About 10,000 BC, man first started eating flat bread — a baked combination of flour and water. Ancient Egyptians were the first to have baked leavened bread. About 3,000 BC, they started fermenting a flour and water mixture by using wild yeast. Since wheat is the only grain with sufficient gluten content to make a raised or leavened loaf of bread, wheat quickly became favored over other grains grown at the time, such as oats, millet, rice, and barley.
In 150 BC, the first bakers’ guilds were formed in Rome. Wealthy Romans insisted on the more exclusive and expensive white bread. Roman bakeries produced a variety of breads and distributed free bread to the poor in times of need.
In 1202 AD, England adopted laws to limit bakers’ profits. Many bakers were prosecuted for selling loaves that did not conform to the weights required by local laws. As a result of the “bread trials” in England in 1266, bakers were ordered to mark each loaf of bread so if a non-conforming loaf turned up, the baker could be found. The bakers’ marks were the first trademarks.
Diseases such as pellagra, beriberi, and anemia were associated with a lack of B-vitamins and iron. Since bread was a daily food item for most people, even those with poor diets, specific amounts of iron, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin were added to white flour. This enrichment program was a major factor in the elimination of pellagra and beriberi, as well as in reducing anemia. In 1998, folic acid, a key nutrient in the prevention of serious birth defects, was added to all enriched grain foods, including bread.
There are various forms of bread from all parts of the world. Some Italian originated bread is Chapatti and Ciabatta. Cornbread is originated from the Southern United States. Matzo is Jewish bread served at Passover meals. Naan originated in India, and tortilla is Mexican bread. There are numerous kinds of bread to try. Breads are a part of a nutritional system that must be followed to have a healthy body.
Why are there holes in bread?
To answer this question we have to go over the process of bread-making. At first yeast is put into warm milk or water. Then flour and a little salt are added and mixed together. We get soft warm sticky dough. It is left in a warm place for about half an hour. Then the dough is rolled, made into, loaves or rolls and warmed again for 10—15 minutes. Next it is placed in a hot oven. Flour is made from wheat, whose outer coat contains gluten, a form of protein. When mixed with water it becomes soft and elastic. Flour also contains starch. It is made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. When mixed together and warmed yeast and starch produce a gas called carbon dioxide. The gas tries to get out into the air. It presses on the gluten in the cells of the flour. The gluten expands under the pressure like a balloon. When the bread goes in the hot oven the gluten dries up, the balloon bursts, the carbon dioxide escapes, leaving a hole behind. A hard brown crust is formed as the starch under great heat turns into a gluey substance called dextrine. The dextrine glues the starch together and forms a crust. The crust easily becomes brown. The starch grains inside the loaf do not get so hot, they take tip the water from mixing and remain soft.
– The Russians say “Bread is the head of everything”. Bread is rich in starches, fats and proteins.
– In many cultures there is still a tradition to eat all the bread crumbs and use even hardened pieces, because it’s a sin to throw the bread away.
– The ancient Scandinavians believed that if a man and woman accidentally bite off one piece of bread, they would get married.
– In 1996 in Acapulco, Mexico people backed a giant loaf of bread. It was longer than nine kilometers.
– In ancient Egypt, the bread had a great importance. It was almost always left in the tombs of the dead.
– King Louis IV once said: “He who controls the bread, is the ruler of a nation greater than the one who controls people’s souls”.
– Break the bread and share it is a universal sign of peace for all the peoples who use this product in the food.
– In Russian and some other Slavic cultures, the bread and salt are the symbols of cordiality and hospitality.
– For a long time there was a tradition in Europe, that the one who eats the last piece of bread, should kiss the cook or baker.
– Sandwiches are named after the Earl of Sandwich – known gambler.
Some quotes about bread
– “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
– “All sorrows are less with bread.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
– “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
– “Bread – like real love – took time, cultivation, strong loving hands and patience. It lived, rising and growing to fruition only under the most perfect circumstances.” ― Melissa Hill, Something From Tiffany’s
– “Christ knew that by bread alone you cannot reanimate man. If there were no spiritual life, no ideal of Beauty, man would pine away, die, go mad, kill himself or give himself to pagan fantasies. And as Christ, the ideal of Beauty in Himself and his Word, he decided it was better to implant the ideal of Beauty in the soul. If it exists in the soul, each would be the brother of everyone else and then, of course, working for each other, all would also be rich. Whereas if you give them bread, they might become enemies to each other out of boredom.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky