Monday, 4 October 2010

Naan, rye, wholemeal...

White bread

  • The most common variety
  • Made from wheat flour (extraction rate of 77%) and is made into
  • Versitile with shapes and textures.
  • Other ingredients like cereal or vegetable flours, seeds, herbs or a mixture of these can be added.

Wholemeal bread

  • Made from wholemeal flour (contains all the components of the grain -close to 100% extraction rate)
  • Has become more popular with increasing knowledge of the health benefits of bran and wheat germ. 

Mixed grain bread

  • May be made from any combination of flours (e.g. wholemeal or white flour, rye meal or flour), grains (e.g. kibbled grains, wheat germ, whole grains or wheat and other cereals) and seeds (e.g. sesame seeds).

Kibbled wheat and cracked wheat bread

  • Contains or is rolled in kibbled (cracked) wheat grains.

Fibre-increased white breads

  • Made with the addition of bran or other fibre-containing material.

Rye bread

  • Made from a combination of rye flour and wheat flour.
  • Dark rye bread contains a higher proportion of rye flour and rye meal than light rye and is consequently more dense, heavy and has a stronger flavour.
  • Pumpernickel is a heavy, dark bread made from rye flour, rye meal and kibbled or cracked rye grains.

Sourdough bread

  • Sourdough bread has a slightly sour flavour and denser texture.
  • Sourdough describes the raising agent used.
  • A starter, made from a mixture of flour and water, serves as a medium for growing either commercial yeast that is added to the mixture or the ever-present wild yeast that is captured by the mixture from the air we breathe. (Yoghurt is also sometimes added to provide yeast.) This mixture is allowed to sour through a fermentation process that produces a gas and an acid. It is then used as a starter to leaven other breads; the gas produced by the fermentation is trapped in the elastic gluten structure of the dough, causing it to rise, while the acid imparts the final product with a tart flavour.


  • Traditionally baked in the Australian bush, damper is a chemically leavened white, round bread.
  • Lavash bread
  • A thin, flat bread made from white wheat flour, yeast, salt and water which is oven-baked on a heated metal plate.


  • A Jewish bread where the dough (with yeast) is shaped into a ring and thrown into boiling water before baking. This gives the crust a chewy texture. May be coated with poppy or sesame seeds and can be flavoured, e.g. raisin and cinnamon.

Middle Eastern flat, pocket or pita bread

  • Flat, oval or round wheat bread made from flour, water, yeast and salt.
  • The "pocket" in some breads is made by resting the flattened pieces of dough under dry conditions so that both sides become slightly drier than the centre. During baking at high temperature, the steam produced inside the dough is trapped by the baked, drier outside layers. The pocket can also be stuffed with various fillings. The Turkish version of pita bread is pide.


  • Made in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, naan is a wheat-flour bread leavened with a starter of the sourdough kind and cooked in a clay Tandoor oven.
  • The clay and the smoke in the tandoor combine to produce a characteristic flavour.

Chapatti (chappati)

  • Sometimes called roti, chapatti is served throughout India, Pakistan and also Iran.
  • They are made from finely milled wholewheat flour, called atta.
  • Dough is rolled into thin rounds which are cooked in an iron pan or on a griddle.
  • Made every day in North India where they are used as a plate to hold other food, curved to scoop up food or used for dipping in soups or sauces.

Paratha or parata

  • An Indian flaky bread prepared by smearing the unleavened dough with ghee or oil and then folding the dough. This procedure is repeated three times. The dough is then rolled out and fried in oil or dry cooked on a griddle.

Chinese steamed bread

  • Eaten in most countries of east Asia, Chinese steamed breads are shaped like a ball and have either no filling, a sweet bean paste or a meat filling.
  • Lao bing is a Chinese-style flat bread which is baked in a pan until both sides are golden brown.

Chinese buns and dumplings

  • Buns and dumplings are common in north and South-East Asia.
  • Manju, the generic term for steamed Japanese buns, are either lightly baked or steamed buns prepared by steaming a fermented dough with a pork, curry or sweet bean paste filling.
  • In northern China, mantou is a steamed leavened bread without a filling, eaten as a staple in place of rice.
  • Yit bien or moon cake is a baked bun filled with nuts and seeds popular amongst Chinese populations.
  • Mantou or mantu describes the food category of dumplings in Asia. They resemble ravioli and are stuffed with meat and/or vegetables and beans.

Gluten-free bread

  • Gluten-free bread is usually based on cornflour to which flour from gluten-free grains (such as rice and maize), potato or pulses is added.
  • Denser, more crumbly texture than traditional bread, since the presence of gluten is essential for the typical structure and texture of bread.

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