Breads from Around the World

savouring flavours and traditions...from your kitchens to ours

a person holds a round loaf of bread
Pexels / Josh Beaver

There's nothing quite like the aroma of freshly baked bread, and the act of making and breaking bread in community with one another is a powerful tradition that can be seen across places and cultures since ancient times.


From everyday staples to celebratory treats, and from the thinnest of flatbreads to the fluffiest of rolls, we can find bread in all kinds of shapes, flavours, and sizes. In an appreciation for the way that this food serves as an integral part of so many cultural experiences, for this list we've highlighted just a few traditional breads that hold significance for people around the world.


1. Challah

Pexels / Rodnae Productions

This sweet, eggy loaf is baked into symbolic designs (like braided loaves for the 12 tribes of Israel, each represented by a bump). Challah is eaten on special days in Jewish communities, like the Sabbath.


2. Pan de Muerto

Pan de muerto on a table
Unsplash / Gerardo Covarrubias

Decorated with bone-like pieces, this sweet, soft bread has direct ties to Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Pan de muerto is placed on an altar as an offering for the dead as they return to the land of the living.


3. Pandesal

Pandesal for breakfast - Ewen Roberts, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Ewen Roberts

This sweet, soft and airy bread roll is a Filipino-favourite. As a traditional staple, pandesal has been eaten for generations—it’s so popular that small villages are known to have it delivered in from city bakeries.


4. Bammy

Bammies on a plate
Wikimedia Commons / Jongleur100

The history of this sweet, nutty flatbread history dates back hundreds of years—bammy was eaten by Jamaica's earliest Indigenous people, the Arawaks.


5. Lavash

Lavash - Ji-Elle, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Ji-Elle

This bubbly, thin flatbread is protected under UNESCO as part of Armenia's cultural heritage. Lavash may be placed around newlywed’s shoulders at weddings, as the bread symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.


6. Shaobing

Shaobing - ZhengZhou, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / ZhengZhou

This sweet or savoury sesame seed flatbread comes with a rich history. Legends trace shaobing's beginnings in Northern China's Shandong province back to the Han Dynasty, making it one of the region's oldest known traditional foods.


7. Dampfnudel

Dampfnudeln - Silar, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Silar

This sweet or savoury steamed dumpling comes with a unique story. A 17th-century German baker is said to have appeased a threatening army by making Dampfnudeln for them, and the town still celebrates this heritage story to this day with an annual festival.


8. Injera

Injera - Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Alicha

This tangy, spongy flatbread originates in Ethiopia and can be traced back to ancient times. Injera doubles as a mealtime platter and its texture is perfect for soups, stews, and sauces.


9. Bannock

Inuit bannock - By CambridgeBayWeather - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4702880
Wikimedia Commons / CambridgeBayWeather

With traditional bannock recipes found from coast to coast, this doughy fried bread has become a cultural icon in Indigenous communities—references to bannock can be found across cultural films and other media.



 

What breads do you associate with your own roots? Are there certain smells, tastes, or feelings that stand out in your memories? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll add it in the next roundup.