The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Bread

Updated: Dec. 01, 2023

If you've ever been curious about the difference between a French boule and an Italian loaf, you're in the right spot. Bread is an important part of diets all over the world, so it's helpful to know a little bit about the baked staple. Here's our guide to different types of bread.

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White Bread

Many people think of plain white bread when they envision a loaf. This bread is made with all-purpose or bread flour, or a combination of the two, and is usually soft, fluffy and perfect for sandwiches.

Get Our Recipe for Basic Homemade Bread

Check out our ultimate bread baking guide for more tips and tricks!

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Sourdough Bread

Sourdough doesn’t use packaged yeast but instead relies on wild yeasts that occur naturally. To make sourdough you’ll need a sourdough starter or a banneton basket, but the added effort is worth it when you take a bite of that tangy, chewy slice.

Get Our Recipe for Sourdough Bread

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Wheat Bread

Since whole wheat flour still contains the nutritious components of the wheat kernel, whole wheat bread is thought to be better for your body than white bread. Plus, it’s more sturdy than a bread made with just white flour. Whichever one you go with, you’re going to want to know how to keep bread fresh.

Get Our Recipe for Wholesome Wheat Bread

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Multigrain Bread

Multigrain bread shares many of the same qualities as wheat bread, but it can also contain whole grains other than wheat, such as oats, rice or even cereal. These whole grains give the bread more texture, as well as additional flavor. Learn more about the differences between whole wheat and whole grain bread.

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Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
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Gluten-Free Bread

This type of bread not only requires special gluten-free flour, but it also incorporates gums and binders that help perform the functions that gluten usually accomplishes. When made correctly, it can be difficult to distinguish gluten-free bread from a regular loaf! Learn what happens to your body when you abstain from gluten.

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Josh’s Marbled Rye Bread
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Rye Bread

Rye bread relies on rye flour for that signature earthy taste. It can be found in both dark and light varieties, or a marbled mixture of the two. One great use for rye bread is a classic Reuben sandwich.

Get Our Recipe for Josh’s Marbled Rye Bread

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Egg Bread

Breads like challah and brioche are extra rich thanks to a high proportion of eggs in the dough. These breads are certainly delicious on their own (no toppings required!) but they also make a wonderful batch of French toast.

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Potato Bread

In a loaf of potato bread, some of the regular flour is replaced with potato flour, flakes or plain mashed potatoes. Its texture is a bit thicker than typical sandwich breads, and be warned—it does have a hint of potato flavor. If you’re curious about various flours and when to use them, check out our flour guide.

Get Our Recipe for Amish Potato Bread

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No-knead honey oatmeal bread
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No-Knead Bread

Not in the mood for an arm workout? No-knead bread requires less work than traditional loaves. Simply mix the dough together and then let it rise. It’s an easy bread for beginner bakers.

Get Our Recipe for No-Knead Honey Oatmeal Bread

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Dutch-Oven Bread

When it comes to baking bread, you have more options than a standard loaf pan. Oven-safe dutch ovens are a great vessel for bread, as are cast-iron skillets. We also love this pan designed for bread bakers, by bread bakers.

Get Our Recipe for Dutch-Oven Bread

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French Bread

While there are many types of French bread, some of the most popular kinds—like baguettes and boules—have an extremely crusty exterior and a chewy crumb, making them perfect for tearing, dipping or slathering with butter. It’s not uncommon for these breads to require a lengthy preparation process.

Get Our Recipe for a Crusty French Loaf

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mom’s italian bread
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Italian Bread

Super soft with a light, chewy crust, Italian breads are an absolute delight—especially fresh out of the oven. There are many different types of Italian bread, but this Italian loaf pairs great with your favorite Italian pasta recipes or just a pat of butter.

Get Our Recipe for Mom’s Italian Bread

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Focaccia Bread

Focaccia has a thin crust and a moist, absorbent interior. It’s made with olive oil and yeast and is ideal for eating as an appetizer or sopping up rich pasta sauces. This bread is also super versatile. You can add olives, peppers, cheese, sausage slices—whatever toppings you’d like! Focaccia bread is practically edible art.

Get Our Recipe for Olive Focaccia

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Beer Bread

Instead of yeast, beer bread relies on the fizzy fermentation of your favorite brew. It’s often flavored with complementary ingredients like cheeses, herbs or honey.

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Fruited Yeast Bread

Many cultures have special-occasion breads they make for holidays. The loaves might be packed with dried fruits, citrus zests and nuts and are definitely worthy of a celebration. This twisted star bread is another impressive holiday bread to try.

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Quick Bread

As their name implies, quick breads don’t require any yeast. Instead, they use baking soda, baking powder or a combination of the two to rise. Banana bread and pumpkin bread are two popular examples, but there are so many types of quick breads to try!

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Homemade Irish Soda Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Soda Bread

Soda bread is commonly associated with Ireland. It’s a quick bread that uses only baking soda to rise. The resulting loaf is dense, moist and quite hearty; if you want to lighten it up a little, add some baking powder (but don’t let your Irish ancestors catch you!)

Get Our Recipe for Homemade Irish Soda Bread

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Whether they’re soft and pillowy or thin and crunchy, breadsticks are a divine side dish to an Italian meal. Or, pair them with your favorite marinara sauce for an easy appetizer.

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Biscuits are small round breads with a fluffy interior and a browned exterior. They’re raised using baking powder or baking soda and often incorporate buttermilk. The flaky texture of this breakfast delight makes a biscuit perfect for applying butter, jellies and jams. Seriously, a biscuit goes with anything!

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Dinner Rolls

Classic dinner rolls rely on white flour for a soft, pillowy texture that’s perfect for pairing with meats, soups and stews. You can also find variations made with wheat flour, herbs, spices cheese—you name it.

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Crescent Rolls

Similar to dinner rolls, crescent rolls are designed to accompany your favorite meal. They’re made from a soft, fluffy dough which is cut and rolled into that signature accordion shape.

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Pass the cream cheese, please! Bagels are a morning staple characterized by a dense, chewy bite. They’re ideal for making sandwiches or slathering with spreads.

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Cornbread is a staple on tables in the South, but it has found its way to other parts of the country, too. The bread is unique thanks to its reliance on cornmeal, giving it an almost gritty and super-absorbent texture.

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An important part of some Asian cuisines (particularly Indian), naan bread is a soft, slightly chewy flatbread. It’s traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, but a hot cast-iron skillet works well, too. As the flatbread cooks it puffs full of air and then deflates, creating bubbles. Naan is perfect for pairing with your favorite curry.

Get Our Recipe for Coconut Garlic Naan

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A staple in Mexico, tortillas are a thin, chewy flatbread. They’re traditionally made with masa harina (a flour made from dried corn kernels) or all-purpose flour. Tortillas are the perfect vessel for tacos, burritos and so many other Mexican recipes.

Get Our Recipe for Homemade Tortillas