French vs. Italian Bread: What’s the Difference?

What do the French and Italian cuisines have in common? You guessed it: bread.

Both France and Italy specialise in the bread-making process. However, French and Italian breads are very different from each other. Let’s explore these differences in this blog.

First Impressions

What’s the first thing you notice when you see a loaf of bread? Its shape and size, of course! When it comes to distinguishing between French and Italian loaves of bread, you can clearly identify the two types after a single glance if you know what to look for.

French and Italian loaves are noticeably different in their appearances. The shapes and sizes of these loaves symbolize the two countries’ culture and heritage and thus, have unique features. Take the French baguette, for instance. It comes in a long and thin form and has rounded edges. In contrast, the Italian focaccia bread is baked in a flat and round shop. The stark differences in the appearance of French and Italian bread reflect the types of foods they’re usually served with and how they’re intended to be consumed.

Sweet or Savory?

French bread is typically sweeter and often served with breakfast foods. For instance, the French brioche is typically paired with eggs, bacon, or sweet toppings. Oh, and let’s not forget about the ever-popular brioche French toast! The dough for French bread is enriched with copious amounts of unsalted butter and eggs which brings out its sweetness.   

On the other hand, Italian bread is usually on the savory side and paired with tomatoes, cheese, and pork. The famous Carasau bread, for instance, is commonly eaten with lunchtime meals.

While most of the ingredients used to create French and Italian loaves of bread are more or less the same, there are a few items that add to the uniqueness of each bread type. French bread usually combines flour, water, yeast, and salt, and is free of fat. Italian bread tends to include olive oil, herbs, and milk that add to its distinctive taste and texture.


The Baking Process

Finally, there’s a stark difference in the way Italian and French loaves of bread are baked. The former is often prepared inside a flat stone oven. Alternately, wood-fire or stone ovens may be used to bake Italian flatbreads to give them their signature aroma and smoky flavour.

French loaves are usually prepared using electric convection deck ovens. This helps create a softer and less chewy texture as compared to Italian bread loaves. It also makes them perfect for sandwiches.

If you’ve never tried a baguette sandwich before, you’re missing out! Our African sandwich shop in Montreal offers some of the yummiest French-inspired African sandwiches in town.

Check out our menu here and order your choice of baguette sandwich.