There are so many types of French breads that have all kinds of uses.
With different uses and flavors, which one will you obsess over next?
When you think of countries with the best food, I guarantee France comes to mind.
That’s especially the case when you think about bread.
Baguettes, croissants, and even bread varieties you’ve never heard of all hail from France.
Each bread has its own flavor or shape or traditional use.
Read on to learn all you need to know about 15 popular types of French breads.
Baguettes are one of the most popular and well-known types of French bread.
They’re a staple in most French households.
The baguette is a long, thin loaf of bread. The outside crust is usually pretty crusty and the dough is simple.
There are many different types of baguettes including the baguette aux céréales or the baguette moulée.
Baguettes are also considered the national bread of France. If you were to visit, you’d find baguettes easily and often.
This crunchy bread is often soft on the inside and can be served in lots of ways. It’s fantastic with soup or saucy meals.
One of my personal favorite French breads is the beloved croissant.
Although it is more of a pastry, this buttery and flakey classic is super versatile.
They’re delicious and can be used in both sweet and savory applications.
From chocolate-filled to sandwich bread, croissants can be enjoyed any way you like.
Croissants are made by alternating layers of dough and butter.
The butter heats up in the oven, melts away, and leaves behind tons of layers.
This is a process called lamination, and it’s used for lots of flaky pastries.
The dough is usually rolled up into a crescent shape and can be sliced open for sandwiches or fillings.
I love eating soft croissants with fresh chicken salad.
You can also enjoy them for breakfast, warmed up and slathered with creamy butter and fruity jam.
Brioche is a French bread that’s made with enriched dough.
It’s super soft and fluffy and often has a rich flavor with a hint of sweetness.
It’s another type of bread that’s pretty versatile. Brioche can be used in sweet or savory recipes and is always a fantastic choice.
You can make brioche into a loaf and slice it up.
However, you can also make it into rolls or buns. Brioche makes a spectacular hamburger bun.
Soak your brioche in custard to make a heavenly French toast.
You can also spread some butter and fruit on top for a delicious dessert.
4. Pain de Mie
Pain de mie is a French bread whose name roughly translates to “crustless bread.”
It gets this name because the crust is really thin.
This bread is made with just a few basic ingredients.
Wheat flour, water, salt, sugar, shortening, and yeast are common pantry staples.
It’s often made commercially in a loaf form and sliced thin.
The texture of this bread is denser than some other French breads.
It’s still a very soft and tender bread that works wonderfully as sandwich bread.
I love this bread as toast for breakfast or a snack.
You can also use it to make a classic French sandwich called a Croque Monsieur.
Fougasse is an incredibly fun bread that’s perfect for any occasion.
This easily recognizable bread will impress any crowd.
This bread actually originated in ancient Rome. Since then, it has become popular in Provence and Southern France.
Fougasse loaves are flat and cut into the shape of a leaf to look like wheat.
It’s versatile, adaptable, and super pretty to look at.
This bread can be made sweet or savory. It’s often flavored with orange water and sugar.
It’s also frequently made with olives or cheeses inside of the dough.
If you make this bread, don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients.
You can add veggies, peppers, nuts, or spices. My favorite combination is chocolate chips and walnuts.
6. Boule de Pain
Boule de Pain is a sourdough type French bread. It’s often shaped into a free-form, domed loaf.
The dough is made with wheat flour. Although it’s similar to pain de Campagne, boule de pain does not contain rye.
The texture of this bread is soft and chewy in the middle with a golden brown exterior.
Since it’s similar to sourdough, boule de pain can be used as a bread bowl. Just cut the top off and hollow out the middle.
Another thing I love about this bread is that you can customize the flavor.
Add ingredients like olives, cheese, or fresh herbs.
This is a fantastic bread to serve warm with salty French butter.
7. Pain de Campagne
Pain de Campagne is another round, free-form loaf. The name actually translates to “country bread.”
This is a very common bread in France and it’s made all over the country.
Pain de Campagne is a wonderful everyday bread, and it’s great in communal settings.
Similar to sourdough, this bread is full of flavor thanks to the rye and wheat. The texture is lovely and the crust is always crisp.
Use this bread as a base for toast or sandwiches.
Put some gooey cheese between two slices and you’ll have the best grilled cheese of your life.
Then, dip it into a flavorful tomato soup for an even better meal.
8. Pain Brie
Pain brie is a tasty French bread with a unique characteristic.
