Bread is one of the most versatile foods around. You can eat it plain, pair it with your favorite curry, eat it with butter, make sandwiches, the list is endless.
Research shows that bread dates back to 15,000 BC and it was one of humankind’s staple foods. Bread is still one of the most consumed foods, with an average US citizen consuming close to 80 loaves of bread annually.
But did you know there are different types of bread throughout the world? Our comprehensive guide covers the common types of bread found in bakeries and markets around the world.
Table of Contents
Some of the bread types include:
1. Rye Bread
Rye bread involves the combination of rye flour and bread flour. You achieve a tight crumb and a unique rye flavor with this mixture. The amount of rye flour used impacts the bread’s texture and taste.
Deli sandwiches and pastrami, in particular, pair well with the unique rye flavor that is both delicate and sweet.
You’ll notice that there are color variations of rye bread depending on the part of the rye berries used to make the rye flour. It can be dark brown, medium, or light in color.
Some bakers add dill seeds or caraway to the dough to give the rye bead that earthy flavor. At times, you may notice a tart flavor in your rye bread. That happens when sourdough is used.
Rye bread comes as pre-sliced and whole loaves. Additionally, the bread may have more fiber than white bread depending on the amount of rye used. You can tell rye bread from its thick crust and density.
The bread is used as an accompaniment to dishes with robust flavors and in sandwiches.
2. White Bread
White bread is the most common type of bread made from wheat flour with removed bran and germ.
Removing the germ and bran not only eliminates naturally occurring oils from the flour but also lengthens the bread’s shelf life after baking. That’s why white bread is more resistant to rancidity and mold.
Some commercially produced white bread may be fortified with folic acid, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, and other nutrients.
White bread is available in whole loaves or pre-sliced.
You can have white bread with soup, toast it for breakfast, or use it to make a sandwich.
3. Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread is made from wheat flour that has bran and germ. Note that the amount of bran and germ may differ depending on the recipe and baker.
Some people may use artificial colors to make the bread darker and use a small amount of bran. Whole wheat bread tends to be darker the more bran is used.
Unlike white bread, which has a soft texture, whole wheat bread is sturdier and has a chewy texture.
A baguette is a loaf of white bread that is about 34 inches in length.
Although baguette bread is now widely produced around the world, it gets its origin from French cuisine.
The baguette is made from dough that has yeast, wheat flour, salt, and water. Some countries like to include barley, rye, and rice in their dough.
You can easily recognize a baguette from its hard crust and chewy texture. The lengthy bread is also lightweight and it’s neither salty nor sweet.
The bread is widely consumed as part of French cuisine, while some people make grinders or submarine sandwiches with it.
Brioche is another type of enriched yeast bread. Some people like to think of brioche as a combination of pastry and bread as it’s loaded with butter and eggs. It falls in the same category as croissants and Danish pastries.
The sweetbread has a lightweight and fluffy texture. It’s also soft and has a buttery taste. Brioche is versatile and can be eaten for breakfast as French toast or lunch with a curry.
Brioche is recognizable from its thickness and exterior gold yellow color.
Brioche is commonly eaten as dinner rolls and hamburgers.
The sourdough starter involves a combination of flour and water. A starter is used before making the dough into a loaf of sourdough bread to create the basis for the dough.
History shows that sourdough bread originated in Egypt. The bread goes through a fermentation process that creates lactic acid, which gives it a sour flavor. Sourdough bread starters take days to ferment.
Sourdough bread has a soft chewy center and a thick crust. It also has air bubbles and a distinct tangy flavor.
The bread pairs well with stews, salads, and warm soups.
7. Pita Bread
The pita bread has its origins in the Middle East, but it’s now popular all over the world.
The bread is cooked at a high temperature, which causes the dough to rise and have an inner pocket. While some people may think of pita bread as a type of unleavened bread, most bakers use yeast as a leavening agent when baking this bread.
One thing that makes it outstanding is the flat shape, while some have a pocket at the center. You can make sandwiches or use the bread as a wrap-in dish.
Pita bread has a sturdy, but thin crust with a chewy texture. It’s similar to a corn tortilla and naan bread.
You can top the bread with ground beef and fold it over like a sandwich or eat the bread plain. In some countries, pita is used as a scooper for salsa or hummus.
Bagels are a specialty type of bread made from boiling the dough in water for a few minutes. The dough is later baked. That process gives the bagel a chewy, but dense texture.
Bakers may opt to add nuts or fruits in the dough or sprinkle on top before baking.
The bread is believed to have been introduced to the US by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. It’s believed that the Jewish people would let the dough rest for 12 hours during Shabbat as they were not allowed to work.
Bagels have a round shape and come in two parts with a hole in the center. The bread can be made from various flours and may include eggs, yeat, salt, sugar, and yeast.
