Field Guide to Bread

Sandwich Bread

This here is your general loaf bread. The saying "best thing since sliced bread" is no meager maxim. Busy places like delicatessens (and kid-filled homes) rely on the efficiency of sliced bread to speed up the sandwich-making process. White, wheat, rye and pumpernickel varieties offer slight textural differences and modest flavor contrasts. Commonly seen in deli sandwiches like grilled cheese, tuna fish, egg salad, corned beef and the Club.


Long, crusty and generally soft enough inside to receive a full complement of ingredients, the baguette immediately elevates everyday sandwich combos to something a bit more sophisticated. In a well-crafted French baguette, ingredients as simple as ham and cheese or tuna and sliced hard-boiled eggs become unforgettable meals. They are the usual mode of transport for banh mi sandwiches, French Dips and the summery Caprese.

Hoagie Roll

The hoagie bun is like a wider, softer and paler version of the French baguette, making it ideal for American diners who might be put off by a ruthlessly crusty exterior. The bland and forgiving white bread provides a roomy blank canvas on which to build sandwiches like the Italian sub, Philly Cheesesteak and the pressed and griddled Cubano.


The king of the breakfast sandwich, the bagel is best known for open-face delights like a bagel and schmear with lox, onion and capers. Bagels also are used as the vehicle of choice for all matter of morning sandwiches, the best usually involving some arrangement of bacon, egg and cheese. Of course, delis use them in place of sandwich bread for countless combinations.

Ciabatta Bread 

Broad, squat and slipper shaped, the ciabatta has a characteristically dusty, floury exterior and airy, chewy crumb. The mini loaf's uniform shape and thickness make it ideally suited for all matter of sandwiches, many of which feature flavorful spreads like pesto that fill the cracks and crevices in the bread.

More on the sandwich:

A Cleveland Journey Through Our Favorite Things Between Two Slices of Bread

The Polish Boy: A Brief History

Behold the BLT, the World's Greatest Sandwich

About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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