Unlike most breads from this region, pain brie has a soft and tender crust.
It also has a very unusual shape and an incredible buttery flavor.
Pain brie gets its name from the ancient machinery that was used to beat the dough. Brie in French actually means “to beat.”
During the kneading process, the dough develops more gluten than other breads. This leads to a tighter crumb.
The buttery aroma and flavor of pain brie make this an irresistible bread variety. There’s no need to overdo it on the flavors or serving style.
This bread is often best when served with some melted butter.
Ficelle is a long thin bread that’s similar to but smaller than a baguette.
Ficelle translates to “string,” which is a loose description of this bread’s appearance.
Ficelle bread uses both bread flour and all-purpose bread.
The result is a soft and fluffy interior with a satisfyingly crisp exterior.
Again, it’s similar to a baguette but smaller in diameter.
Ficelle loaves are super yummy when cut into small rounds and toasted.
You can add so many different toppings to them, from simple olive oil or butter to flavor-packed bruschetta.
I love this bread as an appetizer or even for homemade gift baskets around the holidays.
10. Pain au Son
Pain au son is a traditional French bread made using bran.
In fact, in order for bread to be considered “pain au son,” it needs to consist of at least 25% bran.
The ingredients in this type of French bread are simple.
Just combine oat bran with yeast, flour, honey, salt, and warm water. Knead the dough and let it rise.
Once the bread rises, it’s flattened into an oval shape and baked.
This bread turns a delicious golden-brown color and it’s super tasty while it’s still warm.
Plus, since it has a touch of honey in it, the subtle sweetness is lovely.
Use pain au son as a breakfast toast or sandwich bread.
You can also slather it with butter or add fruit or preserves.
Faluche originates in Northern France and can also be found in Southern Belgium.
It has a unique shape and a few other special characteristics.
This bread is pale white in color and the texture is soft and dense.
The shape is also somewhat disk-like. It’s neither round nor flat, but somewhere in between.
Faluche loaves are often baked first thing in the morning.
While bakery ovens are heating up, Faluche can bake at a low to high temperature. That’s what gives it the pale coloring.
This type of French bread can be used in a similar way that you would enjoy a bagel.
Smear on some smooth cream cheese and everything seasoning or even some smoked salmon.
Fouee bread is a traditional French bread often served with goat cheese. They’re super light and airy.
This bread variety closely resembles a Greek pita or Latin-American sopapilla.
They’re often baked in a wood-burning oven that gets super hot.
When they bake, the dough balloons and fills with air. This creates a pocket that can be used to hold all types of fillings.
Fouee is great for sandwiches thanks to this handy built-in pocket.
You can add your favorite meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces.
No matter what you fill this bread with, you’re sure to love this semi-familiar French bread.
13. Pain au Chocolat
Pain au chocolat is likely your favorite bread on this list. I can’t deny that it’s mine too!
Pain au chocolat is a chocolate filled croissant.
The name translates to “chocolate bread.” However, this flaky pastry is so much more than your average bread.
Unlike a traditional croissant, pain au chocolat is usually shaped into a rectangle.
It usually has one or two long pieces of chocolate in the middle.
These sweet and indulgent pastries can be served at room temperature or warm.
I personally prefer them straight from the oven. Make them at home and you will not regret it.
Gibassier is another French bread that is more often considered a pastry.
They’re beautiful, tasty, and soon to be one of your favorites.
Gibassier pastries originate in Provence.
They’re flavored with aromatic anise, orange blossom water, and candied orange peel. They’re a true delight.
These pastries are somewhat hard to find. Unless you make them yourself, you’ll likely only find them in Provence.
The dough is rolled out and cut into floral or leaf shapes and coated with sugar.
The sweet dough and crunch from the sugar are unforgettable.
If you’re lucky enough to find them in a bakery, you must try them.
15. Pain Couronne
Pain couronne is a rustic loaf formed into the shape of a crown.
Yup, you guessed it. That’s how it got its name! Couronne is French for “crown.”
The bread is similar to sourdough and has a crispy crust and soft, chewy interior.
It also has that tasty sour flavor that you know and love.
Because of the shape of the pain couronne, it’s perfect for parties and holidays.
It definitely has a little more flair than a round or flat loaf.
This bread makes a beautiful centerpiece. It can also be treated like a giant bagel.
Slice it in half along the whole loaf and slather on butter or cream cheese.
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