Bread is believed to be one of the oldest prepared food items. In contrast to East Asia, bread is a staple food in Middle East, North Africa, Europe, America, Australia and Southern America. It is made from wheat-flour dough that is cultured with yeast, and baked in oven. Having said that there are gluten free varieties available as well.
There are wide varieties, types and shapes of breads derived from diverse traditional recipes and preparations. Breads may be served in any meal of the day and can be consumed as snack as well.
More than just a staple food, bread plays a big part in social and emotional significance. It plays roles in religious rituals and secular culture. It appears in proverbs, prayers, and colloquial expression.
Uses of Bread
There are countless uses for bread items – whether you are looking to make a sandwich, make a canapé, add the finishing touch to a barbeque or cloak your salad and grilled meat in the form of a wrap. Bread pretty much has got your back.
More than that bread is a good source of nutrition and carbohydrates that our body needs.
Home Baked Bread – Making Your Own Bread
Making bread in the home may seem like a challenge not to be reckoned with. However it actually is not as difficult as one may think.
In fact the resulting pleasant aroma from the baking bread may very well make it worthwhile working through the challenges.
Firstly, you will need to ensure that you have a “good” oven – one that cooks fairly evenly and is consistent with the heat. You will require a good mixing bowl, sieve, good baking pans or a baking tray and a cooling rack among other items of equipment.
It is only a matter of mixing, kneading, proving and a few other steps and you will be on your way.
You will need a good leavening agent (yeast) I prefer the dry version, a good flour (or a mixture), sugar, salt, water (or milk), oil and flavouring (cheese, seeds, grains, herbs, spices etc). The possibilities are endless.
The bread baking process begins with getting your leavening agent ready, preparing the remaining ingredients. The kneading, the first proving, knocking back, second proving and baking.
There are an abundance of recipes available from various sources.
Popular Types of Bread Available on the Market
It is no wonder that various types of bread have evolved in the different parts of the world. Here are a number of the well-known breads of the world.
Baguette – Originally from France, it is a long thin loaf of bread which is soft in the inside and hard on the outside. Baguette is made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. Baguette is commonly served at breakfast in France and they spread butter and jam and dunked it to bowls of hot chocolate or coffee.
Bagel – Originated from Europe, it is a type of bread that is small and round with a hole in the middle and has a chewy texture. Traditional bagel dough contains wheat flour (without bran), salt, water, and yeast leavening.
Brioche – Originally from France, it has a dark, golden and flaky crust, frequently accentuated by an egg wash. It is commonly served as a component of French dessert. Brioche is eaten with tea or dessert, but can be used in various cuisines like coulibiac and fillet of beef en croute. Brioche dough contains flour, eggs, butter, milk, water, cream, brandy, leavening (yeast or sourdough), salt and sugar.
Ciabatta – Originally from Italy and is made from wheat flour, water, salt, olive oil and yeast. It is elongated, broad and flat.
Tortilla – Originated from Mexico, tortilla is a thin, flat bread rolled or folded and filled with cheese, beans or meat. It is made from maize flour.
There are countless other types of breads available – why not visit your local market, bakery, supermarket or gourmet grocer for inspiration.
At G’Day Chef we use all the above breads in our sandwich catering