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This article discusses the staple food called bread. For Bread the music band see Bread (music).
(CC) Photo: Hayford Peirce
Homemade basic white bread whose only ingredients are flour, water, salt, and yeast.

Bread is a staple food that is generally prepared by the baking of dough, although steaming or frying are alternative techniques. It consists, minimally, of flour and water; salt is used in most cases, as well as a leavening agent such as yeast. There are many varieties of bread, with preferred types varying from region to region. Different kinds may contain sugar, dairy products, spices, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, some of which, however, are used primarily for decorative or flavoring purposes. Although its importance in today's world has been greatly lessened by the wide availability of other nutrious foodstuffs, for many centuries bread was often the primary food for millions of people and of entire cultures, so that bread frequently has a significance beyond mere nutrition. The Lord's Prayer, for instance, contains the line "Give us today our daily bread", and bread has often been called "the staff of life." And a "bread-winner" denotes a household's main economic contributor who may have little to do with literal bread-provision.

Fresh bread is prized for its taste and texture, and retaining its freshness is important to keep it appetizing. Bread that has stiffened or dried past its prime is said to be stale. Modern bread is often wrapped in paper or plastic film, or stored in airtight containers such as a breadbox to keep it fresh longer. Bread that is kept in warm moist environments is prone to the growth of mold. It becomes stale more quickly in the low temperature of a refrigerator, although by keeping it cool, mold is less likely to grow. A good way to keep bread fresh is to put it in the freezer, thus allowing it to stay fresh for several weeks.


Bread can be served ranging anywhere from room temperature to piping hot. Once baked, bread can subsequently be toasted. Bread is most commonly picked up and eaten with the hands, although some applications of bread are more easily eaten with the aid of a utensil such as a fork. It can be eaten by itself or as a carrier for another, usually less compact food. Bread may be dunked or dipped into a liquid (such as beef gravy or olive oil), topped with various spreads, both sweet and savory, or serve as the enclosure for the ubiquitous sandwich with any number of meats, cheeses, vegetables or condiments inside.


The word itself, Old English bread, is common in various forms to many Germanic languages; such as German Brot, Dutch brood, Swedish bröd, and Norwegian brød; it has been derived from the root of brew, but more probably is connected with the root of break, for its early uses are confined to broken pieces, or bits of bread, the Latin frustum, and it was not until the 12th century that it took the place—as the generic name for bread—of hlaf (modern English loaf), which appears to be the oldest Teutonic name; Old High German hleib and modern German Laib, or Finnish leipä, Estonian leib, and Russian хлеб (khleb) are similar (all are derived from Old Germanic).


Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods, dating back to the Neolithic era. The first breads produced were probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from ground cereal grains and water, and may have been developed by accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of these early breads are still commonly made from various grains worldwide, including the Mesoamerican tortilla, Indian and Pakistani chapati, Chinese bò bǐng, Scottish oatcake, North American johnnycake, and Ethiopian injera. The basic flat breads of this type also formed a staple in the diet of many early civilizations with the Sumerians eating a type of barley flat cake, and the 12th century BC Egyptians being able to purchase a flat bread called ta from stalls in the village streets.[1]

The development of leavened bread can probably also be traced to prehistoric times. Yeast spores occur everywhere, including the surface of cereal grains, so any dough left to rest will become naturally leavened. Although leavening is likely of prehistoric origin, the earliest archaeological evidence is from ancient Egypt. Scanning electron microscopy has detected yeast cells in some ancient Egyptian loaves. However, ancient Egyptian bread was made from emmer wheat and has a dense crumb. In cases where yeast cells are not visible, it is difficult to determine by visual examination whether or not the bread was leavened. As a result, the extent to which bread was leavened in ancient Egypt remains uncertain.[2]

