Tuesday, February 18, 2014



Sometimes I struggle for a blog idea. Today's idea came when I walked out of the study into the kitchen to find Michael making bread. He makes fabulous breads. It gave me an idea, why not do a blog on breads.

Thinking about the variety of breads and doing a bit of research, I found what seemed like endless types of breads, and I would like to share a few with you.

Being Italian, one of my favorite types of bread is Ciabatta, which means slipper. The loaves are shaped to resemble a lady's slipper. It is crusty and with wonderful airy interior.

Focaccia, another Italian fare was in all likelihoods enjoyed by my dad. Prior to Dad's enlistment in the army, he had never heard of pizza. Focaccia was usually a round dimpled bread often topped with herbs and sometimes tomato slices. The bread was made using a high gluten flour. This was my dad's version of Pizza.

Pizza; might as well cover this delicacy that so many of us enjoy. The pizza was originated in Naples, Italy. It was a flat round bread topped generally with tomato sauce and cheese. Today's pizzas seem to have an endless array of toppings.

Matzo is known by many, and is the bread generally served during the Passover celebration. It is an unleavened bread made simply from flour and cold water. This is a bread of memory and tradition recalling the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.

Still another favorite is Naan or Nan bread. There are several variations of this bread. I am partial to the Nan that utilizes milk. This makes a softer dough. This foodstuff is eaten in south and central Asia, as well as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I would love to make this bread, but it is traditionally done in a tandoor oven. This type of oven is a cylindrical shape vessel usually heated by charcoal or wood fire. Temperatures of this oven style reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit and the bread is definitely something to savor.

Lagana is a Greek provision reserved for “Clean Monday”, the first Monday of lent. This azymes style bread (Jewish matzah-unleavened bread) became one of the factors in the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Catholic church.

The South Africans have a bread known as Potbrood, made by the Boer people. Boer means farmer in both the Dutch and Afrikkan languages. This style is made in a cast-iron pot, something we would today identify as a Dutch Oven. The pot is placed in a pit surrounded by hot coals.

Still another choice is Borodinsky a Russian sourdough rye bread; often with molasses added for sweetness. A legend behind this morsel goes back to the Napolonic Wars. Nuns developed the recipe to produce a dark bread served for solemn occasions. However, the first mention of this bread did not surface until the 1920s. Definitely, beyond the Napolonic War days.

Hush Puppies is a favorite in the American south. A cornbread batter, it can be baked or fried. I have only seen it fried. It seems to be an accompaniment for seafood.

In Sardinia Italy, we find the Pane carasau, an ancient flatbread. This flat crispy bread was a common part of the shepherd's meals of past times. When in a dry environment it can last up to a year. Thus, making it suitable for the long period of times that shepherds would work the flocks.

Biscuits are a worldwide bread form with variations of this baked good. In Europe, these are enjoyed as a crispy dry substance, while in North America, light and fluffy version are preferred. These breads can be done in a drop method or a rolled and cut form. Other versions are made to be savory or sweet and can even be made as chocolate treats.

The Irish as well as the Scots and Serbians have Soda Bread. This stable is made using bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk to create tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide to give the bread texture.

How many more breads can I list? Well, how much time do you have? The list seems to be endless.

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