I always bought French bread, but one day they were out, so I bought Italian and that's been our fave for a long time. Nicer flavor and texture. When I make home made dressing, I use the Italian bread that I have let dry out.
Originally posted by conrad: .......A true bakery version tends to be different. Thin narrow loaf, dense and heavy with a harder crust for French. Larger, wide loaf and lighter texture and softer crust for Italian.
Exactly what I was going to say. That's the reason I don't usually eat French bread..the crust is too hard for me. Now authentic Cuban bread is the best of both. Really crispy flaky crust and soft on the inside.
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Posts: 7276 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: Feb 12, 2005
Unless it is VERY freshly baked, French is often a bit too crusty for me too, z9lady. Slicing it in 3/4 inch pieces and sprinkle pieces with grated cheese (pop in the microwave just for the cheese to melt) and it is a great side addition to pasta or soup however.
IMO one cannot generalize about breads made outside their country of origin. Any bakery in North America can use whatever recipe they like and call it whatever they like. Most people don't know the difference unless they've actually eaten the local breads in France or Italy.
When we camped near the beach in the south of France there was a bakery truck that came by every morning and sold baguettes still warm from the oven. Delicious slathered with real butter and jam! Soft inside with a crunchy crust. Because preservatives are not used in bread in France it quickly goes stale.
We also traveled in Italy and I seem to remember the bread had a chewier crust and was a bit heavier than the baguettes. However there are many regional differences in recipes also.
We lived in Germany and many Saturdays DH would go to the nearby backerei and buy bread for breakfast. Many of the breads there are quite heavy and rye is a common grain used. The crusts on most of those breads are hard and very chewy. Interiors are heavy.
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Having worked in a couple of grocery store bakeries....the french & italian are often the same dough just treated differently when being preped and baked. If I want a better bread, I either bake it myself or find a GOOD independent bakery.
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French bread uses only water for the liquid component. Italian bread often has milk in the ingredients and the dough is usually more moist before baking. The fat content of milk gives it a softer consistency on the inside. In my opinion, Italian bread has slightly more flavor.
I absolutely agree with joyluck. If you have eaten French bread in France or Italian bread in Italy you now there is a huge difference. I have actually never found any bread in the USA, anywhere, that tastes like the bread in France. Italian bread is quite different also.