There were multiple sources of leavening available for early bread. Air borne yeasts could be harnessed by leaving uncooked dough exposed to air for some time before cooking. Pliny the Elder reported that the Gauls and Iberians used the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples". Parts of the ancient world that drank wine instead of beer used a paste composed of grape juice and flour that was allowed to begin fermenting, or wheat bran steeped in wine, as a source for yeast. The most common source of leavening however was to retain a piece of dough from the previous day to utilize as a form of sourdough starter.[3]

Even within antiquity there was a wide variety of breads available. In the Deipnosophistae, the Greek author Athenaeus describes some of the breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries available in the Classical world. Among the breads mentioned are griddle cakes, honey-and-oil bread, mushroom shaped loaves covered in poppy seeds, and the military specialty of rolls baked on a spit. The type and quality of flour used to produce bread could also vary as noted by Diphilus when he declared "bread made of wheat, as compared with that made of barley, is more nourishing, more digestible, and in every way superior. In order of merit, the bread made from refined [thoroughly sieved] flour comes first, after that bread from ordinary wheat, and then the unbolted, made of flour that has not been sifted."[4]

Within medieval Europe bread served not only as a staple food but also as part of the table service. In the standard table setting of the day the trencher, a piece of stale bread roughly 6 inches by 4 inches (15 cm by 10 cm), served as an absorbent plate. At the completion of a meal the trencher could then be eaten, given to the poor, or fed to the dogs. It was not until the 15th Century that trenchers made of wood started to replace the bread variety.[5]

Otto Frederick Rohwedder is considered to be the father of sliced bread. In 1912 Rohwedder started work on inventing a machine that sliced bread, but bakeries were reluctant to use it since they were concerned the sliced bread would go stale. It was not until 1928, when Rohwedder invented a machine that both sliced and wrapped the bread, that sliced bread caught on. A bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri was the first to use this machine to produce sliced bread.

For generations, white bread was considered the preferred bread of the rich while the poor ate dark bread. However, the connotations reversed in the 20th century with dark bread becoming preferred as having superior nutritional value while white bread became associated with lower class ignorance of nutrition.

Another major advance happened in 1961 with the development of the Chorleywood Bread Process which used the intense mechanical working of dough to dramatically reduce the fermentation period and the time taken to produce a loaf. This process is now widely used around the world.

Recently, domestic breadmakers that automate the process of making bread are becoming popular in the home.

A loaf of bread made using a home bread machine or the Chorleywood Bread Process was not allowed time for the phytase enzyme from the yeast and/or grain to break the phytic acid bonding with mineral constituents in the grain. Traditional bread making produces a mix that spends 8-12 hours or more in the form of a dough, before baking. This time is required for the phytase enzymes to release the mineral constituents in the flour. (All grains are similar, so this applies to rye, wheat or corn bread, etc.)

Mineral phytate molecules are too large to pass across the stomach lining and into the bloodstream. The molecules are also unaffected by digestive juices and colonic bacteria, so are lost in the excreta. This is a common problem with all home or commercial high-speed bread making processes.

Cultural and Political Importance

As a foodstuff of great historical and contemporary importance, in many cultures bread has a significance beyond mere nutrition. The Lord's Prayer, for example, contains the line 'Give us today our daily bread'; here, 'bread' is commonly understood to mean necessities in general. In Israel the most usual phrase in work related demonstrations is "lehem, avoda" [bread, work], and during the 1960s, the hippie community used the term bread as a euphemism for money. The word bread is now commonly used around the world in English speaking countries as a synonym for money. In part, derived from the rhyming slang "Bread and honey". The cultural importance of 'bread' goes beyond slang, however, to serve as a metaphor for basic necessities and living conditions in general.

The political significance of bread is considerable. In the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century the inflated price of bread due to the Corn Laws caused major political and social divisions, and was central to debates over free trade and protectionism. The Assize of Bread and Ale in the thirteenth century showed the importance of bread in medieval times by setting heavy punishments for short-changing bakers, and the foodstuff appeared in Magna Carta a century later.


