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10 Different Types of Bread that are Most Popular in the World

Bread is an incredibly popular and versatile food. There are many different types of bread and this list of different types of bread covers the top 10 most popular bread types in the world. Nearly all of us eat bread on a regular basis. Whether it’s a slice of toast for breakfast, a hot sandwich such as a burger in a seeded roll or sausages in white sliced bread, or a cold sandwich such as salad, ham or the classic CLUB sandwich. We tend to take bread for-granted as it’s just so common, but where would we be without it?

It is thought that mankind has been baking bread for over 30,000 years. That’s a lot of history!

1 White Bread At the top of our list of bread types is white bread. It’s certainly one of the most common types of bread, being used for sandwiches, toast and bread pudding. White bread has not been thought of as one of the healthiest types of bread, in fact, the consumption of white bread has been linked to obesity. However, in recent years studies have begun to show that white bread is actually no more unhealthy than wholegrain bread.

White bread is widely available and doesn’t have a strong flavour, making it one of the best types of bread for sandwiches as it allows the flavour of your sandwich filling to shine through. This makes it well suited to go with delicate flavours such as egg or prawn. White bread also works well alongside a meal as a side dish, and of course, bacon butties and chip butties are pretty amazing in white bread too!

White bread is fairly easy to make at home, especially if you have a bread making machine. There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread filling your home is there? Do eat your white bread in moderation though as it is high in calories and there have also been links found between the consumption of white bread and depression, so as with anything else that isn’t incredibly good for you, have it once in a while rather than for every meal.
2 Baguette Coming in at number two on our list is the classic baguette. Of all the different types of bread, this is the one that is perhaps most iconic. There’s something particularly satisfying about the crunchiness of the outside of a baguette, and the soft fluffy insides that almost melts in the mouth. Being quite solid in texture, baguettes work well with soup as they don’t turn mushy when you dip them into liquid. A baguette also looks delicate when thinly sliced into rounds, so it’s a great bread for making canapés out of.

Of all the types of sandwich bread, baguettes are perhaps the most filling, so they’re good if you’re feeling particularly hungry, or to take out with you for a picnic lunch if you’re on a long walk.

The name of this bread, baguette, means wand, stick or baton in French and so of course this refers to the shape of this loaf. No one quite knows why the baguette is the shape it is, but one story is rather interesting. Some people believe that Napoleon Bonaparte insisted that all bread baked for his soldiers should be the correct shape to fit into the pocket of the soldier’s uniform. It’s an interesting theory, and could be true, but whether it is or not, it’s a nice story!
3 Wholegrain Bread Wholegrain bread is one of the healthiest types of bread as it contains whole grains, which are well known for being packed full of nutrients and high in fibre. Wholegrain bread is made in the same way as white bread, but using wholegrain flour. A good wholegrain bread will contain a minimum of 3 grams of fibre in each slice. Many of us don’t get enough fibre in our diets, so eating wholegrain bread is an easy way to increase our fibre intake. It’s so important to get plenty of fibre in your daily diet as it really helps to keep your digestive system working well and can prevent some serious illnesses.

Do read the labels carefully when choosing your wholegrain bread, as some breads that look brown are actually predominantly wheat flour and not wholegrain flour. You may think you’re buying one of the healthiest types of bread, but in fact you are not. Look for the words ‘whole grain’ on the label, and look at the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so this can give you a good idea of just what is in your bread. Of course, to really ensure you are getting the very best bread, packed full of goodness with no artificial additives, the best thing to do is to make your own. Baking bread can be a lot of fun and it tastes wonderful straight from the oven, when it’s still warm.
4 Ciabatta Ciabatta is another very popular type of bread and this one hails from Italy. It’s made from wheat flour, yeast, water and salt and was invented in Verona in 1982. It was created specifically for sandwiches, as Italian bakers were concerned about the increase in imported baguettes from France, it wasn’t good for business, so the ciabatta is the Italian take on the French baguette. When ciabatta is used to make a toasted sandwich, it is known as a panini. There are many types of crusty bread, but other than the baguette, the ciabatta is the most popular. It has a light texture, often characterised by large air bubbles in the fluffy centre of the loaf. However, there are some regions of Italy, such as Tuscany and Umbria, where you’ll find ciabatta with a denser texture.

Now here’s an interesting fact. The name ‘ciabatta’ comes from the shape of the loaf. Ciabatta means slipper in Italian, and Cavallari, the owner of Molini Adriesi, the company who first provided the flour to create the ciabatta, thought that the new loaf shape resembled the slippers worn by his wife Andreina.

