Bread is a food that can be used as an appetizer, a side dish, or even as a main course. Throughout history civilizations have received the majority of their dietary needs from bread either as a mobile food option for soldiers or as a plate alternative for the wealthy. Two distinct types of bread that are sold in every grocery store are Italian bread and French bread. Being aware of the differences between Italian bread vs French bread can make menu planning easier while increasing your understanding of two world renowned styles of bread.
Loaves of Italian bread are available in many different sizes though they are usually flat and noticeably round. The bread is made using either wheat flour and yeast or flour with lard and salt. Italian bread is very think and heavy making it a good alternative to pasta since it pairs well with heavy sauces. The hearty consistency also makes the bread ideal for dipping in olive oil and restaurants in Italy often service baskets of bread with herb infused olive oil as a meal starter.
Bread from France is typically long, thin, and made using white flour, water, salt, and yeast. The loaves of bread are light with a crusty exterior that is extremely flavorful. Other types of French bread tend to be sweet with unsalted butter and eggs added to elevate the natural sweetness of the enriched flour. In certain regions of France the traditional baguette is infused with fruit or nuts that are naturally found in the area.
The Key Differences
Texture is the largest difference between each style of European bread. French bread is lighter with a crusty surface because of steam that is used during the baking process. Italian bread is much thicker and is given more time to rise so that the final product is suitable for sandwiches or soaking up sauces. The fundamental taste is the other noticeable difference since French breads are usually sweeter making them the perfect thing to pair with creamy cheeses or fruit while Italian bread is savory leading to pairings with olives, bold cheeses, and cured meats.