    Whole wheat bread is a type of bread that is made using flour which is partly or entirely made from whole or almost whole wheat grains, see whole wheat flour and whole grain. It is one kind of brown bread. Synonyms or near-synonyms for whole wheat bread elsewhere in the world are whole grain bread...

  • Zopf
    Zopf
    Zopf or Züpfe is a type of Swiss bread made from white flour, milk, egg, butter and yeast. The dough is brushed with egg yolk before baking, lending it its golden crust. It is baked in the form of a plait and traditionally eaten on Sunday mornings...



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