Which Breads to Use for Bruschetta

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In Italy, bruschetta is simply a slice of toasted bread. In the U.S., the term has come to mean a piece of bread, brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic, toasted or grilled and then mounted with diced tomato or other savory topping. Outside Italy, you also have a variety of choices about what bread to use as the basis for your bruschetta. In general, the more rustic in style, the better.

Country-Style Italian Bread

  • The very best bread to use for bruschetta is any loaf of crusty, country-style Italian bread. Pugliese, ciabatta or just about anything with a coarse crumb and large holes from air bubbles. The edges of those holes are going to crisp up and turn brown while the holes themselves are going to catch and cup the olive oil and garlic, plus any toppings, that will adorn the bruschetta.

Baguettes

  • Another possibility for a bruschetta base is a French-style baguette. It will have a finer crumb than a rustic Italian-style loaf but will still be sturdy enough to support any toppings you choose. Cut the baguette on the diagonal to produce longer, easier to handle pieces.

Sour vs. Sweet and Other Concerns

  • You can use either sourdough or a regular "sweet" loaf, according to your taste. More important is that it have a sturdy texture and a crispy crust. Also make sure to cut your bread thickly enough so that it won't disintegrate under the toppings.

Breads to Avoid

  • Do not try to make bruschetta on focaccia; it's too soft and risks turning soggy. Avoid ordinary sandwich bread for the same reason. If you use a flatbread such as pita, you will have a tasty dish but it will be more like pizza than bruschetta.

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