There are several different types of bread that come under the name of ciabatta. There is a wholemeal version known as ciabatta integrale, and also a ciabatta with added milk which is called ciabatta al latte.
5 Focaccia This is another Italian bread on our list of bread types. Focaccia is pretty special. It’s less often used as a sandwich bread, but more often served as an accompaniment to a main meal. Focaccia perhaps has more in common with the base of a pizza than most common types of bread. It is made with flour that is high in gluten, and it also contains a lot of oil, giving it a unique texture. It’s an oven baked bread and has a particular shape due to dents being made in the surface of the bread. This is to create small wells to hold the oil and keep the bread extra moist. Rosemary is quite often added, making focaccia virtually a meal in itself. This type of focaccia is often served up as an appetiser or a snack. Being high in oil content, focaccia matches well with olives, so these also make a good topping. If you make your own focaccia, you can be experimental with the toppings, you can think of it almost like a pizza. Of all the different types of bread, focaccia is one of the most luxurious and makes a great treat to serve up at a dinner party.
6 Sourdough Bread Sourdough bread is made with a special type of dough containing lactobacilli alongside yeast. It’s a fermented dough and it takes the name from the slightly sour flavour you get with this type of bread. It lasts longer than other breads before spoiling, so it’s a good one to make or buy in bulk. The sourdough technique of baking is ancient and predates yeast methods by many thousands of years.

Sourdough bread is wonderful toasted. It’s the tangy flavour that makes it particularly tasty when spread with butter. It’s no wonder sourdough bread is becoming very popular. When once there were very few different types of bread available in the stores, speciality bread has soared in popularity and so all types of bread are now much more readily available and sourdough is certainly one of the best types of bread on sale. You’ll even find gluten-free sourdough bread in the shops, which is great news for anyone who has an intolerance to gluten.
7 Pumpernickel Bread Pumpernickel bread is actually one of the healthiest types of bread you can eat. It’s usually made with a sourdough starter, to which is added coarse rye flour. This makes it high in fibre and also results in a bread that has a low glycemic index making it lower in carbs than most other common types of bread. It’s packed full of resistant starch so it’s brilliant for keeping your digestive system in good condition and it’s also been shown to help reduce your risks of getting breast and prostate cancers.

Being a bread that is naturally strong in flavour, pumpernickel works best with strong flavoured fillings when made into a sandwich such as a good mature cheese or smoked ham with mustard. Pumpernickel was traditionally a peasant bread, but these days you’ll find it in the finest delicatessens. Originally from Germany, pumpernickel bread can be dated right back to 1450.
8 Rye Bread Another of the healthiest types of bread is rye bread. This also has a low glycemic index and so won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Rye, especially dark rye is very high in fibre. If you suffer from constipation, rye bread is a good choice for you and can really help to alleviate the symptoms of this unpleasant condition. Rye bread also has some other added health benefits. It’s high in vitamin B and it contains decent amounts of both iron and magnesium. The gluten content of rye bread is lower than in many others on our list of bread types and so if you have a mild sensitivity to gluten, you may find you can tolerate rye much better than other common types of bread.

Rye bread is quite dense, and it’s very filling. If you make a traditional sandwich out of it, you might find it too dry, but rye bread is very well suited to an open sandwich, that is just one single slice with your filling on the top. With a higher ratio of filling to bread, rye works very well, and of course, if you’re dieting, less bread and more of a low calories topping such as salad or chicken, is wise choice.
9 Pita Bread Pita bread is a flat bread made from flour, water, yeast and salt. It’s normally made from wheat flour and you’ll find both white and wholemeal varieties available in the stores. The word pita means ‘flat’ in Greek and that’s a reference to the flat shape of this bread. It’s baked at a very high temperature, usually around 450C and it is this hot, fast cooking that causes the dough to grow rapidly and create a large air bubble in the middle. You’ll have probably noticed that you can easily slice open pita bread, which is handy for inserting your fillings, but they are not specially created this way, it is simply the air bubble in the middle that has made them like this.

Pita bread does make a good sandwich, or you can add tomato purée and grated cheese to make your own low calorie pizza alternatives. These are fun and easy to make so kids really enjoy this. Just pop them under the grill, or for a softer gooier version, microwave them for a few seconds. Of course pita is one of the best types of bread to use for a kebab as the meat and salad sit nicely inside the pocket made by the air bubble in the centre. Pita is also a good bread for dipping, whether into a tub of dip, or into a sauce based dish such as a curry.
10 Naan Bread If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, it’s likely you’ll have enjoyed a naan bread with your Indian meal. Naan bread is a large flat, slightly leavened bread and there are many different varieties. It’s lovely just simply on its own, but everyone has their favourite. Garlic naan adds another dimension to the rather plain bread. Peshwari naan is a sweet version made with sultanas and almonds. You can also try keema naan made with minced meat. Naan bread really is the perfect accompaniment to a curry. It’s lovely to dip it in and scoop up that excess sauce.

Naan breads are often quite large. This can cause a problem in a restaurant as they just take up so much room on the table! So often your naan will be served vertically, hanging from a ‘naan tree’. A device with a hook on it that stands upright on the table, freeing up space for your other dishes.


