A favorite in Austrian cuisine, Vienna bread is a yeast bread. It has a thin, crispy crust that has a highly glazed appearance and is a light, airy bread. This bread has a very unique crust, in part because of the baking process, which includes steam heat as opposed to entirely dry heat, which most bread is baked in. This bread is known in Egypt as fino bread and is baked following the same process as the bread that originated in Austria.
Creating steam within an oven where the bread will be baked can be done in one of two ways. There are particular ovens that produce steam. This steam is circulated throughout the oven during the cooking process. At a specific point, the steam is cut off from the oven and the bread is left to cook in a then dry oven. This creates a unique crust. The second process for applying steam to the bread-making process is an initial burst of steam within the oven. Following the burst of steam, the bread then continues to cook in a dry oven. Both methods produce the specialized crust the bread is so well known for.
Vienna bread is popular served alongside soups and stews. It is also a good choice as sandwich bread, as it is very light and airy. Though sometimes made in a round loaf, it is most often baked in the shape of an oblong loaf.
A popular item that has developed over time is stuffed Vienna bread. While following the traditional recipe and cooking process, additionally the bread is filled with different items, from sweet fillings to savory ones. These breads, depending on their fillings, can be served as part of a meal or as a sweet accompaniment to a hot beverage.
Vienna bread has been credited with being the inspiration for French bakers and their popular French baguette. The French baguette is baked using the same process as Vienna bread. The French baguette, however, is made into a much thinner and longer loaf than that of the the traditional Vienna bread loaf.
This type of bread is a popular choice for the bread used in bread pudding recipes. The reason for this is that the bread itself is very absorbent, and so lends itself to soaking up the ingredients of eggs, milk, and flavorings used in the recipe. Whether used in bread pudding or as the bread for a sandwich, this bread, though a centuries-old tradition, continues to be as popular as when it was first made.