History of Bread
May 21, 2010, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Bread, Food, Good to know | Tags: , , , ,

Our daily bread – agriculture has had a major influence on life and culture of humans. Already about 10.000 years ago, men started to systematically grow grain for the own consumption. Originally, the grain was grinded and, mixed with water, eaten as a nutritious porridge. Later, people started to bake the porridge on hot stones or in the ashes of the fire. That was the first bread, flat bread, and in almost any culture you can find one of  its own kind (Rieska in Finland, Tortilla in Mexico/Central America, Piadine in Italy, Chapatti in India, and many more, just to mention some of the best known ones, you can find a list here).

Two inventions changed the bread-making massively: the invention of ovens and the discovery of leafening. Hot stones only allowed the making of flat breads, a loaf of bread asks for an all surrounding heat to bake thoroughly in a continuous manner. First primitive ovens consisted of a big pot turned around on a hot stone. Scouts still apply this method at the bonfire.

As mentioned before in the post about sourdough making, a mixture of flour and water turns into a living culture which is able to make bread rise. The bread is softer and tastier than bread made from normal dough. Sour bread is probably known since around 5.000 years, amongst others in Egypt. Egyptians were great bread eaters and were also nicknamed after that. They were the ones who first cultivated and used yeast for baking. The Egyptians developed ovens further, the first ones were made from clay and would reach very high temperatures. From Egypt, the knowledge about bread making soon reached Greece and the Roman Empire and Europe. The Romans were the first ones to build mills and produce fine flour. After the fall of the Roman Empire, white bread rose in hierarchy to a festive and prestigious food. Poor people could only afford dark bread, which is actually the healthier one because it still contains all the vitamins and minerals from the outer core of the grain.

–more about the cultural meaning of bread soon!


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