“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
― James Beard
Welcome to Pumpkin Mansion for the first-ever episode of the History of Everything. My name is Count Moon. I have been living as a vampire for the past 800 years now and can turn into a bat too. Today, I will share my knowledge about the history of bread. Let’s go!
Before we start, check out the loaves of bread in the image below and think about which one of them would be the most fun to eat!
People around the world eat different kinds of bread every day – flatbread, fluffy bread, hard bread, long bread, round bread, etc. So, we can say that bread is one of the most popular foods in the world. Bread is made using different ingredients and methods in many parts of the world. We mostly bake bread, but in some places, bread is steamed, fried, or boiled to make it ready to eat. It is an important part of our daily life.
People in the past used to mix water with grain and cook it on hot stones over a fire. These early bread were called unleavened bread. The name means that no yeast or baking soda was used to make it fluffy like present-day bread; it was simply thick and flat. Unleavened bread such as Matzo and Pita are still eaten today.
The bread was also used as an ‘edible’ plate called a trencher. At the end of the meal, the plate was eaten too.
Can you guess which unleavened bread we Indians eat almost every day? Leave the answers in the comment section!
Bread as we know it today
Later, the bread got better. People started to develop different ways of making bread. They would save a bit of dough from the day before and later mix it with the new dough. So, the new dough had a chance to rise and also lasted longer.
People either made bread at home or bought it in loaves. A loaf of bread is shaped and baked in one piece, and every time they had to cut a slice to eat it. Otto Frederick Rohwedder built the first bread-slicing machine to make it easy for everybody. Thanks to him, sliced bread is now available everywhere.
Many other scientific discoveries, like baking powder, have helped in the progress of making bread. As a result, commercial breadmaking is mainly mechanised today.
The process of making bread
Bread has four main ingredients: flour, water, salt, and baker’s yeast. Flour gives bread shape and volume. Yeast makes the dough rise. Salt is added to the dough to make it taste delicious. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds are added to the dough for special loaves of bread. The taste, crust, moistness, and other qualities differ depending on what the bread is made of.
Bread around the world
In different parts of the world, bread is made, called, and used differently. Here are some types of bread from around the globe: Roti, Baguette, Sourdough, Puri, Bhatura, Taftan, Focaccia, Ciabatta, and so on.
Disclaimer: This post has been overly simplified to make it easy for children (Ages 7-8) to read and understand. Kindly read the referenced material carefully for more information.
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