Bread, a food staple with a rich history, is commonly prepared from dough made of flour and water and baked. As one of the oldest artificial foods, bread has held an essential role since the advent of agriculture, showing its popularity across different cultures and regions. The diversity of bread lies in the variations of ingredients, types of flour used, traditional recipes followed, and methods of preparation employed. This diversity gives rise to bread’s many types, shapes, sizes, and textures found around the world.

Bread can be leavened through various natural or artificial processes, like the use of microbes in sourdough recipes or high-pressure aeration during preparation or baking. Some types remain unleavened due to preference or for religious and traditional reasons. Non-cereal ingredients like fruits, nuts, and fats, along with non-nutritional additives, may be incorporated in commercial bread to enhance flavor, texture, color, shelf life, or ease of manufacturing.

Bread is versatile in its uses: it can be served in various forms at any meal of the day, be used as a snack, or feature as an ingredient in other culinary preparations. Its significance extends beyond nutrition, playing essential roles in religious rituals, secular culture, and language. This importance is reflected in proverbs, prayers, and even the etymology of words like “companion” and “company,” both suggesting a shared experience centered around bread.