You can have toasted bagels or eat your bagel with jam or cream cheese.
Multigrain bread is made using several grains that mainly include flax, rye, wheat, barley, and millet. A few bakers may use ground-up pumpkin, sunflower, or flaxseeds for that nutty and chewy taste.
The bread’s history dates to the Egyptian era when bread was baked with a single ingredient.
Unlike other common bread with a soft texture, multigrain bread is more firm and darker. It’s also chewy and dense with a rich flavor.
The bread is an excellent choice if you’re making avocado toast or French toast.
Focaccia has a texture similar to that of pizza dough. The oven-baked flatbread is believed to have come from the historical Romans. It’s thought that they cooked their bread on the hearth to produce a crispy version, unlike the modern focaccia.
The bread has an absorbent and moist interior with a thin crust. Bakers use yeast and olive oil to make it. Some may sprinkle herbs and sea salt to add a unique flavor to the bread.
Focaccia is also versatile as you can add sausage slices, cheese, olives, and anything you’d like on it. It’s mostly consumed with rich pasta sauces and can also be eaten as an appetizer.
Cornbread is a type of sweet bread made using cornmeal, eggs, sugar, and baking soda. It has a crumbly texture, but it’s denser compared to white bread.
Although cornbread is believed to originate from North American native tribes, the bread is now popular in Southern, Native American, and Southwestern cuisine.
You can choose to serve cornbread for breakfast with honey or have it as a dessert with powdered sugar.
12. Potato Bread
Potato bread is made using potato flour, but some people use mashed potatoes to replace a specific wheat flour quantity. The bread tends to be chewier and denser the more potato is used. It also has a thick crust.
The bread is popular in the US, some parts of South America, the UK, and parts of Central Europe.
You may notice that commercially produced potato bread is similar to white bread. That’s because they use more wheat flour, which makes the bread lighter and less dense.
Ciabatta is a popular Italian bread made from yeast, wheat flour, salt, and water. You’ll notice that the crust and texture vary depending on where you eat this bread. Nonetheless, the ingredients are similar.
The bread has a soft interior and a chewy crust. It’s often used for sandwiches and in making paninis.
14. Soda Bread
Soda bread is an Irish bread made from flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. It gets its name from the baking soda that’s used in place of yeast.
Lactic acid is formed when baking soda and buttermilk combine. That gives the soda bread a sour taste. A few recipes include eggs, raisins, and other ingredients to modify the bread’s taste.
It’s believed that the indigenous people of North America popularized soda bread recipes. Soda bread has a mild flavor with a thick crust. It has a similar texture and flavor to a biscuit.
You can pair your soda bread with peanut butter, jam, or any other topping.
Challah is a type of plaited bread that Jewish travelers ate when they were exiled from Egypt. The bread is still a favorite on the sabbath and on most Jewish holidays.
The bread gets its crunchy texture from sesame seeds and some people add raisins for that slightly sweet taste. Challah is brushed with an egg wash before it’s baked. You can also sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on it.
Breadsticks are a common type of Italian pencil-thin dry bread.
Most Italian meals have breadsticks with varying textures. Some are crunchy and thin, while others are dense and soft.
You can pair your breadsticks with a marinara sauce. Breadsticks can also act as a dessert dish when garnished with icing, sugar, and cinnamon.
Pretzels feature a knot shape and different variations. You may find some pretzels that are chew, soft, or with hardback. They are also available in various sizes and feature different toppings like chocolate, nuts, or cinnamon.
The bread is made from yeast, flour, salt, malt, and water. Pretzel dough is then shaped into a knot before being baked.
Pretzels are available in both savory and sweet versions. They also vary in texture, some may be soft, while others are chewy.
Pumpernickel originated in Germany. It’s made from ground rye grains, which gives the bread a slightly sweet taste and a dense texture. Pumpernickel has a robust flavor as it has the qualities of rye bread and sourdough bread.
The bread goes through a long baking process, which gives it a brown color.
Most Americans have created a variation of this bread by adding molasses or coffee to the dough. That makes it darker.
Pumpernickel bread pairs well with ham and mustard. You can also choose to enjoy it with chopped tomato, cream cheese, and onion.
Naan has a slightly chewy texture, but it’s also soft. The bread is famous in most Asian cuisines, but it’s also available in most supermarkets and farmers’ markets. Although naan is mostly circular, different baking processes have led to a variety of shapes.
Traditionally, naan was baked in a tandoor oven, but modern bakers use a cast-iron skillet to cook it on the stove. Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven.
Countries like Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka eat naan as a staple.
Naan bread has other variants like herbal-flavored naan, whole-wheat naan, naan with sesame seeds, and more.
Naan uses yogurt as part of its ingredients, which adds that rich flavor. The bread can include toppings like garlic, dried fruit, and minced meat.