(CC) Photo: Hayford Peirce
Homemade Pullman bread cooling—click here [1] for more pictures of its preparation.

Although bread is a popular food in western and many other societies such as Pakistan and India, many South-East Asian societies such as China prefer rice. Bread is most often made from a wheat-flour dough that is cultured with yeast, allowed to rise, and finally baked in an oven. Owing to its high levels of gluten, which give the dough sponginess and elasticity, common wheat (also known as bread wheat) is the most common grain used for its preparation; but bread is also made from the flour of other wheat species including durum, spelt and emmer), rye, barley, maize (or corn), and oats, usually, but not always, in combination with wheat flour. Although common wheat is best suited for making highly risen white bread, other wheat species are capable of giving a good crumb. Spelt bread (Dinkelbrot) continues to be widely consumed in Germany, and emmer bread was a staple food in ancient Egypt. In many western societies, where sandwiches are a popular meal, Pullman bread (pain de mie in French) or sandwich bread is a standard shape for the loaf. It is called Pullman because, being baked in a pan with a covered lid to inhibit its rising, it is shaped like an old-fashioned Pullman railroad car, long and narrow, and with a square cross-section.

Composition and Chemistry


The amount of water and flour are the most significant measurements in a bread recipe, as they affect texture and crumb the most. Professional bakers use a system of percentages known as Bakers' Percentage in their recipe formulations, and measure ingredients by weight instead of by volume. Measurement by weight is much more accurate and consistent than measurement by volume, especially for the dry ingredients.

Flour is always 100%, and the rest of the ingredients are a percent of that amount by weight. Common table bread in the U.S. uses approximately 50% water, resulting in a finely textured, light, bread. Most artisan bread formulas contain anywhere from 60 to 75% water. In yeast breads, the higher water percentages result in more CO2 bubbles, and a coarser bread crumb. One pound (500 g) of flour will yield a standard loaf of bread, or two french loaves.


Flour is a product made from grain that has been ground into a powdery consistency. It is flour that provides the primary structure to the final baked bread. Commonly available flours are made from rye, barley, maize, and other grains, but it is wheat flour that is most commonly used for breads. Each of these grains provides starch and protein to the final product.

Wheat flour in addition to its starch contains three water soluble proteins groups, albumin, globulin, proteoses, and two non-water soluble proteins groups, glutenin and gliadin. When flour is mixed with water the water-soluble proteins dissolve, leaving the glutenin and gliadin to form the structure of the resulting dough. When worked by kneading, the glutenin forms strands of long thin chainlike molecules while the shorter gliadin forms bridges between the stands of glutenin. The resulting networks of strands produced by these two proteins is known as gluten. Gluten development improves if the dough is allowed to autolyse.


Water, or some other liquid, is used to form the flour into a paste or dough. The volume of liquid required varies between recipes, but a ratio of 1 cup (2 dL) of liquid to 3 cups (7 dL) of flour is common for yeast breads while recipes that use steam as the primary leavening method may have a liquid content in excess of one part liquid to one part flour by volume. In addition to water, other types of liquids that may be used include dairy products, fruit juices, or beer. In addition to the water in each of these they also bring additional sweeteners, fats, and or leavening components.


Leavening is the process of adding gas to a dough before or during baking to produce a lighter, more easily chewed bread. Most bread consumed in the West is leavened. However, unleavened breads have symbolic importance in Judaism and Christianity. Jews consume unleavened breads such as Matzo during Passover. They are also used in the Christan liturgy when they perform the Eucharist, a rite derived from the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with his disciples during a Passover Seder.

Chemical leavening

A simple technique for leavening bread is the use of gas-producing chemicals. There are two common methods. The first is to use baking powder or a self-rising flour that includes baking powder. The second is to have an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk and add baking soda. The reaction of the acid with the soda produces gas.

Chemically-leavened breads are called quick breads and soda breads. This technique is commonly used to make muffins and sweet breads such as banana bread.

