Baking,  Breads,  Culinary History,  Food History,  History,  Recipes

Variations on a Theme – Special Breads

Once mankind found out the best way to make your standard loaf of bread, they began to experiment with variations on the theme. Adding more butter, letting the dough ferment, including a water bath as the bread baked – all of these are different ways to make some of our favorite breads. Special breads for holidays arose, different cultures came up with their own signature breads and bread became an art form and a profession. 

Here’s a little history on some of the most popular special breads that we have all enjoyed!

Croissants: This rich, delicious, butter filled bread was originally inspired by an Austrian bread. The word “croissant” means “cresent” in French. It’s typically looked upon as a breakfast pastry. Croissants are made with what is called a “laminating” dough technique. This means layers of butter are folded into the pastry or bread dough and then chilled to incorporate all the butter. This is done several times and is what gives the croissant its flaky layers. 

French Bread: This type of bread finds its roots in the country of France. Bread has always been very important and an art form to the French people. French bread is made with very few ingredients to create the thick-crusted cylindrical loaves of bread we are familiar with. The baguette is a classic example of this type of bread. And in case you were wondering, National French Bread day falls every year on March 21. But it’s not too late to enjoy! 🙂

Bagels: The first bagels, or something like them, could be found in Germany and Poland as early as the Middle Ages. But the bagel as we know it is a purely American invention. Developed in New York City by immigrant Jews, the bagel became a stand by in kosher delis and bakeries. Bagels are unique in the way that they are prepared in that you boil the dough first before baking it. This creates a distinct soft and chewy bread.

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