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What Is Your Favorite Country/Region for Bread?

The possibilities, of course, are almost endless. My favorite region, however, is undoubtedly Eastern Europe and Russia. I love the use of rye, caraway and onion, and I could live on Russian chernyi khleb (black bread).

I don't spose any of you lot have an opinion on this subject.

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    1. re: Veggo

      Even Cambodia?

      (Or is it Kampuchea? I can never keep up with the geographical musical chairs.)

      1. re: Veggo

        You need cuban bread to make a proper cuban sandwich. A hero or baguette doesn't work.

        1. re: Bkeats

          I agree. And the bread is the least tasty part of the sandwich.

          1. re: Veggo

            while I can't speak of the bread in Havana, a fresh loaf from La Segunda in Tampa is right up there.

            Nothing but nothing beats a French baguette, still warm from the oven.

            1. re: sunshine842

              Bread directly from the bakeries in Cuba wasn't bad. Not mind-blowing, but perfectly fine, if a touch sweet.

            2. re: Veggo

              how does Cuban bread from Havana taste, compared to La Segunda?

              1. re: sunshine842

                I can't say - I haven't been to La Segunda. I find the Cuban bread at the Columbia to be bland and dries out quickly, but good for mopping up the garlicky sauce from the shrimp side to the 1905 salad. A spot near me does the warm pressed Cuban and the bread is like cardboard by the second half. Cuban bread in Cuba is not as dry because of the humidity and lack of AC.

                1. re: Veggo

                  that's the downside of the Columbia - they keep it in the ovens to keep it warm, but it dries it out.

                  A hot pressed Cuban (all the way, naturally...) does end up like cardboard -- the bread ends up squished to nearly paper-thin, and with the grill, it's almost more cracker-ish (which is not necessarily a bad thing - a good Cuban sanguiche is near and dear to my heart!)

                  I know darned well that Cuban sandwiches don't exist in Havana, though (unless they've been taken back fromTampa...)

                  Is Cuban bread (in Havana) in the long thin loaves? The story goes that Cuban bread in Florida is long and thin because it was a good way to make the bread last longer during a flour shortage.

                  (purely useless information - old houses in and around Ybor City to this day have a tenpenny nail in the door jamb...it was where they hung the bread when it was delivered before down -- out of reach of neighborhood cats and dogs)

        2. Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian breads, hands down. I agree with you PK on the black bread; Danish rugbrød piled with open-sandwich-tidbits also spins me like a top. But this is just nostalgia now; I've been exiled to the gulags in the outer reaches of GlutenFreeberia and let me state for the record: the bread here is lousy.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cayjohan

            You have my sympathies.

            I recently managed to score a loaf of onion rye bread from my local mega-grocery chain and was blown away by how good it was. Verily, it was the inspiration for this thread topic.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              If you have any sort of Russian market available in your area, go check out some of the imported breads. Now, Cyrillic is definitely not my forte, so I made all my loaf choices based on 1) is it blacker than espresso? and 2) is it as dense as a neutron star? Never steered me wrong. Now, how old those imported loaves were, I have no idea; it doesn't seem to matter much with such types of bread - they just get tarter and more delicious.

              1. re: cayjohan

                Heh. Good description. Alas, the nearest Russian market to my abode is at least three parsecs.

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  Well that distance might well be within Klingon territory, and worth exploring - *dark, dense and sour* seems like a perfect Klingon bread to me ("Warrior Bread.") Maybe Amazon isn't yet at odds with Federation taxation or shipping policies?

          2. Germany, especially the southern half.

            good bread is the basis of a good existence. (i have changed this saying from 'good food is the basis of a good existence')

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pata_Negra

              What breads are most typical of Bavaria?

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                sourdough, rye, and rye/wheat mixed bread. not only in Bavaria but throughout the southern region.

                i holiday in Germany every year and everytime stepping into a bakery i just want to cry.

                some g00gle pics: http://tinyurl.com/oy9vud4

                1. re: Pata_Negra

                  Bauernbrot from my Backerei in Ansbach, Frankenland. 3 Korn or 7 Kornbrot south of the Augsberg/Munchen line. All in the standard 1 Kilo loaf.

                  Brotchen from Bavaria are required with Leberkase and Wurst. Or at breakfast with butter and jam. A hardcrusted white flour roll.

                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                    Oh man, I really do miss a good Brötchen. Berlin doesn't make 'em nearly as well as the Rheinland.

                    And of course, they're called Semmel in Bavaria '-)

                    1. re: linguafood

                      because if they weren't called Semmeln, you couldn't make Semmelknudel.

                      (I have no idea why I love those gluey balls of paste so much)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Ha! And I *hate* semmelknödel. Gluey balls of paste pretty much describes my opinion!

                  2. re: Pata_Negra

                    Those bauerbrots are wonderful and beautiful. Abendbrot using those breads was always my favorite meal of the day when I lived in Germany.

              2. I always enjoy Indian flatbreads...naan,onion kulcha. Sour rye. Everything in between, especially just as it comes out of the oven. I could be happy for a long time with good bialys.

                2 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine

                  Good call on Indian flatbreads. Well-made, fresh naan is a true delight.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Fresh, home-made chappatis are a delight, too. And puris, right out of the fryer.

                    U.S.: desert southwest for fry bread, when fresh and steamy.
                    southern U.S.: the biscuits of my childhood, dripping with butter and honey, or smothered in sausage or redeye gravy.
                    my kitchen: sourdough, made in my 100 year old CI dutch oven. Still steaming, with ghee.