Yeast leavening

Many breads are leavened by yeast, a type of single-celled fungus. The yeast used for leavening bread is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same species used for brewing alcoholic beverages. This yeast ferments carbohydrates in the flour and any sugar, producing carbon dioxide. Most bakers in the U.S. leaven their doughs with commercially produced baker's yeast. Baker's yeast has the advantage of producing uniform, quick, and reliable results, because it is obtained from a pure culture.

Both the baker's yeast, and the sourdough method of baking bread follow the same pattern. Water is mixed with flour, salt and the leavening agent (baker's yeast or sourdough starter). Other additions (spices, herbs, fats, seeds, fruit, etc.) are not necessary to bake bread, but often used. The mixed dough is then allowed to rise one or more times (a longer rising time results in more flavor, so bakers often punch down the dough and let it rise again), then loaves are formed and (after an optional final rising time) the bread is baked in an oven.

Many breads are made from a straight dough, which means that all of the ingredients are combined in one step, and the dough baked after the rising time. Alternatively, doughs can be made with the starter method, when some of the flour, water, and the leavening are combined a day or so ahead of baking, and allowed to ferment overnight. (Such as the poolish typically used for baguettes) On the day of the baking, the rest of the ingredients are added, and the rest of the process is the same as that for straight doughs. This produces a more flavorful bread with better texture. Many bakers see the starter method as a compromise between the highly reliable results of baker's yeast, and the flavor/complexity of a longer fermentation. It also allows the baker to use only a minimal amount of baker's yeast, which was scarce and expensive when it first became available.


Sourdough loaves

The sour taste of sourdoughs actually comes not from the yeast, but from a lactobacillus, with which the yeast lives in symbiosis. The lactobacillus feeds on the byproducts of the yeast fermentation, and in turn makes the culture go sour by excreting lactic acid, which protects it from spoiling (since most microbes are unable to survive in an acid environment). All breads used to be sourdoughs, and the leavening process was not understood until the 19th century, when with the advance of microscopes, scientists were able to discover the microbes that make the dough rise. Since then, strains of yeast have been selected and cultured mainly for reliability and quickness of fermentation. Billions of cells of these strains are then packaged and marketed as "Baker's Yeast". Bread made with baker's yeast is not sour because of the absence of the lactobacillus. Bakers around the world quickly embraced baker's yeast for it made baking simple and so allowed for more flexibility in the bakery's operations. It made baking quick as well, allowing bakeries to make fresh bread from scratch as often as three times a day. While European bakeries kept producing sourdough breads, in the U.S., sourdough baking was widely replaced by baker's yeast, and only recently has that country (or parts of it, at least) seen the rebirth of sour-vinegar dough in artisan bakeries.

Sourdough breads are most often made with a sourdough starter (not to be confused with the starter method discussed above). A sourdough starter is a culture of yeast and lactobacillus. It is essentially a dough-like or pancake-like flour/water mixture in which the yeast and lactobacilli live. A starter can be maintained indefinitely by periodically discarding a part of it and refreshing it by adding fresh flour and water. (When refrigerated, a starter can go weeks without needing to be fed.) There are starters owned by bakeries and families that are several human generations old, much revered for creating a special taste or texture. Starters can be obtained by taking a piece of another starter and growing it, or they can be made from scratch. There are hobbyist groups on the web who will send their starter for a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and there are even mailorder companies that sell different starters from all over the world. An acquired starter has the advantage to be more proven and established (stable and reliable, resisting spoiling and behaving predictably) than from-scratch starters.

There are other ways of sourdough baking and culture maintenance. A more traditional one is the process that was followed by peasant families throughout Europe in past centuries. The family (usually the woman was in charge of breadmaking) would bake on a fixed schedule, perhaps once a week. The starter was saved from the previous week's dough. The starter was mixed with the new ingredients, the dough was left to rise, then a piece of it was saved (to be the starter for next week's bread). The rest was formed into loaves which were marked with the family sign (this is where today's decorative slashing of bread loaves originates from), and taken to the communal oven to bake. These communal ovens over time evolved into what we know today as bakeries, when certain people specialized in bread baking, and with time enhanced the process so far as to be able to mass produce cheap bread for everyone in the village.

