Every day we buy almost 12 million loaves of bread*, but how well do you know your soda bread from your sourdough? From classic loaves to doughs with exciting flavour twists, we've got you covered with our ultimate guide to bread. Find out how to waste less with our tips for storage and leftovers, how to make bread from scratch and discover a new favourite loaf with our easy recipes.
Much of the flavour of wholemeal bread comes from the bran (the outer layer of the wheat), which is removed to create white flour. While this makes for a lighter loaf, it also reduces the amount of fibre. Sourdough breads are made with a fermented ‘starter’ instead of yeast, which produces carbon dioxide and causes the bread to rise.
Keep in its original packaging or a paper bag, and at room temperature – not in the fridge, as this removes moisture and dries out the bread. It can also be frozen: slice first, then wrap in clingfilm to prevent freezer-burn. Or blitz into breadcrumbs and transfer to freezer bags.
Every day in the UK, 24 million slices of bread are wasted**. Rescue stale slices by sprinkling with water, then warming in the oven. Keeping the crusts stacked against the inner slices will also help. Stale bread is perfect for caramelising and adding to ice cream for a tasty dessert, or why not blitz into breadcrumbs to make a crispy crumb topping for pasta and fish dishes? For a winning roast side dish, make your own bread sauce with this easy all-in-one recipe. For more inspiration, check out our tips and ideas for leftover bread.
Making bread for the first time? Try this easy no-knead version that's perfect for getting started. Once you've mastered that, have a go at this ultimate white loaf or slightly more challenging plaited wholemeal spelt loaf. Gluten-free? No problem, we've got you covered with this foolproof recipe.
The cornmeal in this American favourite gives it a coarse, dense texture and a slightly sweet flavour. Some versions include wheat for a lighter loaf. Have a go at making a classic version, or try a cheesy twist. We suggest serving with a rich chilli con carne to mop up the juices. You can even make cornbread muffins, perfect for a picnic.
Italy's answer to the French baguette, ciabatta has an open, chewy texture and a thin crust, making it well-suited to sandwiches, like this steak sandwich. When toasted, a sandwich made with ciabatta is called a panini. Try mashing garlic, parsley and basil into softened butter; spread over halved ciabatta and grill. Or turn it into croutons for a Mediterranean twist on roast chicken.
Batch-baking rolls gives a crusty top and soft, pillowy sides. It also helps to keep them moist, and gives a more uniform shape. Try this easy roll recipe, and load up with your favourite sandwich fillings, or serve with a bowl of soup.
Sourdough is made using a fermented starter, resulting in a tangy, flavourful loaf. The addition of rye flour gives a heavier texture, and its natural earthiness is the perfect foil to sourdough's sharpness. Try with strong cheese like this baked Camembert recipe or salty meat, which can stand up to the bold flavours, or use it up in stuffing or as a herby crumb.
This loaf contains no yeast and instead relies on bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk for its rise. This gives the bread a distinct tangy flavour and a crumbly, almost cake-like texture. Try slathering with butter and eating warm with soup or stew.
This oven-baked Italian bread has a similar texture to pizza dough. It should be perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. Pair simply with oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, and try new variations with caramelised onion or roasted garlic and tomato. For a summery twist, try this Cornish potato and rosemary version that’s great for packing into a picnic.
Brioche is a French bread that has a cake-like texture and high egg and butter content, giving a rich and soft crumb. Some recipes include sugar for extra sweetness, like this classic version, making it great for breakfast with sweet toppings, such as raspberries and ricotta. Try it in a bread and butter pudding or use buttery brioche buns for burgers and hot dogs.
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