An illustrated guide to 12 traditional bread varieties of France 2
Food & Drink

An illustrated guide to 12 traditional bread varieties of France

The traditional bread varieties of France.
Rheea Hermoso-Prudente | Nov 13 2018

1. Pain Aux 6 Cereales

A sourdough-based loaf with a crisp crust and soft, open crumb. Made with a combination of whole wheat flour and rye flour mixed with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and rolled oats. Perfect as sandwich bread, with butter, or on its own.

2. Sourdough Rye

Made with rye levain that gives it a peppery flavor. Holds its own when eaten with dry wines, specialty cheeses, smoked meats, and dips.

3. French Sourdough

Sturdy loaf with a golden brown, crisp crust and open crumb. The mildly sour flavor comes from the levain, or French wheat sour. Good as table bread, with butter, or for sandwiches.

An illustrated guide to 12 traditional bread varieties of France 3
Ian Castañares

4 and 5. 100 % Whole Grain Bread

Dark brown crust with a smooth, closed crumb. Made of unrefined whole wheat flour with a bit of rye flour, mixed with wheat germ, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds. Excellent when lightly toasted and spread with soft cheese or butter, or eaten with nutty cheeses like emmental. Its low glycemic index makes it perfect for those who need high-fiber complex carbs.

6. Bavarian-Style Pretzel

A soft pretzel with a glossy, mildly salty crust and doughy, tender interior. Delicious on its own. The delicacy is popular in the region of Alsace where German is still spoken.

7. Baguette á l’Ancienne

Crisp, golden brown crust with a nice, chewy crumb. Good as dipping bread (in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, for example), or with butter and jam, or other spreads. Perfect for deli sandwiches.

8. Pain aux Raisins

Soft loaf made with eggs, butter, and raisins. Light brown crust with a soft, open crumb and mildly sweet flavor. Delicious on its own, lightly toasted, and spread with butter or creamy cheese to contrast with the sweetness.

An illustrated guide to 12 traditional bread varieties of France 4
Ian Castañares

9. Demi Baguette

A half portion of the regular baguette. Excellent for one- or two-serving sandwiches.

10. Miche

A large, rustic, round loaf (“miche” is said to be French slang for ”butt cheek”) with a hard, dark brown crust. Markedly sour with a soft and chewy crumb. Good with soups, for sandwiches, or on its own.

11. Crusty Rolls

Small rolls made from French bread dough ideal for small or demi-sandwiches.

12. Pain Complet

A large, rustic, round loaf made of rye levain, giving it a slightly sour, peppery flavor. Golden brown, crisp-chewy crust and smooth crumb. Good with dry wines, specialty cheeses, and smoked meats. Can also hold dips and dressings well.


Photographs by Ian Castañares

This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Vol 8 2012.