San Francisco sourdough

The most famous sourdough bread made in the U.S. is San Francisco, California sourdough, where in contrast to most of the country, it has remained in continuous production for nearly 150 years, with some bakeries able to trace their starters back to California's Gold Rush period. It is a white bread, characterized by a pronounced sourness (not all sourdoughs are as sour as the San Francisco sourdough), so much so that the dominant strain of lactobacillus in sourdough starters has been named Lactobacillus sanfrancisco.

Steam leavening

The rapid expansion of steam produced during baking leavens the bread, which is as simple as it is unpredictable. The best known steam-leavened bread is the popover. Steam-leavening is unpredictable since the steam is not produced until the bread is baked.

Steam leavening happens regardless of the rising agents (soda powder, yeast, baking-powder, sour dough, egg snow…)

  • The rising agent generates carbon dioxide - or already contains air bubbles.
  • The heat vaporises the water from the inner surface of the bubbles within the dough.
  • The steam expands and makes the bread rise.

It is actually the main factor in the rise. CO2 generation, on its own, is too small to account for the rise. Heat kills bacteria or yeast at an early stage, so the CO2 generation is stopped.

Bacterial leavening

Salt-risen bread employs a form of bacterial leavening that does not require yeast. Although the leavening action is not always consistent, and requires close attention to the incubating conditions, this bread is making a comeback due to its unique cheese-like flavor and fine texture. [2].

Fats or shortenings

Fats such as butter, vegetable oils, lard, or that contained in eggs affects the development of gluten in breads by coating and lubricating the individual strands of protein and also helping hold the structure together. If too much fat is included in a bread dough, the lubrication effect will cause the protein structures to divide. A fat content of approximately 3% by weight is the concentration that will produce the greatest leavening action.

This effect is used most popularly in cookies, in that increased fat - typically shortening - causes a harder cookie (more popular in cookies such as chocolate chip) while increased flour causes a softer cookie (more popular in cookies such as oatmeal). As it is typically not acceptable to have harder bread, this effect is usually not available for use in breads.

In addition to their effects on leavening, fats also serve to tenderize the breads they are used in and also help to keep the bread fresh longer after baking.

Breads across different cultures

There are many variations on the basic recipe of bread, including pizza, chapatis, tortillas, baguettes, brioche, pitas, lavash, biscuits, pretzels, naan, bagels, puris, and many other variations.

