Food & Drink

On the Table: Make your own European-style bread

Bread lovers, you made yourselves known.

After last week’s column on European-style bread, you confirmed your interest in gritty, coarse, crusty bread with character. One reader confided that he makes his own in a bread machine, but the supermarket mixes he uses are made with refined, white flour.

How, he wondered, can he make bread using more whole grains instead?

From a nutritional standpoint, the most interesting breads, of course, are the whole-grain, fiber-filled kind. And while some delicious, traditional European varieties are made with white, refined flour, whole grain varieties arguably have more flavor and texture.

They’re more complex, like great wine. Their rustic looks and imperfect shapes give them character.

To learn how to make European-style bread, look for inspiration online, in a class or experiment at home.

But it’s easy to incorporate more whole grains into any bread recipe you follow. For starters, try some of these ideas:

If you don’t want to bake your own, buy it. In the Triangle, try such outlets as Weaver Street Market, Neomonde, Guglhupf, and Boulted Bread Company, among others. In Charlotte, try Nova’s Bakery.

If you find yourself looking for good, whole grain bread in the supermarket, remember a few rules for identifying quality:

If you’re used to eating processed, white breads, you may have to adjust to whole grain. Once you do, you’ll prefer it.

And you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill. Reach her at; follow her on Twitter, @suzannehobbs.