Let’s talk about bread. Considered a staple item in many pantries around the world, bread can tell you a lot about a person. For example, if they are eating an unleavened bread called Matzo, they are probably Jewish and it is during a Jewish holiday called Passover. Or perhaps they correct your usage of the term ‘naan’ for flatbread at an Indian restaurant, when you may be eating a similar, but different flatbread called ‘chapati.’
As bread plays an important role in Italian cuisine (like at Pinocchio’s), from the typical Italian breadsticks served with almost every dinner to the elaborate panettone (a sweet bread with candied fruit pieces inside) that is made for special occasions like New Year and Christmas, we love to learn about the variety of bread types from around the world.
Here is just a sampling of bread from around the world, including several types of Italian bread you’ll find at Pinocchio’s:
Chapati is a thin, wheat bread that is unleavened and typically used to wrap around and pick up other pieces of your meal (like chicken or veggies). The main difference between chapati and naan bread is that chapati is unleavened while naan is leavened (meaning it includes the use of yeast).
Ciabatta is known as a classic Italian bread. It is an elongated loaf of white or wheat bread that is flattened slightly, has a harder crust, and a porous texture inside. Did you know that the ciabatta was Italy’s response to the popularity of the French baguette for sandwiches?
Crumpet (United Kingdom)
A crumpet is thick, circular, and spongy. Crumpets are different from English muffins, which also are small and circular, but are much more porous and thinner than a crumpet. Both are delicious when sliced, toasted, and slathered in butter (or your choice of jam).
Known to many people as similar to pizza dough, focaccia bread is a thick yeasted bread rolled out by hand, salted and seasoned with olive oil and herbs, then baked to produce a lush bread. While focaccia bread can be used when making pizza, it also can be used as sandwich bread or simply a meal addition by itself.
Hushpuppy (United States)
Imagine a delicious and savory cornbread with your dinner. Now imagine it balled up and deep fried! This is a hushpuppy: simply a deep fried corn dough ball. Hushpuppies are popular in southern US states and actually originated with Native American cuisine in the area.
Melonpan, also known as melon buns, are sweet buns of enriched flour dough baked with a thin layer of cookie dough on top that crackles over the surface. Popular across Asia, melonpans haven’t gained much attention around the rest of the world, possibly because they are harder to make and can be quite dry in the center than other sweet breads.
Pane Carasau (Italy)
Technically from Sardinia, pane carasau is an incredibly thin, crispy flatbread traditionally baked twice and used by shepherds on long trips away from home.