Jun 4, 2010

Bread Shapes

The shapes that bread has acquired over the years are as fascinating as--- well.... I don't know, but they're darn fascinating! Each shape is a testament to history and innovation of each culture and I would like to share some *basic* shapes with you. Later I plan on doing seperate posts to show you how to do each of them. Please keep in mind that these are the basic and common shapes.

Boule (Boo-l)

France really shaped the way we view bread, so most of our terms and names for bread come from French. Boule in French simply means ball. The boule shape is clasic French. In fact, before the French annexed the baguette shape, the boule shape was actually the most common shape for bread. It is not as popular as it once was because boule slices are not the same size, but they are great for being tosted and buttered.


This is also a French word. Sadly it's a cuss word in French, so I'll leave the translating to you. (Hint: add a 's') Most people call it the torpedo shape because it sounds just a bit nicer. The batard shape really has roots in Italy where the ciabatta shape is common.


Despite what people might think, the baguette shape is not a traditional bread shape to France. It was really picked up during the world war era. Food Purists really dislike the shape claiming that the boule is much better and more traditional. The true history of the bread is really unknown, but it is said that king Louis XIV loved long skinny bread.

Sandwich Loaf

The sandwich loaf is very common practically everywhere! It was formed to make even shapes, which the boule could not. The name sandwich comes from the Earl of Sandwich, who in the 18th century ordered his servant to bring him two pieces of sliced bread and some meat. From there he put meat in the middle so that his fingers wouldn't get dirty while playing cards.

Braided Loaf

The braided loaves are always beautiful. The Jews are really credited with the shape with their challah (Ha-la). Jews eat this bread at certain festivals and holy days to remember the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. The shape take some technique, but when conquered--- sorry! I should rather say attained --- it is a great show stopper.

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