I’ve always wondered, why is a loaf of white spongy commercial bread, like Wonder Bread, sometimes labelled ‘Italian’ bread? I know what Italian bread is, and that ain’t it.
Spongy commercial bread is often labelled ‘rye’ or ‘whole wheat’ or ‘oatmeal’ and I can understand there might be a trace of rye flour, whole wheat flour, or oatmeal added. But the ‘Italian’ label has always stumped me.
Pretty common around here. See this, for example. I seem to remember it being less sweet than standard fluffy white bread and also seemed to have a slightly less spongy, maybe “drier” would be the word, texture.
It is common in the Boston area too. I always thought that it is just a marketing gimmick to appeal to Italian-Americans and snooty people that like to think they are eating real ethnic bread instead of plain white bread.
Not sure why it is called Italian bread, but it is a pretty consistent bread style across different brands. Definitely not regular Wonder Bread - it has a lot firmer texture and is not quite so industrially shaped - but certainly not to be confused with a crusty artisan loaf. Generally available seeded or unseeded. It is the bread we usually buy for everyday sandwich use.
Most likely just a marketing term, but Italy has such a wide range of cuisines (and breads) that it is certainly possible that this bread style approximates something sold over there.
Yes, this, also Freihofer’s and other national brands, and store brands. There are always loaves identical AFAIK to white bread you would serve to children. Sometimes there is ‘with (sesame) seeds’ or ‘unseeded’. I just wondered what makes it ‘Italian’. it isn’t crusty like a good Italian or French loaf.
They are not exactly the same, though. Like I said and another poster said above, it’s got a different texture and I also find it less sweet. Looking up the nutrition info on fooducate.com (no idea if it’s particularly accurate, but I couldn’t find the info on Wonder Bread’s website), regular Wonder Bread has 5g added sugar per two slices, and Italian Wonder Bread has 2g added sugar per two slices, so that jives with my experience in the “Italian” versions of fluffy white bread being less sweet.
And, yes, sometimes it comes with sesame seeds, too, but that’s not the defining difference.
If I came upon it in a store in Sweden I would be inclined to buy it, as I would understand the reference to Italy (or, for that matter, to France, Spain or any other southern country) to mean “doesn’t have lots of added sugar”.
I always thought “Italian” referenced the shape of the loaf, as distinct from “French”, similar bread but a different shape. But here in south Texas, supermarkets sell loaves of white bread shaped like Italian, but they are called French Bread.
The absence of an FDA regulation is the likeliest reason.
Seriously, there are some terms on food products which have a legal meaning. But other terms have no legal meaning and can be used as the producer wishes.
So if there’s no regulation defining the use of “Italian” then you can use it anywhere. You can take a loaf of ordinary bread and call it Italian bread if you think it will sell better. You could also sell Italian milk or Italian eggs if you wanted.
At the supermarkets in central Illinois, it’s all white bread shaped differently. If it’s long and skinny, it’s labeled French. If it’s not quite as long, and a lot wider, it’s labeled Italian. If it’s a loaf, it’s just labeled white bread. Same dough, same crust, same taste.
I think it’s to give the illusion that there are actually choices.
I’d say the real defining characteristic of Italian bread is a somewhat chewy crust caused by adding a small amount of oil to the dough. Make a basic white bread dough with flour, water, yeast and salt … add a spoonful or two of oil and it becomes Italian bread.
When it comes to commercial Wonder Bread types, the difference may well be more marketing than anything else, though, with a bit of attention paid to creating a bit of extra chewiness through the use of various additives.
All righty, then. Apparently there is some small difference I never detected in those soft spongy sliced sandwich bread loaves. Though to me, ‘Italian’ bread is crusty and comes in a white paper bag from the bakery. I will drive quite a few miles out of my way to pick up a good fresh crusty loaf from the bakery on the Nort’ side.