Menus with or without wine, white with fish and red with meat, pairings or harmonies, dry for an aperitif and sweet for dessert… the culinary world is full of indecision. Questions can also arise with bread, although until now portions have worried us most: should we have one or half?
In general, cooking is also guided by common sense. For example, if you eat something with sauce, a doughy bread would always be recommended for mopping it up. But things change if you have a sandwich to be eaten standing up as you must consider a bread with a harder crust which can support the weight of the filling.
It is also normal to recommend that a flavourful bread should be eaten with things that won’t mask the taste, like softer cheeses or mild cured meats. And on the contrary, if you have a very flavourful meal, it is best to opt for a white, seedless bread that only contributes texture and a mild flavour.
Among the obvious harmonies are crunchy white breads or crackers with cured meats, serving as a contrast to their saltiness; Smoked fish goes well with rye, as its dough has a more bitter taste; and corn bread goes well with sweet foods such as jams, butters and quince jelly. White bread, the classic loaf, is perfect for lamb or roast meats and wholegrain goes well with strong soups and stews for its intense flavour. Country bread, with its compact dough, is ideal with rice as well as for sandwiches with melted cheese.
Lastly, we have what is known as black bread, associated with central European countries. Bursting with flavour, it is suitable for fatty foods like salmon, smoked fish and salads with bitter vegetables like spinach, arugula and endive.