We went through some real good surveys last week and found that bread was amongst the top five items that people have in their daily lives. Be it breakfast, lunch, brunch, supper or dinner; bread can be used in one or the other form. And when we tried picking up the best bread, we could come up with none. There are hundreds of species of bread and to pick one is impossible. Each country has its own varied specialty. So we picked up five most eaten and must try breads of the world. These breads are best with their accompaniments and drinks. Let’s see what consists in the bread basket.
Italian Focaccia: Italy’s most ancient bread, Focaccia is a flatbread with herbs on top. In the modern world, this bread has come up with many twists. This bread is available with stuffing, with vegetables on top, with herbs on top, flavored and more. The bread can be eaten with a quick sauté of veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, olives and mushrooms. In a pan pour some olive oil or butter and add all the veggies (sliced). Sprinkle black pepper and cayenne powder. Sauté for five minutes. Eat it with balsamic sauce.
Middle Eastern Pita: Pita Bread is not an unfamiliar name. They say it originated in Middle East and is widely eaten all over the world. It’s round bread with pocket. You can put all your favorite items in that pocket and create your own pita bake. A typical traditional Pita bread basket would hold hummus, eggs, cheese, veggies, falafel or kebab. Fresh mayonnaise spread is used inside the pita bread, purple lettuce, green lettuce, falafel rounds and cheese is placed in the bread. This is eaten with hummus which is again a middle eastern dip made of kidney bean mash.
Indian Flatbread: Indian flatbreads come with an array of options. Roti, poori, naan and tandoor are some of the items used in everyday food. Roti is a plain flatbread made from wheat flour and eaten with vegetable or meat gravy. Then there is poori which is small loaf of wheat rice deep fried in oil and eaten with milk desserts and vegetable gravies. Similarly naan and tandoor are eaten with gravies too but they are cooked in a special charcoal based oven. The Indian parathas are flatbreads stuffed with mashed potatoes or cabbage with spices and salt.
Egyptian Sourdough: Sourdough bread can take 4 or more days to ferment. On the 4th day when the loaf is really yeasty, soft, fluffy and airy, the sourdough bread is ready to bake. Sourdough bread is accompanied by cooked meat, smoked salmon or pates. Cheese, olives and wine are the best pairings for rye sourdough bread.
French Bread: This bread can take up to 3 hours to bake. You can also bake a stuffed French bread. Mostly consumed with soups and consommés, French bread comes in many shapes and sizes. The one that we have with soups is called French stick. A regular French bread can be had with salad, egg quiche, butter and cheese. You can cut the bread into half, make a layer of salad on one piece, sprinkle cheese and cover with other half. Toast it and have with coffee.
Anthony Picasse attended culinary school in Paris and devotes his time cooking at their family owned restaurant. He likes trying out new recipes and shares cooking tips to those who ask. At home he usually sticks to simple recipes he can quickly whip up after a long day at work.