You can also serve naan by cutting it into pieces and dipping it in salsas, sauces, curries, or hummus.
20. No-Knead Bread
The no-knead bread uses a little amount of yeast. The dough is left to rise for an extended period to form gluten. It’s more like a combination of sourdough and yeast bread.
Unlike the traditional process of kneading to form gluten strands, no-knead bread uses a long fermentation process to form gluten. It’s more of a wet dough with low yeast content. The long rising time gives the bread a crumbly texture.
No-knead bread is then baked in a pot that’s pre-heated in an oven until the crust is brown.
21. Rice Bread
Rice bread is made using white or brown rice flour. Sometimes wheat flour may be combined with rice flour to give the bread a lighter texture.
The bread is an excellent alternative for anyone looking for gluten-free bread.
Tortillas are made from corn flour, salt, and water. You can also use wheat flour in place of cornflour.
The flat, unleavened bread dates back to South American natives who used to consume the bread as a staple. It’s common to now find tortillas in most South American countries, Western Europe, Canada, and the US.
After the dough has formed, it’s rolled into a circular shape and cooked between 20-40 seconds on a skillet. While you can enjoy tortilla with your favorite stuffing, you can also cut it into small pieces and bake or fry it to form tortilla chips.
Tortillas are also a famous option for making fajitas, burritos, and tacos in North America.
23. Damper Bread
Damper bread is often cooked in a camp oven or over open campfires. The bread is made from flour, salt, water, and milk. A few people add baking soda to leaven it.
The famous Australian flatbread is often paired with stew or meat.
24. Banana Bread
Banana bread is a moist and dense type of treat that tastes more like cake.
Unlike other bread that uses yeast, banana bread uses baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent. The bread also uses ripe mashed bananas. That sweet taste replaces sugar in most recipes.
Ingredients like baking soda, flour, eggs, and vegetable oil are added. You can also play around with chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins.
Banana bread pairs well with a cup of coffee for breakfast. You can also have it as a snack during the day.
25. Yufka Bread
Yufka bread is a thin unleavened bread with a round shape. It’s originally from Turkey and shares some similarities to lavash bread.
The bread is made from wheat flour, water, and salt. You can also add vegetable oil to the dough. Yufka bread pairs well with vegetables, meats, and cheese.
26. Zopf Bread
Zopf bread resembles a large braid and it’s common in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
The bread is made with white flour, eggs, butter, milk, and yeast. Its rich, buttery taste makes it excellent for breakfast.
27. Lavash Bread
Lavash bread is another popular Turkey bread made with flour, salt, and water. The thin flatbread is baked in an oven. You can also opt to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for added flavor.
Although most lavash bread is unleavened, some are leavened by setting aside a batch of dough to rise. The dough is rolled into a thin sheet and stretched thin. It’s then sprinkled with water. Lavash dough is then thrown into the oven and it cooks within seconds.
Lavash is often consumed fresh, but some are left to dry for later use in countries like Iran and Armenia.
Biscuits consist of a browned crust and a fluffy interior. These round breads are tiny and are made using wheat flour, buttermilk, and baking powder.
You can apply butter to your biscuit and have it for breakfast. Some people also have biscuits with curries and sauces.
Injera is a popular Ethiopian flatbread risen with sourdough. It’s served as part of a platter for an Ethiopian meal.
It has a chewy texture and is often used to scoop sauces, curries, and other ingredients.
Frybread is a historical North American staple food. It’s made from white flour, yeast or baking powder, water, and salt. The batter is later deep fried in oil to create a savory or sweet treat.
The bread can also be used to make tacos.
Arepa is originally from Columbia.
The bread is made from precooked corn flour or ground corn dough. Arepa is common in other places like Puerto Rico, Panama, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic. The Dominicans consume arepa at any time of the day.
Arepa has a browned crust that is crispy. The disks are stuffed with cheese, beans, avocado, onions, shredded beef, and a lot more.
Venezuelans like to pair arepa with hot chocolate or a cup of coffee.
32. Moroccan Bread
Msemen or Moroccan bread is a traditional bread that is made from semolina flour, salt, sugar, warm water, and yeast. The dough is kneaded until smooth before it’s fried or cooked on a griddle.
A unique aspect of Moroccan bread is its chewy interior and crispy exterior.
Moroccans like to pair Msemen with tea or coffee. Bakers also stuff the bread with meats like chicken, lamb, and fish.
Puri is a popular Indian bread often served fried. The unleavened bread is made from wheat flour, and water. Cumin seeds can also be added to the dough.
Unlike naan bread that’s eaten as a staple, puri is mostly served during special occasions and festivities. Puri can be served while stuffed with vegetables or served with dips.
34. Fruit/Nut Bread
Fruit or nut bread is any bread that included fruits or nuts before baking. These types of bread can be made using any type of dough, although most people prefer rye and wheat mixtures.
