Baked goods

Baked goods are an integral part of our diet and have a long and rich history dating back to the beginnings of human civilization. The first baked goods probably appeared as early as the Neolithic period when people started growing cereals and grinding them into flour. Since then, baked goods have become an integral part of many cultures worldwide and have undergone countless variations and innovations.

Cornetto, the Italian version of the French croissant.
Cornetto, the Italian version of the French croissant.

The basic ingredients for making baked goods are flour, water, salt, and yeast or other leavening agents. From these simple ingredients, an incredible variety of baked goods can be created, from bread to rolls, buns, baguettes, and sweet pastries such as cakes, buchty, or croissants.

Crispy French baguette.
Crispy French baguette.

One of the oldest and most basic types of baked goods is bread. It is made from flour, water, salt, and sourdough or yeast. Yeast or sourdough cause fermentation of the dough, releasing carbon dioxide, which gives bread its characteristic suppleness and fluffiness. Bread has thousands of forms and variants depending on the ingredients used, the method of preparation, and regional traditions. From classic white and rye bread to whole-grain and multi-grain varieties, to special types such as Italian focaccia, French baguette, or German pretzel.

Bread from Matera, Italy, protected by a geographical indication of origin.
Bread from Matera, Italy, protected by a geographical indication of origin.

Another important category of baked goods is sweet pastries and desserts. This includes, for example, cakes, tortes, strudels, doughnuts, and many others. Sweet pastries are usually based on flour, sugar, butter or other fat, eggs, and various flavors and fillings such as fruit, nuts, chocolate, cream, or jam. Sweet pastries are a popular treat with coffee, tea, or as a dessert after a meal.

Wedding cake from North Bohemia.
Wedding cake from North Bohemia.

A special category is fine pastries, which include croissants, Danish pastries, or puff pastry. These types of pastries are known for their crispness, delicacy, and rich, buttery flavor. Their preparation is usually more demanding and requires skill and practice, as the dough must be repeatedly folded and spread with butter to achieve the characteristic layering.

Pastries also play an important role in many cultural and religious traditions. For example, Jewish challah, a braided bread served during Shabbat, has a deep symbolic meaning. Easter cake is an integral part of Christian Easter. In many cultures, pastries are baked for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays.

Jewish challah bread.
Jewish challah bread.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to taste amazing pastries from various parts of the world. Whether it was a crispy French croissant, a fluffy Italian panettone, or a fragrant strudel from Vienna. Good pastries can caress the taste buds, delight the soul, and evoke a sense of home and comfort.

Baking Armenian unleavened bread.
Baking Armenian unleavened bread.

In many cultures, pastries are more than just food. They are part of our history and traditions. Sharing pastries with family and friends strengthens interpersonal relationships.

Whether you prefer sweet or savory, crispy or soft, everyone can find their favorite in the world of pastries. And that’s the most beautiful thing about it. ❤️

Bon appetit!