Types of bread for toasting

Types of bread for toasting

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Published by
Quadrille Publishing
978 184949 700 8


Bagels are made from a slightly sweetened yeast dough which is poached in boiling water for a short time before baking. This sets a tough, elastic crust which keeps the texture of the bagel tight and firm. Bagels toast well, particularly when a little stale.


A good baguette is already extremely crisp-crusted so toasting can make it laceratingly sharp. That said, the open, airy crumb texture means that baguette toast has a great affinity for anything that benefits from ‘soaking up’.

Bloomer (Crusty White or Brown)

Bloomer is a British name for a hand-shaped crusty white or brown loaf. It’s cooked directly on the oven floor and relies on an elastic crust to hold its distinctive ‘cushion’ shape. Taste can vary but it’s a popular general-purpose loaf with good texture and toasting qualities.


A French yeast bread, enriched with butter, milk and eggs – the latter of which give it a lovely yellow colour. Brioche makes a fluffy, light toast with a pronounced sweetness, so it works well with jams and preserves but also, strangely, with pâtés and foie gras.


Challah is a traditional Jewish bread, usually made in a braided pattern. It tastes a lot like brioche and toasts in the same way, but it is ‘parve’ (the neutral category in Kosher foods) so contains no dairy products.


Ciabatta conjures up images of a centuries-old Italian tradition but in fact it was invented in 1982 specifically for sandwich making. The flavour is mild, the texture open and the crust soft. It toasts up a treat.


Good cornbread has a fudgy, cake-like consistency and is made with ground cornmeal instead of flour. Baking powder is used as a raising agent which means that a slight saltiness tempers the sweetness of the corn. Cornbread is difficult to brown and crisp but that hardly matters as it’s so delicious in its naked state.

Corn Tortilla

Corn tortillas are clearly not toast at all, but they make a fantastic base for toppings of all kinds. Made with finely ground cornmeal, they can be loaded up with Mexican-inspired ingredients, and once fried or toasted retain their crunch well.


‘Farmhouse’ generally indicates a more rustic loaf. Expect a tougher crust, perhaps a less regular crumb texture, but a more robust and yeasty flavour. If the bread is very moist and fresh, slice it and allow it to stand in the toaster (switched off) for an hour or two, which will dry it out a little.


A whole family of unleavened or lightly leavened breads from all corners of the globe. Flatbread is made by stretching out the dough on a griddle or slapping it onto the walls of the oven. As it has a closed, unaerated texture, it becomes crisp and brittle with toasting.


‘Granary’ flour is a product of the Hovis company, made by malting the basic grain, crushing and roasting before adding to brown flour and baking. It produces a dark, complex-flavoured loaf with good moisture, excellent keeping properties and the malt gives a smoky sweetness. Granary toasts well and is sturdy enough to stand up to weighty toppings.

Pan Pugliese

Pan pugliese is one of dozens of regional types of basic Italian rustic bread. It’s made with white flour and olive oil but is salted much less than many breads. It’s particularly good when stale and toasted in a lightly oiled frying pan.


Pumpernickel is a sourdough bread made from rye meal and grains. It’s cooked for up to 24 hours at a low temperature, giving it an earthy, almost chocolatey, flavour and a dense, fudgy texture. Even when stale, pumpernickel won’t make very crisp toast, but its depth of flavour makes this forgiveable.


Rye bread is made with varying proportions of rye flour which makes it denser and usually more brown in colour. It contains more dietary fibre than white breads and has a lower glycemic index (GI), making it so healthy your doctor will probably prescribe it.

Sandwich Loaf

Sandwich loaf (or, if you want to be really posh, ‘pain de mie’) is any white bread cooked in a square section tin, with soft crumb structure and good keeping properties. Most packaged ‘white sliced’ in the UK would qualify. As the name suggests, it’s intended to make sandwiches that will stay appetising for as long as possible on the plate. This moistness means it may be hard to toast, so you could dry slices a little in a cool oven before toasting if you want it shatteringly crisp.

Soda Bread

Soda bread refers to any bread raised with baking soda rather than yeast. Soda breads can range from crumpetlike individual ‘farls’ to cakey Irish wheaten breads. Soda bread works extremely well with sharp cheeses and bacon.


Sourdough is bread that has been raised with a natural ferment rather than commercial yeast. It has an elastic crumb texture and a slight sourness, most noticeable in the crust, from the lactic acid created during fermentation. Fresh sourdough is moist and takes ages to crisp in the toaster, but if allowed to stale a little it makes some of the most exceptional toast you’ll ever eat.


Spelt is a species of wheat. It happens to be a very ancient one and has quite a few positive health benefits over some modern varieties. The spelt grain can be treated in exactly the same way as regular wheat, so almost any type of bread can be made with spelt. In toasting terms, spelt breads behave in exactly the same way as their non-spelt counterparts.


One of a variety of nut breads, walnut benefits from toasting as the nuts take on a lovely smokiness. It’s quite sweet so particularly good with sharp or salty cheeses.


As the name implies, wholemeal flour uses more or less the whole of the grain, including parts of the oily ‘germ’ and the fibrous ‘husk’. Many types of bread can be made from it but they will be brown, nutty, usually coarse-textured and less risen than white or ‘refined’-flour loaves. Toasting brings out the nuttiness of wholemeal.

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