Bread baking has existed for centuries, but it seems as though it has reemerged as a trendy at-home activity in the last few years. With the help of social media, baking bread has caught the interest of both young and old alike. One may even claim that a community of sorts has come to be – one that gets excited about making the perfect loaf using spelt, wheat, rye, or gluten-free alternatives. Whether you are a bread baking beginner or, by now, a self-taught professional, here are some fun and bold ways to upgrade your next loaf of bread.
Fancy, French baguettes, Italian ciabattas, or Spanish manolete – bread has a long lasting tradition in Europe. Especially in Germany, you will find a very diverse bread culture ranging from rye bread to pretzels, with well over 300 different types. Germany is considered to be the country with the largest selection of bread varieties. Baking bread is part of a country’s cultural identity so it is no surprise that this craftsmanship has a long standing tradition in Europe’s kitchens.
Why has bread baking become popular?
There is more than one answer. Some may argue that the act of bread baking itself is what attracts all the attention. Like many hobby bakers may already know, baking bread can involve all the senses, from kneading dough to smelling bread fresh out of the oven. Not to mention, amid uncertainty, the act of baking or cooking has tangible results and can create a comforting environment. Many may agree that crafting an entire loaf of bread can feel very satisfying. And from a dietary perspective, baking your own bread can ensure that there is no hidden sugar and no unwanted additives. You truly know all the ingredients that are in the food you eat.
For the loaf of bread!
Who doesn’t love sourdough? The new “it” bread is not only healthy and delicious, but also stays fresh for a long time. And even though making your own bread is quite time-consuming, it allows you to experiment with different flours and add nuts, fruits, or spices to give your bread a special note. Depending on your preferred taste, you can opt for a more salty or sweet direction.
With easy step-by-step instructions from chef Mikel Anthony, even beginners can bake a beautifully crusted bread. The natural sweetness of California Prunes adds a fun, fruity note to this Homemade Sourdough Bread. This recipe is part of the Chef’s Roll Test Kitchen Series, and you can check out the video to learn more about the mouth-watering bread made with California Prunes.
This lovely loaf is enjoyed best with some salty butter or jam. Can’t get enough of the tasty, purple prune? Make your own 5 Spice California Prune Jam to go with your fresh slice of bread.
Another recipe with sourdough that is worth saving is the Raisin Walnut Crustis. Somewhere between loaf, bread roll, and alternative baguette, this lengthy bread is perfect for an in-between snack or a light sandwich. For a particularly beautiful crust use a roaster. It provides the optimal baking conditions for your bread as the pot material stores the oven heat for a long time and transfers it evenly to the bread. If the lid is still on, water vapor is created, which keeps the bread surface elastic and allows the bread to rise nicely. When putting your bread into the oven, make sure to keep the lid on. Remove it after 20-30 minutes and lower the temperature to 200 °C. This allows a nice crust to form on the surface of the bread.
Master baker Friedhelm Funken created these so-called crustis with the perfect combination of juicy California Raisins and crunchy walnuts. The aroma of raisin-walnut bread goes well with salty, sweet, and, even more, sour dishes. If you are more into savory snacks, these crustis can be paired with red wine and cheese.
Time to spice it up
Baking bread can seem intimidating at first, but with the right recipe, it doesn’t have to take all day. The Spiced Citrus Pecan Breakfast Bread by Gena Hamshaw (Full Helping) is prepared within an hour and can be enjoyed fresh in the morning. This spicy nut bread has a moist, airy interior that will have you asking for more. The combination of zesty citrus and buttery American Pecans together with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove creates a warm and comforting flavor. This Breakfast Bread can be enjoyed warm or cold and goes especially well with a morning cup of coffee and some fresh fruits.
All eyes on the bread
In Jewish culture and religion, the braided bread challah has a very special value, especially on Shabbat and holidays. From a culinary perspective, challah is both delicious and simple to make.
The braided bread not only looks insanely appetizing, it also has a pleasant texture and is rich and moist. Plus, it can be enjoyed for several days without any problems. It goes well with both savory and sweet dishes and best of all, it has a short baking time and is really quite easy to make.
This Pistachio Challah bread recipe has an extra special touch: American Pistachios. Make this delicious bread for a special occasion or simply enjoy with an equally fluffy and light spread, such as the California Almond cheese spread. Glazing the braids a second time before baking will give a great finished look after baking.
The beauty of bread is how different it can be. The Walnut Banana Bread, by Le Petit Chef, is an ultra-moist bread with delicious walnuts throughout the loaf and is lightened up with healthier swaps such as maple syrup and Greek yogurt. The walnuts give the dough a nice crunch and flavor as well as a slightly darker coloring.
The bread can be enjoyed for breakfast or as dessert. Bon appetit!