The fruit is often mashed or chopped, while softer nuts like cashews and walnuts can be mixed directly into the dough and baked.
Thought to be a specialty bread, fruit and nut breads are often eaten as a dessert bread.
Roti is another Indian delicacy that can be cooked on a griddle or flame-roasted. The flatbread is made with durum wheat and the dough is rolled out on a flat surface.
Placing it on a griddle gives the bread an extra crispy texture.
Roti is made with whole wheat flour and water. Some may also add butter before cooking to add flavor. Most cultures and cuisines serve roti bread with spices.
36. Cottage Loaf
Cottage loaf dates back to early England. The bread features two round loaves that are stuck on top of one another. It’s believed that stacking the loaves helped to save floor space.
You can pair cottage loaf with a bowl of soup or eat it with cheese or butter.
Broa is a popular bread in Brazil and Portugal. The bread is a combination of rye bread and cornbread.
The dense, moist, and chewy bread is made by mixing rye and cornmeal. Some people may find the bread heavy on the stomach due to this combination.
38. Vanocka Bread
Vanocka bread is a sweet European bread made for special occasions. Countries like Slovakia and the Czech Republic serve this bread around Christmas time.
The bread is sprinkled with dried fruit, raisins, or topped with sugar for extra sweetness.
39. Matzo Bread
Matzo bread is a Jewish delicacy that is common during the Passover festival. The crispy flatbread is made from water and wheat flour. Some people may use other types of flour like barley, rye, oat, or spelt.
Although plain matzo is preferred during the Passover festival, the Jewish people are free to eat matzo that has seeds, garlic, onion, or any preferred ingredient.
A common type of matzo looks like crackers, while the soft matzo resembles tortillas.
Similar to Vanocka bread, panettone bread is reserved for Christmas. The stuffed sweet bread can contain raisins, chocolate chips, and candied orange.
In Italy, panettone is believed to be a gesture of good wishes and kindness.
41. Sprouted Bread
Sprouted bread is made from grains that are moistened until they’ve begun to germinate or sprout. The bread is mostly found in the sliced-bread section of supermarkets.
Unlike white bread, sprouted bread is rich in fiber and has a heavier texture.
Biale is closely related to bagels. However, biales don’t have a hole at the center, although they are disk-shaped.
The bread is made by filling a center part with oil, chopped onions, and poppy seeds.
Rolls can be made from different flours and are baked like a loaf of bread.
It’s said that if your dough can make a full-size bread, you can use a smaller quantity to make a roll. Rolls are available in different sizes and shapes.
You can have rolls alone, as a side dish or accompaniment, or use them to make a sandwich. Most stores stock precut roll dough that you can bake into rolls at home.
Pancakes are a type of lightly leavened bread. You can make pancakes from different types of flour and the mixture also includes milk, butter, and eggs.
Pancakes are cooked on a griddle or they can be cooked in a skillet. You can have pancakes for breakfast and top it with syrup, butter, or a combination of fruit.
Qisibiti bread is a common Russian bread that’s enhanced with different types of meat, millet, and mashed potatoes.
The filling can be placed in the bread’s interior or added to a single side and covered with the other side to form a roll.
Croutons are a type of bread that is rebaked. You can use any type of bread to make croutons.
You can pair your croutons with a Caesar salad.
The Swedish crispbread resembles a round disc or a flat loaf. It’s also known as knackebrod.
Made from rye, the crispy bread has plenty of fiber, which makes it healthier than white bread. You can enjoy your crispbread with hummus, guacamole, or cream cheese. As crackers, it also pairs well with smoked meats.
Dosa is a type of fermented bread variety from Southern India.
While there are different variants of dosa, the most common has lentils added and a rice base. Both the lentils and rice are soaked overnight separately and ground into a paste. They are allowed to ferment before being used in the process.
The fermented batter is cooked on a griddle to form an airy, thin flatbread.
49. Noon Barbari
Noon barbari is a yeasted Persian flatbread that is brushed with nigella seeds or sesame seeds. The addition of baking soda gives the bread a brown color with a soft crumb. It’s similar to the focaccia.
Fougasse is a sweetened flatbread common in France. The bread has been in existence since Roman times when it was used to check the oven’s temperature. It’s closely related to focaccia.
One distinctive characteristic of this bread is its wheat grain shape that forms a leafy outline. You can find variations of the Fougasse bread in the supermarket. Fougasse can also include savory ingredients like garlic, olives, cheese, and anchovies.
The bread makes nice sandwiches and can also be paired with different dishes.
Whether you like pairing your bread with pumpkin soup, munching on it with some butter, or having it plain with your coffee, bread is the most versatile food you can have.
Apart from its flavor and texture, bread can be made in several ways to make it different. Hopefully, you now understand the different types of bread and the varying ingredients used to make them.