No meal in France is complete without bread whether one decides to eat it at home or at a fine dining restaurant. Many people have described selecting bread as a ‘way of life’. Bread in French is spelled as ‘Pain’ and pronounced as ‘Pan’. Today, France has a number of independent bakeries and boulangeries, where bakers now produce and bake an artisan selection of breads made with different flours and other condiments.
Here is a guide of the 15 most famous breads eaten in France to let you know everything about it.
Top 15 Varieties of French Bread
1. La Baguette
Baguette could easily be the most recognized French bread across the world. Made with flour, yeast, water and salt, this long, thin loaf has a chewy interior with holes and a golden crust.
2. Pain de Campagne
Pain de Campagne is often referred to as ‘country bread’ or ‘French sourdough’. Made with bread flour, whole wheat and rye flour. This bread has a rustic appearance with a sublime flavor.
Croissant is a flaky, buttery, layered pastry cum bread in the shape of a crescent. Croissant has a light and airy texture with a little crisp. It gets its golden-brown color from the layered butter that goes into making it.
In French, the word ‘ficelle’ translates to ‘string’. A ficelle is long and thin almost similar to a baguette. A ficelle loaf is usually covered with a layer of sesame, poppy, sunflower and flax seeds. For people who love a crusty bread, this is a perfect bread for you, as it has a crustier ratio.
5. Pain au Son
Pain au Son is a French bran bread. The main ingredient used to make this bread is bran along with flour, yeast and water. When the dough has rested for a while, it is first sprinkled with oat bran and then baked in a loaf pan.
6. Pain d’épices
Pain d’épices is an old classic French loaf bread. This bread is flavored with a powdered mixture of nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and mace. The dark brown color of the bread comes from the plentiful amount of honey added to it.
Brioche is a soft, moist and tender French bread made with generous amounts of egg and butter. With its golden-brown color, Brioche can be made in different sizes and shapes.
8. Pain de Mie
Often called Sandwich Bread in France, pain de mie is made with wheat flour, water, salt, sugar and yeast. This bread has a thin layer of brown crust and a thick soft white interior. Baked in a square pan, this bread is ideal to prepare sandwiches.
9. Pain Complet
Pain Complet translates simply to brown bread. This bread is made with whole grain flour and has fiber which is richer than most French breads.
10. Pain à l’ ail
In French, Pain à l’ ail simply means Garlic Bread. An extremely popular bread in France and around the world, the bread loaf is made with flour, water, salt and yeast. Once freshly baked, it is topped with a butter-garlic mixture along with parmesan cheese and parsley and then put to bake once again.
11. Pain Aux Noix
Pain Aux Noix is prepared with whole wheat flour; chopped sweet walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are also added to this bread. The bread is usually shaped into a round loaf. The nuts that get added to the bread give it a sweet-savory texture and taste.
Gibassier is a luxurious French breakfast bread made with flour, butter and olive oil. The bread is flavored with orange peels and anise seeds and then shaped to resemble the fleur- de-lis symbol.
13. Pain brie
Pain brie is an artisan bread from the French province of Normandy. In French, the word brie means to pound. Pain brie is known as pounded bread because the dough is kneaded several times, before it is baked which leads to a tight crumb with a soft exterior.
Fougasse is a French flatbread that is similar to Italy’s focaccia. The bread is traditionally shaped to look like leaf. The exterior of the bread is crispy while the interior is soft and doughy. Fresh herbs and olive oil are added onto the bread
15. Pain Couronne
In French, Couronne means crown and that is where Pain Couronne gets its shape and name. This sourdough bread is fluffy and fresh and is topped generously with butter and herb seeds just before baking.