  • In the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the most widely consumed type of bread is soft-textured with a thin crust and is sold ready-sliced in packages. It is usually eaten with the crust, but some eaters or preparers may remove the crust due to a personal preference or style of serving, as for high tea.
  • In South Asia, Roti or Chapati, types of flat breads, are commonly used. A variant uses mustard flour rather than white flour. Another variant is Puri, a thin flat bread which is fried rather than baked and puffs up while cooked. Paratha is another variation on Roti. Nan, however, is baked in brick ovens and is rarely prepared at home. White and brown breads are also very common, but not as much as Roti.
  • Jews have traditionally baked challah, a type of milk free egg bread with a thin, hard crust and a soft, well-leavened center. It is made by braiding plaits of dough and then lightly baking them in an oven. The braids symbolize the observance of Shabbat. Between Rosh Hashanna and Simcha Torah Challah is sweetened using honey and raisins to signify a sweet and happy new year. It is also traditional for a newly married couple to sweeten the challah during their first year of marriage to symbolize that they should have a sweet and happy marriage. During Passover, Jews eat unleavened bread called matza.
  • In Scotland and Northern Ireland, another form of bread called plain bread is also consumed. Plain bread loaves are noticeably taller and thinner, with burned crusts at only the top and bottom of the loaf. Plain bread has a much firmer texture than English and American pan bread. Plain Bread is becoming less common, as the bread consumed elsewhere in the United Kingdom is becoming more popular with consumers.
  • In Northern Ireland a type of malted bread known as Veda remains popular.
  • In France, pan bread is known as pain de mie and is used only for toast or for making stuffing; standard bread (in the form of baguettes or thicker breads) has a thick crust and often has large bubbles of air inside. It is often baked three times daily and is sold totally unwrapped to keep the crust crisp. Some fancy breads contain walnuts, or are encrusted with poppy seeds.
  • Focaccia is quite popular in Italy, and is known in Provence as fougasse or as fouace in the rest of southern France. It is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs, and often either topped with cheese or stuffed with meat or vegetables. Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza doughs.
  • White bread is made from flour containing only the central core of the grain (endosperm).
  • Brown bread is made with endosperm and 10% bran.
  • Whole meal bread contains the whole of the wheat grain (endosperm and bran).
  • Wheat germ bread has added wheat germ for flavouring.
  • Whole grain bread is white bread with added whole grains to increase the fibre content.
  • Granary bread is bread made from granary flour, trademarked to Hovis made from malted white or brown flour, wheat germ and whole grains.
  • Stottie cake is a thick, flat, round loaf. Stotties are common in the North East of England. Although it is called a cake, it is a type of bread.
  • Being the simplest, cheapest and most basic type of food, bread is often referred as a metaphor for "food" in general, in some languages and dialects, such as Greek.
  • Christian traditional societies (usually in poor communities), used to respect bread since Jesus symbolised his body with it. The sign of the cross was performed with the knife on the bread's surface, before the loaf was cut. Sometimes it was considered a sin to desecrate bread (e.g., throw it away).

Bread in Germany

Germany has the widest variety of bread available to its residents. About six thousand types of breads and approximately one thousand two hundred different types of pastry and rolls are produced in about seventeen thousand bakeries and another ten thousand in-shop bakeries.

Eighty-two million people consume around 1,100,000 tons of bread, 5,024,000,000 rolls and 454,000,000 pretzels per year. This is a world record. Bread is served with almost every meal. A German breakfast typically consists of sliced bread or Semmeln (rolls) with either cold cuts, cheese etc. or jam, honey and other sweet toppings. Supper, traditionally, usually just consists of cold cuts and cheese (Abendbrot), although this tradition is rapidly changing. Bread is not considered a side dish and is considered important for a healthy diet.

Germany's top ten in bread are:

  1. Rye-wheat ("Roggenmischbrot")
  2. Toast bread ("Toastbrot")
  3. whole-grain ("Vollkornbrot")
  4. Wheat-rye ("Weizenmischbrot")
  5. White bread ("Weißbrot")
  6. Multi-grain ("Mehrkornbrot")
  7. Rye ("Roggenbrot")
  8. Sunflower seed ("Sonnenblumenkernbrot")
  9. Pumpkin seed ("Kürbiskernbrot")
  10. Onion bread ("Zwiebelbrot")

Especially the darker kinds of bread like Vollkornbrot or Schwarzbrot are typical of German cuisine. Internationally well known is Pumpernickel which is steamed for a very long time, it is one kind of dark bread from Germany but not representative. Most German breads are made with sourdough. Whole grain is preferred for high fibre. Germans use almost all available types of grain for their breads — wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, sorghum, corn and rice. Some breads are even made from potato flour.

