There are numerous options for breads that pair well with a wide range of soups. And, there are no rigid rules on which soup should go with which bread. It comes down to your preference. However, some breads pair well with specific types of soup. We are on a mission to find the absolute best bread for soup.
For instance, French baguettes are great with broth or creamy soups. Rye breads have a bold flavor that complement tomato and creamy soups. In comparison, cornbread is great with bean soup.
We highlight 13 delicious options for the best bread for soup and provide tips for choosing the best options for your favorite soup.
The Best Bread for Soup
1. Rye Bread
Rye bread is dense and tangy. It has a distinctive taste and texture that goes well with many soups. You can bake rye bread at home or buy it from your local grocery store. If you find the earthy taste of whole rye flour overwhelming, consider a rye bread that incorporates other types of flour, such as wheat flour.
You can cut it into small slices and serve it soft or toast it for extra crisp. You could also make it into a grilled sandwich to accompany the soup. Rye bread is a great option if you are keen on healthier bread. It is rich in fiber and Vitamin B. However, it is not suitable for people with celiac disease.
2. Sourdough Bread
Sourdough is one of the best breads for soup. It has an earthy, tangy taste from the fermentation process. Its exterior is crunchy. Overall, it has a chewy texture.
This artisan bread has been around since 3700 BC. It was traditionally made in a Dutch oven, but more people now make it in the conventional oven. It makes a great duo with creamy soups such as cheese or mushroom soup. It also goes well with butternut soup.
Panera Bread is a restaurant famous for using sourdough bread for their bread bowl soup options and is great if you want to make your own homemade bread bowls.
3. Focaccia Bread
This is yet another Italian bread that is great for soup. It is like pizza bread but thicker, lighter, and fluffier. It can be made into any shape you prefer, including round, rectangular, and square. It involves a more intricate preparation process than pizza dough, which needs to rise twice before being baked. It is best baked on a pizza stove.
Focaccia bread can be served with a wide range of soups, including chicken chili soup, black bean soup, cheesy soup, beef soup, etc.
4. Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread is a healthier alternative to white bread. It also has a richer texture and tastes and holds up well when dipped in soup. Besides, it is rich in a wide range of nutrients and fiber for better digestion. It is readily available in stores, but you can make one at home if you prefer.
There are numerous types of soups you can have with it, including vegetable soup, tomato soup, potato soup, creamy soup, cheese soup, etc.
If you prefer sweet and buttery bread, cornbread is a great option. Cornbread is a classic American bread. It has a light and crumbly texture that complements savory soups well. It can be made in a few minutes, and you can modify the recipe to make it savory or sweet. You can have it with chili soup, hearty bean soup, chicken soup, black bean soup, taco soup, etc.
6. Beer Bread
Beer bread has a light and fluffy texture. If you spread butter over the crust, it comes out golden brown, super crunchy, and crisp. Its flavor and taste depend on the type of beer you use. If you want light flavor, go for lighter beers such as light ales and lagers. Conversely, for an intense flavor, make it with dark lagers and ales.
It is easy to make and does not require kneading. You only require 3-5 ingredients depending on whether you use self-rising or all-purpose flour.
A lightly flavored beer bread can go with a wide range of soups, including those with a strong, earthy taste. On the other hand, for intensely-flavored beer bread, go with light, subtle soups such as north soup, pumpkin soup, sweetcorn soup, carrot soup, etc.
Naan is a flatbread that originates in India but has become popular across the globe. It pairs well with any kind of soup as it has a neutral taste. If you are going for the entire Indian cuisine vibe, you can serve it with lentil soup, spinach dhal soup, Palak soup, garam masala carrot soup, etc.
It is soft and fluffy; you can modify its recipe to incorporate some toppings. It can be enriched with ghee, butter, buttermilk, or yogurt.
It is easy to make using regular recipes for bread—flour, sugar, salt, yeast, salt, and warm water. The dough takes 5-10 minutes to knead. Carefully scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure no dough is wasted. After preparing the dough, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm environment for about an hour to rise until it is double its size.
Unlike most other breads, you cook it on a griddle instead of baking. Divide the dough into small balls. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin into 1/4-inch oval-shaped flatbread. Preheat a griddle to low to medium heat, apply a small portion of butter or olive oil, and brown each side of the bread.
8. Pita Bread
Pita bread is also known as Arabic bread or pocket bread. Like naan, it is a flatbread. However, it is leaner and smaller than naan. Like naan, it has a neutral taste and pairs well with a wide range of soups. It is often used for stuffing kebab meat, falafel, salads, or wraps but is also a great accompaniment for soup.
9. French Baguette
Baguette is a French bread that goes well with most soups. It has a crusty exterior that holds well when dipped in soup. The interior is soft and absorbs the flavors of the soup. You can break the long bread into round pieces, tear it up, and dunk it into your favorite soup.
Ciabatta is another crusty bread that pairs with most kinds of soup. It is the Italian version of the French baguette. Its interior is soft and chewy with large air pocket holes. Try it out with soups such as Italian wedding, vegetable, ground beef, turkey, and minestrone.
11. Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is a classic accompaniment for soup in most cuisines. Most breads are a good basis for garlic bread. You simply have to add garlic to the recipe. You can also incorporate cheese, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, etc. It pairs well with most soups, including chicken, tomato, vegetable, bean, seafood, etc.
12. Potato Bread
Potato bread resembles white bread in taste and appearance. Its preparation process is also similar, except you use mashed potatoes or potato flour. Potato flour is preferable as it gives the bread more texture and has higher fiber, mineral, and vitamin content. Its interior is moist, fluffy, and light. Its neutral taste goes well with most soups, including creamy soups, cheese soups, hearty soups, etc.
Tips for Choosing the Best Bread for Soup
The Bread and Soup Need to Complement Each Other
One should not overpower the other. For example, a dense dark bread, such as rye bread, would not be ideal for a dense chicken noodle soup. On the other hand, light, fluffy bread goes well with a creamy soup.
Look at Health Considerations
For instance, if you are gluten or dairy intolerant, do not go for a soup or bread that contains gluten or dairy. Also, some breads are lower in carbohydrates and calories than others. For instance, anything creamy or cheesy will not fit the low calories bill.
Go for What You Like
Soup and bread are to be enjoyed. So, choose a combo you like, regardless of what cuisine experts deem appropriate. Try out new combos to identify what you like and expand your options.
Toast the Bread
If you like toasted bread, you will definitely enjoy toasted bread with a hot bowl of soup. The extra crunch and crispiness will hold well in the soup for enhanced taste and texture. You can also crumble some toasted bread into your soup bowl to make the soup thicker.
Fresh Bread Is the Best
The taste and flavor of the bread are most pronounced while it is still fresh. Avoid stale bread, as it may have lost its crumb, flavor, and texture. It may also be dry and chewy.
If you have leftover bread that you would like to enjoy later with your favorite soup, store it appropriately to prolong its freshness. Cover it snugly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Do not eat bread that is moldy or has a musty smell, as it can cause food poisoning.
Many different types of bread go well with soup. While some bread recipes are easy to make with a little time, a few ingredients, and an oven, others are more complex and require more time, ingredients, and sophisticated equipment, such as a Dutch oven. Instead of homemade bread, you can opt for fresh store bread.
Generally, light, fluffy, and neutral-tasting breads go with any soup, while breads such as rye bread with a dense crumb and bold flavor complement soups with a milder flavor.