Pita bread in oven Pita bread in oven Pita bread gets warm and crispy in the oven at California-based Mediterranean restaurant Golden Falafel. (Photo: Vera Yu and David Li / Flickr)

10 international breads to satisfy your inner carb lover

From pita to baguettes, the world is one big bread basket.

Bread is a staple food of many cultures. Inexpensive and easy to make, it's a good source of energy and filling, too. Strictly speaking, bread is any dough made from flour and water, which leaves the actual outcome open to interpretation. Here are 10 of our favorite interpretations.


Naan: India

NaanNaan (Photo: Nadir Hashmi/Flickr)

This flatbread is popular in several South Asian countries, in America we associate it with India because Indian cuisine is popular in the U.S. Typically brushed with butter, it's great for dipping in rich sauces.


Focaccia: Italy

FoccaciaFoccacia (Photo: michelle@TNS/Flickr)

Italy is full of amazing bread, but focaccia might be the best. Usually made with flour, oil, water, salt and yeast, it has made its way across the Atlantic to the U.S., where it is a common site at markets and restaurants. It's usually sprinkled with a little sea salt and olive oil or topped with vegetables.


Pita: Israel

PitaPita (Photo: cunaplus/Shutterstock)

This slightly leavened flatbread is as comfortable cradling shawarma, falafel and vegetables in its "pocket" as it is being torn to pieces and dipped in hummus, baba ghanoush or any number of other condiments. Israelis love it and for good reason – it doesn't need to be smothered in butter or salt.


Tortilla: Mexico

A basket of tortillasA basket of tortillas (Photo: David Boté Estrada/Flickr)

The flour tortilla was introduced to Mexico when Europeans brought wheat flour to the New World many centuries ago. Today, along with the corn tortilla (which has been around much longer), it dominates Mexican cuisine. Tortillas are so versatile that it's almost impossible to sit down to a meal without them being served.


Quick Bread: United States

Beer breadBeer bread (Photo: Paul Capewell/Flickr)

Quick bread was most likely created by Americans in the late 18th century who were in need of sustenance but lacking in yeast and eggs. Instead, other leavening agents were used such as baking powder, which made the dough rise quickly (hence "quick" bread) . Banana bread, beer bread, biscuits and many other familiar fixtures at American dining tables are versions of quick breads.


Lavash: Armenia

LavashLavash (Photo: Marco Polo/Flickr)

A common site at any Armenian meal is lavash, a flatbread made from a simple combination of flour, water and salt. Usually thin, it's perfect for dipping but is also used for wraps. Lavash is an integral part of the country's identity.


Baguette: France

Baguettes in a basketBaguettes in a basket (Photo: wideonet/Shutterstock)

Perhaps the most iconic of all breads, synonymous with the French way of life to such an extent that its dough is defined by French law, is the baguette. Long and lean, it's essential to most meals in a country where it could be said that there are actually three certainties in life: Death, taxes and a baguette at the dining table.


Crumpet: United Kingdom

Crumpets on a plateCrumpets on a plate (Photo: D. Pimborough/Shutterstock)

These little hockey puck-shaped griddle cakes are an English tradition. Like quick bread baking soda is used rather than yeast. Unlike quick bread, crumpets seem to exist for little purpose other than as a vehicle for butter or jam (or both).


Arepa: Colombia/Venezuela

An ArepaAn Arepa (Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr)

Arepas are made with corn or dough and are common in the northern part of South America, especially Colombia and Venezuela. It can be served whole with cheese or avocado, but is usually sliced in half and used to make sandwiches. In the U.S. its popularity has begun to grow in recent years, with shops specializing in arepa sandwiches popping up in places like New York and Los Angeles.

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