Here in Britain, we love a good loaf. From the classic white bloomer to the rustic sourdough, bread is staple here in the UK, not to mention a firm favourite. However, despite always having a soft spot for the loaves we know and love, as bakers, we also revel in experimenting with new recipes.
Over the years, we’ve been introduced to more and more varieties of bread, many of which originate from all over the world. Introducing punchy spices, unusual textures and vivid colours into our recipes, these breads provide a whole new taste experience for customers. So, which ones do we think need a little more attention? To help you broaden your baking horizons, we’ve picked out five fantastic foreign breads to experiment with this season.
1. Pão de Queijo – Brazil
Soft, doughy and bursting with rich, salty cheese, pão de queijo is a must-try for bakers looking to practise a few new techniques. Otherwise known as Brazilian cheese bread, these delicious cheesy puffs are traditionally eaten for breakfast and are a great savoury snack option.
The best part, however, is that pão de queijo is also incredibly simple to create. Combine tapioca flour with milk, oil and salt, before adding eggs and cheese to form a sticky, stretchy dough. Bake until the dough has puffed and is turning golden brown, then they’re ready to enjoy! We love this pão de queijo recipe by The Kitchn, using parmesan for a delicate cheese flavour.
Best for: Serving as a delicious savoury snack or starter. Why not accompany these moreish cheese balls with a garlic and chive dip for an original appetiser option?
2. Challah – Israel
Traditionally a Jewish ceremonial bread, challah is certainly an impressive loaf. Rich, moist and with eggy hints, challah is sweetened with honey and egg washed to create a brilliant golden crust. It does, however, require a repeated process of kneading, proving and kneading again, so isn’t one to whip up in a hurry!
Challah is usually braided into a neat plait before baking, making it perfect for occasions. Fancy giving yours a modern twist? This thorough challah recipe by Tori Avey suggests adding raisins or chocolate chips into the mix, or topping with poppy seeds to add even more flavour.
Best for: Serving as a whole braided loaf. Perfect as a tear and share table centrepiece, challah is ideal for group events.
3. Pan de Muertos – Mexico
Now, you’ve probably heard of Mexico’s infamous Day of the Dead festival, but have you heard of the accompanying pan de muertos? Pan de muertos translates as bread of the dead, which we have to admit, doesn’t sound very appetising, but it is in fact absolutely delicious.
This soft, sweet bread is flavoured with orange zest and aniseed, then covered in a sticky orange glaze and doused in granulated sugar. Sounds incredible, right? To make sure your pan de muertos is as authentic as possible however, don’t forget to add your dough shapes on top. Resembling bones and tears, these shapes characterise the bread of the dead. Try out this pan de muertos recipe by The Spruce to give this delectable bread a go yourself!
Best for: An elevenses snack or afternoon treat. This sugary snack has enough flavour to be eaten on its own, but also pairs very well with Nutella for a chocolate orange sensation!
4. Bao – China
Bao, or baozi, doesn’t really look like your typical loaf, and the truth is, it’s not. Originating from China, this Asian delicacy is steamed, hence the miniature buns’ pale colour. However, despite their anaemic exterior, these doughy buns actually have a succulent centre.
Bao typically has a moist, savoury filling, making these buns a surprisingly delicious treat. We’ve opted for this rich char siu bao recipe by The Woks of Life, which is steamed buns stuffed with BBQ pork. Why not put your own spin on this Chinese recipe by introducing some of your favourite fillings to create your own signature bao?
Best for: A delicious appetiser option. Try serving a variety of bao with a number of fillings for a more exciting dish!
5. Paratha – India
India is renowned for its wide variety of flatbreads, but have you ever tried your hand at paratha? Traditionally made from whole wheat flour and made using a lamination technique, the flat paratha dough is cooked quickly on a skillet before serving.
Although this flatbread is fantastic plain, it also lends itself well to the addition of aromatic spices and punchy flavours. This masala paratha recipe by Spice up the Curry, is a great example, featuring a delicious concoction of turmeric, red chilli, coriander, garam masala, ajawain and cumin seeds!
Best for: Serving as a delicious side dish, or pairing which a tangy chutney for a filling lunch option.
What are your favourite foreign breads? Let us know which ones you love to make via Twitter!