International bread recipes for Real Bread Week

Helen Best-Shaw

Real Bread Week is the annual celebration of authentic bread and the people who make it. Leave the sliced stuff in the aisles as it's time to chow down on some homemade doughy goodness

I’m a fan of baking my own bread: first, it’s a satisfying, hands-on process that really connects me to what I’m making. Second, I find that the result is so much better than a sliced loaf from the shop. The process might seem daunting, but after successfully baking my first plain white loaf, I was out of the starting gate and began to experiment. 

Bread is such a staple around the world that there are all sorts of inspiration sources I can find for my next bake. Here are ten ideas for off-the-beaten-track loaves, some inspired by ingredients and others by geography which are perfect for this year’s real bread week which runs from February 22 to March 1.

 

Rustic Spanish bread

spanish bread

This is a straightforward white bread recipe which was shared by a baker in Barcelona, and contains olive oil. An easy basic loaf for the first step on your baking journey. 

 

No-knead garlic fougasse

fougasse

Fougasse is a flatbread originally used to test the temperature of wood-fired ovens. It cooks in minutes, it’s also an easy loaf to adapt with different flavours. This basic recipe can be jazzed up with ingredients such as roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped olives. 

 

Chocolate brioche bread wreath

chocolate brioche

The French are masters of enriched doughs, from brioche to croissants. Here’s a recipe for an amazing looking brioche wreath that incorporates chocolate fans of the pain au chocolat. This bake would make an amazing centrepiece for a relaxed and convivial brunch with friends. 

 

Indian Puri bread

puri poori bread

Puri or poori is a very popular puffy Indian bread made of wheat flour dough, oil, salt and water. The dough is rolled into discs and deep-fried for golden, slightly crispy puri. These are made with carom seeds—like cumin, but more intense, but I’m sure playing with the spices would be interesting. 

 

Easy overnight dark rye bread

rye bread

Rye baking—popular in Eastern Europe—is a little different. The dough can be a bit of a sticky nightmare, and rye lacks gluten so the final loaf does tend to be quite dense. However, give it a try as a good loaf of rye bread is a wonderous thing—rich, dark and packed with flavour. Here’s an easy recipe to start.

 

Irish soda bread

yoghurt bread

The great thing about soda bread is that it takes no time. Mix, knead briefly, form a loaf and bake. Normally baked with buttermilk—used to activate the baking soda—this loaf uses yoghurt so it’s much more cupboard and fridge friendly. 

 

Lebanese Zaatar Bread—Manakish, Manoushe Flatbread Recipe

Zaatar Bread is a soft flatbread topped with a zaatar seasoning mixed with olive oil paste, which is then baked like a pizza. The bread is enjoyed hot in the Middle East for breakfast or with a meal. This is a flatbread for those who like pizza, pita, and other middle eastern/Mediterranean breads. So that means everybody! 
 


Eighteenth-century Dutch Easter bread

dutch easter bread

This loaf is based on a recipe in a Dutch cookbook from 1746, De Volmaakte Hollandsche Keuken-Meid. In the Netherlands modern Easter breads are filled with an almond paste, and although the recipe doesn’t use it, if you like almonds and marzipan the author suggests adding it anyway. 

 

Japanese milk bread

https://www.carolinescooking.com/japanese-milk-bread/

Japanese milk bread is probably the lightest, fluffiest, most tender bread you’ll come across. It’s the perfect everyday loaf, from sandwiches to toast, and is one you need to try! The recipe starts with making a roux with flour and water. This warming starts to activate the gluten in the flour and helps create the soft texture. 

 

Slow cooker cornbread

cornbread

Finally, a non-wheat loaf—a cornbread, cooked in the slow cooker, inspired by the cornbreads of the Southern USA. This is a versatile loaf, perfect with a bowl of hearty soup for a filling lunch. 

 

Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over 13 years.

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