The History of Bread

Bread has been with us throughout history. Our ancestors were eating bread thousands of years ago. There has been evidence found of bread making dating back 8,000 years, to the Stone Age. The Ancient Egyptians certainly baked bread, and you can even see images of bread loaves in some Ancient Egyptian carvings dating back 5000 years. The Ancient Egyptians also had many hieroglyphs that related to bread so it was certainly important to them, as it is to us today.

Before the Ancient Egyptians, all the bread was unleavened, that is, it was made without yeast, and so was a flat bread, like the pita bread and naan bread. It was the Egyptians that discovered you could add yeast to bread to make it rise.

The Romans loved bread, and it’s thanks to them that it spread rapidly all over the world. Wherever they conquered, they also brought bread! The Romans, and also the Greeks really took bread to their hearts and would make some wild and wonderful types of bread. They were particularly keen on bread with sweet ingredients such as spiced fruits and honey. Even in these Ancient times there were bakeries. The people of a town would make their dough at home, then take it to a central bakery to be baked, returning later to pick up their cooked loaf.

How Bread is Made

The process of making bread hasn’t really changed all that much since ancient times. Bread is primarily made from just four simple ingredients. Flour, water, yeast and salt. These ingredients are mixed together and the dough is left to prove. This means that it is left so the yeast can do its work, it causes gases to be released, and so the air makes the bread rise.

The dough is then kneaded, and put into tins ready for baking. Usually a second proving period will be added in here before the dough is put into the oven for baking. Once cooked, the tins will be left to cool before being removed ready to eat.

The Benefits of Bread

Bread is so versatile - If you’ve got a loaf of bread, you can make so many different meals. You can fry it with your cooked breakfast, you can make a hot or cold sandwich, you can make a bread pudding from it, and if it goes stale, don’t throw it away, you can use it to make bread crumbs instead. Perfect for coating fish cakes or potato croquettes.

Bread is incredibly convenient – Bread is just so handy! Sandwiches are so quick and easy to make, and they’re easy to carry with you so they’re perfect for a packed lunch at work or school, or to take on a picnic. You’ll also find bread available just about everywhere, you certainly won’t have to make a special trip to a specialist shop just to find a loaf of bread.

Bread is really cheap to buy – If you’re shopping on a budget, you can’t get much cheaper than a loaf of bread. It’s also pretty filling, so it’s great value for money that way too. A slice of toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and beans on toast for your evening meal. That might be a bit too much bread, but it would certainly be a cheap day if you’re feeling the pinch!

It’s low in fat – If you’re on a low fat diet, then you’ll be pleased to know that bread is actually low in fat.

It’s a good source of fibre – Fibre is vital to keep our digestive systems in good working order and bread is a great source of fibre.

It’s high in iron – Many of us don’t get enough iron in our diets. This can be particularly problematic for women. Often people aren’t keen on those foods that are high in iron, such as spinach and liver, and so don’t eat them frequently enough. For anyone who is low on iron, eating bread can certainly be of benefit because many types of bread contain quite a bit of iron.

It contains folate – Folate is very beneficial for ensuring your body creates red blood cells and folate is a substance that is naturally occurring in wheat, hence, anything you make from wheat, such as bread, also contains folate.

It’s a good source of calcium – When we think of calcium, we tend to automatically think of dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, however you may be surprised to hear that one slice of bread gives you around 10% of your daily requirements of calcium. While this may be less than you’d get from dairy products, it’s good news for vegans who don’t eat dairy and who are often lacking in calcium in their diet. Calcium is vital for keeping your bones, teeth and nails healthy and it’s even more important for children whose skeletons are still growing.

The Disadvantages of Eating Bread

It can raise your blood sugar levels – Most common types of bread have a high glycemic index and so your body absorbs the carbs at a faster rate, causing your blood sugar levels to rise quickly. This means that eating a lot of bread could lead to heart disease, kidney stones and diabetes.

It can leave you feeling lethargic – Bread doesn’t usually contain any vitamin B and so it’s pretty hard to get any energy out of bread. This can make you feel tired and lethargic.

It can lead to obesity – Perhaps the most worrying thing about eating bread is that it is quite high in calories and the carbs in bread are quickly turned into sugar instead of being used as energy. Research has shown that there is a strong link between a high intake of white bread and obesity.

Bread can cause an increase in mucus – Bread does increase the amount of mucus our bodies make, this can lead to feelings of congestion as well as lung problems and issues with the nasal cavities. This is particularly common in older people.

Bread is low in essential nutrients – There is very little in the way of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients in bread. So if you’re eating a diet that is high in bread, you may become deficient in some important nutrients. It’s always important to eat a balanced diet to make sure you are getting the full range of nutrients your body needs.