Denmark and Bread

Bread is a very important part of the Scandinavian table. It is usually enjoyed at home, in the workplace or in Danish restaurants and is usually based primarily on rugbrød, which is unleavened rye bread. It is a dark, heavy bread which is often bought pre-sliced, in varieties from light-coloured rye, to very dark, and refined to whole grain. It forms the basis of smørrebrød, which is closely related to the Swedish smörgås, literally 'spread bread' (smør is butter). Traditional toppings include sild, which are pickled herrings (marinerede - plain, krydder - spiced, or karry - curried, being the most popular), slightly sweeter than Dutch or German herrings; thinly-sliced cheese in many varieties; sliced cucumber, tomato and boiled eggs; leverpostej, which is pork liver-paste; dozens of types of cured or processed meat in thin slices, or smoked fish such as salmon; mackerel in tomato sauce; pickled cucumber; boiled egg, and rings of red onion. Mayonnaise mixed with peas and diced carrot, remoulade or other thick sauces often top the layered open sandwich, which is usually eaten with utensils. It is custom to pass the dish of sliced breads around the table, and then to pass around each dish of toppings, and people help themselves. Hundreds of combinations and varieties of smørrebord are available.

A famous and very old restaurant in Copenhagen's historic Nyhavn harbour, Ida Davidsen, serves up many imaginative combinations, and the fridge in a typical Danish home will often be stocked with toppings for rugbrødsmad, or "rye bread meal", which is a way of saying "a plain normal lunch". Denmark has strong traditions of special types of food eaten at particular times of the year, such as smoked eel with slices of a sort of scrambled-egg loaf eaten on rye bread at New Year, accompanied by beer. Other types of bread are sold in supermarkets and in bakeries, which are important shops in every town and shopping centre. Many women still bake at home, particularly boller, which are small bread rolls, and often the traditional kringle, which is a long cooked dough with currants and a brown sugar and butter paste. Home-baked bread uses moist yeast, and many thousands of packs are sold every day, the major brand being a division of Carlsberg Brewery. In the great trucking strikes of 1998, yeast was one of the first products to be sold out in shops, indicating the importance of home baking in Denmark. Sliced square white bread is known in Denmark as franskbrød, literally "French bread", and is not as common as it is in many other western countries. People often eat jam with cheese on crusty white bread for breakfast, and also very thin slices of chocolate, called pålægschokolade.

Another popular way of consuming bread in Denmark is as tiny buns for long hot dogs, like small puffy napkins made out of white bread, which are available in little kiosks everywhere and in pølservogn ("sausage-vans") that move about the cities.


  • The anime and manga Yakitate!! Japan chronicles the quest of a young baker to create a 'bread that tastes better than rice'; i.e., one that the Japanese people would accept as a staple food.
  • The phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread", to mean something of superlative quality, is common in the UK and United States, there is also at least a German and french equivalent.
  • Lithuanian folk saying: "Bread cries when a lazy person eats it". Refers to how difficult it was to produce bread, from sowing to baking, in antiquity.
  • The word "companion" literally means one with whom bread is shared (com with + pani bread).
  • In some Asian Christian churches, the people eat rice cakes instead of bread served in the holy communion.
  • Turkmen President Saparmyrat Niyazov re-named the word bread (çorek [chorek]) after his mother (Gurbansoltan eže [Gurbansoltan edzhe]), as another of his eccentric policies.


  1. Tannahill p. 37, 61, 69
  2. Samuel p. 558
  3. Tannahill p. 68-69
  4. Tannahill p. 91
  5. Tannahill p. 227


  • Cunningham, Marion (1990). The Fannie Farmer cookbook, illustrated by Lauren Jarrett, 13th edition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-56788-9. 
  • Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211579-0. 
  • Jacob, Heinrich Eduard: Six Thousand Years of Bread. Its Holy and Unholy History. Garden City / New York: Doubleday, Doran and Comp., 1944.
  • McGee, Harold (2004). On food and cooking. Scribner. ISBN 0-684-80001-2. 
  • Samuel, D. (2000). "Brewing and baking". Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. Eds: P.T. Nicholson & I. Shaw., 537-576, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45257-0.
  • Tannahill, Reay (1973). Food in History. Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-1437-1. 
  • Trager, James (1995). The food chronology : a food lover's compendium of events and anecdotes from prehistory to the present. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-3389-0. 

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