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Bread Varieties

Take a look at the little stories behind bread you may find in Japan, such as: pan bread, French baguette, country bread, croissant, pizza, soda bread, and German bread.

Pan Bread (Shokupan)

Pan Bread Group

Pan Bread

Pan bread originated in England. It is called Igirisu pan, meaning "English bread" in Japanese, or it is called Yamashokupan, meaning "mountain-shaped bread". Another name it is referred to is Kakushokupan, meaning "square-shaped bread", depending on its shape. In France, it is called Pain de Mie.

In England, bread is mostly sold in ready-sliced in packages. It is eaten with butter or spread like jelly, and as with sandwiches.

Pan bread is made of wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, milk, and a fat like butter. Some pan bread may also contain other ingredients such as whole-wheat flour. Whatever their contents, they are all baked in pans.

Pan bread is very popular in Japan as you may find it in most bakeries at any time of the year. However, in France, it is eaten during the Christmas season, and some of the bakeries may bake them only for Christmas time.

Baguette (France-pan)

Baguette Group


A variety of baguette is called France-pan, meaning "French Bread" in Japanese. According to its original founder, France, this group of breads is called Pain de Tradition, meaning "traditional bread". In order to be called by this name, there are regulations from method to size to follow in detail.

Baguettes, are sometimes referred to as lean bread, which actually means "stick" in French. There are many kinds of bread made of similar ingredients, and they are named after the shape of each kind, such as, Bourle, meaning "ball", Parisien, meaning "Parisian", Batard, meaning "hybrid", or Epi, meaning an "ear of wheat". As they vary in shape, a ratio of crust and crumb varies.

The baguette ingredients are as simple as wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. The crust hardens easily with time, and so it is best eaten within a day you bake (or of purchase). Once it hardens, you may use it for bread salad or mix it into soup.

Country Bread (Campagne)

Campagne Group

Country Bread

Country Bread is named Pain de Campagne, meaning "county bread". It used be sold only in the suburbs, and it was later introduced and sold in Paris by "bread sellers". The original French country bread was made for suburban people who could only go grocery shopping once in a while. Today it is still made so that it is preserved for days thanks to its slowly fermented yeast or natural leavening agents.

Country bread in general is made of wheat flour, rye flour, water, salt, and yeast. In Japan, there are many varieties of country bread, from the traditional French type to those with dried fruit, cheese, and bacon, etc.

In France, the shape of the bread varies according to the region.

Croissant (Croissant)

Croissant Group


The croissant has its origins in Vienna. It is said that croissant was first introduced to Paris by a bread artisan who was taken to Paris along with the Austrian princess, Marie-Antoinette. Whether it is true or not, this sort of bread with its enriched ingredients and sweet pastries is called Viennoiseries, meaning "Viennese" in French.

The croissant, in general, has layers of butter and thinly rolled out dough that is made of wheat flour, water, salt, and plenty of eggs and butter. In Japan, you may find many varieties of croissants, from the simplest to those with raisins, chocolate, anchovy and others.

Danish pastries are called Dannoise in French, and they also have several varieties, such as pasteries topped with sweet cream, fruit and nuts, shaped like an apple, a fan, a bear’s paw, and so on.

Pizza (Pizza)

Pizza Group


One of the most famous types of Italian bread, pizza, is generally made of wheat flour, water, salt and yeast, topped with tomato sauce, and baked in a stone hearth.

Pizza in northern Italy, such as in Milan and Rome, is totally different from the pizzas of Naples in southern Italy. Those in the north are very thin and crispy, just like one of the pizzas that you may find in an Italian restaurant in Japan. On the contrary, famous Neapolitan pizzas are much thicker and softer.

In order to be called a Neapolitan pizza, there are strict regulations to follow in detail, and the dough must not contain any olive oil. Neapolitan pizza made at home, however, contains olive oil, so that it is baked better in a household oven.

Another famous Italian bread is Focaccia. Focaccia is a flat bread made of wheat flour, water, salt and yeast, and it is topped with rock salt, herbs, olives as well as some other ingredients. Some olive oil is poured on top, and it is then baked at a high temperature in a stone hearth.

Soda Bread (Soda Bread)

Soda Bread Group

Soda Bread

Soda bread may not be well recognized in Japan, but it is a sort of bread that can be easily made by using baking soda or baking powder instead of yeast. Because it was originally made in Ireland, it is also called Irish soda bread.

Soda bread, in general, is made of weak wheat flour, water (or buttermilk), salt, sugar and baking soda. There are also other similar types of breads such as, scones, banana bread, nut breads and other bread that also use weak wheat flour and baking soda as ingredients. These breads may be served for English afternoon tea.

German Bread (Doitsu Pan)

German Bread Broup

German Bread

German bread is not really popular in Japan, but it is said that there are more than 300 kinds of breads in German-speaking countries in Europe.

Rye bread is believed to have originated in Germany. There is a wide range of breads made of rye flour in Germany. Because of the harsh northern climate and relatively poor soil quality, the growth of wheat was hindered, but because rye is so well suited to such conditions, it became a major crop in Germany.

Traditional German bread, such as Pumpernickel, is made of crushed or ground rye gains, water, salt, and a natural leavening agent called sourdough. It is dense but has a great flavour.

In northern Europe, it is usually sliced less than 1cm in thickness and can be eaten with a spread of butter, topped with pickled fish, ham, vegetable, or cheese, which may cover the bread completely.

In France, rye bread is called Pain de Seigle, meaning "bread of rye", and its texture and color is much lighter.

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