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Round cottage loaves and long, skinny baguettes. Whole wheat bread, rye bread, rice bread, and corn tortillas. Flat chapati and fluffy challah. Savory sourdough and sweet panettone. Whatever it looks like and however it is made, bread is a part of many celebrations and everyday meals all around the world.

While there are many different kinds of bread, the best kind of bread is homemade bread. After you read this, find an adult and look up a recipe to try!

Bread Balloons

Simple flatbreads may be made with just flour, water, and salt. Other types of bread have another important ingredient: baking soda or yeast. Both of these are used to make bread dough rise instead of staying flat. When baking soda reacts with other ingredients, a gas called carbon dioxide is made. The little gas bubbles then get trapped in the dough causing it to inflate—sort of like a balloon!

Yeast makes little carbon dioxide gas bubbles, too, but in a different way. Yeast is alive and so tiny that it is only one cell! It “eats” the sugars in the flour and turns them into carbon dioxide. As the dough rises, the yeast cells divide, making more yeast cells. As long as there is air and food in the dough for them, they will keep working until the bread goes into the oven to bake.

Unlike “quick breads” that use baking soda and can be baked right away, dough with yeast has to sit and rise before going into the oven. The yeast needs time to work—at least a few hours. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, they had to eat bread without yeast because they left quickly and there wasn’t time to let dough rise.

Bread in the Bible

Bread is mentioned often in the Bible, from God providing for the Israelites in the wilderness to Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the Last Supper. Bread was a big part of what people ate back then, and it still is for many today.

But the Bible also tells us that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3). Just like we need to eat every day, we also need to feed our hearts and minds by reading our Bibles and taking in God’s Word.

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