                    I think I'd like to travel the world, just sampling breads...

                2. Back when I was in school, I spent one summer traveling through Europe. I was on a train from Italy to Germany. I was sitting at a table in the dining car with a bunch of Germans and French. We were having a variety of wide ranging discussions. We talked about who made the best bread. Coming from America land of Woonderbread, I had no dog in the fight. It was interesting to listen to the two sides argue about why their bread was better. Neither side conceded anything. But when we got to cheese, the Germans didn't even put up a fuss. No argument there. So between Germany and France there was no winner on bread. A draw. But for cheese, the uunnnndisputeeed heavvvvy weight champeeeon, FRANCE.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bkeats

                    Well, that's getting a bit OT, but I wonder if France's victory would be so overwhelming today. Italian--if not German--cheese has come into its own, and so has British.

                    PS--You COULD have put in a plug for San Franciscan sourdough. ;)

                  2. The better Parisian "tradition' baguette.

                    1. San Francisco Bay Area. Consistently stronger and better sourdough than any others I've tried.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: aynrandgirl

                        Yes! SF has the best bakeries right now.

                        1. Sonoran flour tortillas cooked over a mesquite fire.


                          After that any good French or Italian bakery.
                          I've got to go with some of the others on the Cubanos, not too good and I've had bread and rolls on the west coast of South America which were bretty bad.

                          1. Germany for the sheer variety. France for baguette. Ain't nothin' like it, and it's damn near impossible to get a good baguette outside of France.

                            Italy for ciabatta.

                            Yep, that's pretty much it.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: linguafood

                              Lovely russian markets near me with an amazing range of crusty dark breads. grand french style bakery with anciennes and sour doughs, dark raisin pecan loaves, cranberry walnut rolls - excellent Indian breads in several local restaurants, and rustic Italian, ciabettas, foccaccios - german/jewish pretzel bread and salt sticks - bread, wine and cheese are the ambrosia and nectar of life!! any research that shows any ill effects of bread, wine or cheese is clearly unworthy of credence.

                              1. re: teezeetoo

                                Sometimes I have what I call a European peasant meal: a nice dark beer such as Belhaven, a lovely cheese such as havarti, a good sausage (likely a salami), and a loaf of fine bread (maybe pumpernickel). It really doesn't get much better than that. Food at its most elemental level.

                            2. Central Europe generally. East of the Rhine, west of the Dnieper-Western Dvina, north of the Alps and Carpathians.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Karl S

                                You seem to have a very good idea of what you like. What is it about the breads of this region that so appeal to you?

                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                  The abundance of wheat-rye-barley breads, the different uses of the grains, the use of seeds and potatoes, the rich flavor of these breads that derives from the slow rise in these cooler climates and the somewhat lower gluten profile in the grain mixtures used, and the love of vigorous crusts.

                              2. I'm also an Eastern Europe fan for bread. Just the variety. And I love how the heaviness of some breads really make it seem like a part of a meal, not just something off to the side.
                                I'll agree that for a baguette, France is it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alliegator

                                  Eastern European bread can be a meal. For hundreds of years peasants often made do with little more, although that could be said for Western Europe, too.

                                2. France, definitely France. Warm baguettes are amazing. We've got some pretty amazing bread here in the SF Bay Area though too.

                                  1. America. I truly love baguettes and croissants, but here I can also mix things up with a good sourdough or a heart bagel. It's nice to have options.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      You can get pretty fine sourdough in Germany, too. Bagels? Well, not so much. But then bagels bore me. Too doughy.

                                      I know, blasphemy.

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Eh, I don't really like bagels either, they're just vehicles for cream cheese and lox to me, but I needed a second bread to prove my point. Maybe biscuits? Although those are just vehicles for gravy and ham...

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          But that's the problem. Good bread shouldn't need to be a vehicle for anything. And I say that as someone who rarely eats bread (unless I'm in Germany, of course).

                                    2. when I was little, my mother had a friend named Jean who was Italian. Jean lived with her mother, and her mother baked bread. I had never had anything but wonder type bread until then.

                                      Good Italian (preferably seeded) bread.

                                      2nd is sourdough in San Francisco

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: laliz

                                        only if the Italian bread is from a region where they use salt. The unsalted bread in Umbria is pretty dire (although the rest of the food rocks)

                                      2. UK. Such a wide variety of breads readily available. I can cross Europe - from Ireland to Turkey - just by visiting one shop a few minutes drive away.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Harters

                                          England's bread scene has improved from where it was 25 years ago. I remember the suprisingly awful breads I had in various visits to England in late 1980s; breads in Ireland, by contrast, were wonderful. I suspect Elizabeth David's work on recovering the English bread tradition finally took more widespread root in the last generation.

                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            In very many respects, the bread scene is now worse in the UK (not just the English part of it) than 25 years ago. The march of the supermarkets has resulted in many local bakers going out of business. Overall, there is less diversity and less craft skill. Since the introduction of the Chorleywood process in the 1960s, it now accounts for around 80% of our factory produced bread in what many see as an inauthentic bread making process. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13... . And, over the same period, bread consumption has consistently declined and continues to decline.

                                            That said, many of the craft bakers who have survived have diversified into producing different types of breads - not those from our normal tradition. And, of course, some of those bakers come from originally immigrant communities so produce breads from their culture . The shop I mentioned earlier produces 50 different breads - I reckon most of them are usually on sale (although I've never counted) - a total of 15000 loaves a week.