Arts & Culture

‘Aish: An Assortment of Bread Types from Egypt

‘Aish: An Assortment of Bread Types from Egypt

‘Aish Baladi
Photo credit: Al-Monitor

Bread is a staple in every Egyptian household’s meals, whether at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for midday snacking. On long dinner tables at family gatherings, or in a regular breakfast at home, meals are generally incomplete without bread.

Called ’aish in Egypt, bread literally translates to ‘living’, symbolizing the importance of bread in Egyptians’ lives. In other Arab cultures and in the standard Arabic language, bread is called khobz.

In Egyptian culture, the importance of bread is symbolized in popular local sayings, namely “akl el ‘aish” (eating bread) which translates to a person’s wages, and “‘aish w malh” (bread and salt) which is a way to describe familiarization and companionship between people.

Since it is an essential part of their everyday meals, Egyptians have their own types of bread that one can rarely find with the same quality outside of Egypt.

Here are the four types of Egyptian bread.

‘Aish Baladi

The standard Egyptian bread that is always available in any Egyptian household, ‘Aish Baladi is basically Egyptian flatbread. Traditionally baked in extremely hot ovens, this vegan bread is the result of a mixture of whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water.

Fresh Baladi bread can be used to make sandwiches, dipped in lentil soup or molokhiyya, or to accompany a plate of ful (fava beans). Since it’s a crucial part of almost every meal, many Egyptian mothers always keep a few loaves of Baladi bread in their freezers, to never run out of it.

‘Aish Shamsi

A woman baking ‘Aish Shamsi
Photo credit: Egyptian Geographic

Aish Shamsi is thick and round bread, traditionally made from wheat flour and yeast dough. Its name, ‘Aish Shamsi or solar bread, is derived from the fact that it is left to dry under the sun for nearly 12 hours, before being baked in a traditional oven.

Several sources claim that this type of bread was inherited from ancient Egyptians. Today, although not very common in bakeries in Cairo and other cities, women in Upper Egypt still choose to make ‘Aish Shamsi at home.

‘Aish Bataw

‘Aish Bataw
Photo credit: Shamloola

A single-layered thin bread, Bataw is widely-consumed in rural villages, mainly in Upper Egypt and among farmers. Although its main ingredient is corn flour, there are multiple variations to the way it’s prepared, depending on the area.

In Assiut, it is made with either barley and corn or barley and wheat, whereas in Akhmim, it is often made with corn and fenugreek. In Qena, it is only made with barley.

Among its nutritious benefits, Bataw has fibers that increase satiety and metabolism.

‘Aish Feeno

A children’s favorite, ‘Aish Feeno can be described as Egyptian baguette. Shaped in a long roll and sliced in half, Feeno is the most popular Egyptian bread after Baladi bread, and is the ideal option for sandwiches. Feeno can be plain or with sesame on top.

Its delicious taste and fluffy texture make children have it on its own without any filling sometimes, especially when it’s fresh out of the bakery.

Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.

A Walk Through History: European Influences on Cairo’s Architecture
Flaunting Power: 4 of Egypt’s Most Celebrated Sculptors

Subscribe to our newsletter

Arts & Culture

A journalism graduate from the American University in Dubai who is curious, spontaneous, and often rebellious, Marina is a passionate Cairo-based journalist who aspires to become one of the most influential women in the Middle East. She likes to follow her heart and express that through words; her favorite form of expression.

More in Arts & Culture

Egyptian Actress Shines in Netflix’s New Unconventional Series ‘Kaleidoscope’: Review

Amina Zaineldine and Farah Rafik28 January 2023

Why Khairy Beshara’s Cult Classics Are More Relevant Now Than Ever

Amina Abdel-Halim22 January 2023

The Egyptian Streets’ Team Recommends: Books to Read in Your 20s

Farah Rafik21 January 2023

New Aten Museum in Minya to Be Open for the Public

Egyptian Streets14 January 2023

Wegz to Share Stage with American Rapper Travis Scott at Abu Dhabi Festival

Mona Abdou9 January 2023

World’s Largest Floating Book Fair Arrives in Egypt’s Port Said

Egyptian Streets4 January 2023

Wrapping Up 2022: Top Egyptian Shahid Productions

ES Buzz27 December 2022

Fatma Said and Nader Abbassi to Perform in Grand Egyptian Museum’s First Public Event

Marina Makary20 December 2022