While both Italy and France are well known for their delicious breads, there are distinct differences between the two. From ingredients and preparations to how each country presents their bread on the table, Italy and France differ greatly while both providing patrons with inarguably the best bread in the world. Continue reading to find out the ways in which Italian and French bread differ.
Shapes and Sizes
The easiest way to tell the difference between French and Italian breads are from their appearance. Though this does not work all the time, you can often judge a piece of bread and assume its origin. French bread is often long in shape with rounded edges, while Italian bread is more circular and flat in its nature. The baguette, which translates to “stick,” is the most common type of French bread. Baguettes are what most people picture when they think about French bread; long-shaped and white bread. Not only is the baguette common amongst French restaurants in Boston, it is eaten in restaurants and homes in each of France’s 22 provinces. Another common French bread is couronne bread which is commonly found in the shape of a ring and uses wheat or rye dough.
Though most of the ingredients between the two variations are similar, the major difference between Italian and French breads are how controlled the two are. In France, bread is legally not allowed to have fat or oil added to its breads. French bread must be made simply with water, flour, salt and yeast while Italian bread recipes are free to include milk, olive oil and even sugar.
French bread is most often baked in electric convection ovens while the Italians use a more classic method of flat stone ovens. This baking method gives Italian bread the smoky flavor it is well-known for.
The biggest difference between the tastes of Italian and French breads are sweet vs. savory. Though they don’t use sugar in their ingredients, French bread often has sweet taste. The most common sweet French bread is brioche, which uses unsalted butter and eggs added to the dough to give it a sweet finish. Italy, on the other hand, values a more savory taste for their loaves. Focaccia bread, similar to pizza dough, is Italy’s finest savory bread, often topped with something to hone the savory flavor such as salt, olive oil, or herbs.
If you’re looking for the best bread in Boston’s North End, come to our panetteria located at 241 Hanover Street. We offer an assortment of various Italian breads, baked fresh daily!