HistoryOfBread.com is place where you can read all about bread including its history, types, making process, ingredients list, interesting facts, statistics and many other interesting information. Also, here you can find history of wheat, flour and baker’s yeast.
Bread appeared in all corners of the Earth when people domesticated their plants. It was made from different ingredients and in different ways but it became staple food of all cultures. Learn more about bread history.
Do you know how long is a longest bread ever made? Do you know from where word companion comes? Do you know how many sandwiches are eaten in UK every year? Find out here more facts about bread.
Bread is one of the earliest heat prepared food, maybe because it is one of the simplest. But because of that it changed and improved over time. Today it can still be prepared in a simple way it is also made with a variety of additives, especially in commercial production.
Bread is a staple food of humanity for 30,000 years. There is archaeological evidence of flour from that time, which was likely processed into unleavened bread. Cereals and bread became a staple food during the Neolithic, somewhere around 10,000 years ago, when wheat and barley were some of the first plants to be domesticated in the so-called “Fertile Crescent”, region of Mesopotamia and near Nile. Other parts of the world independently domesticated other cereals such as rice in East Asia, maize in the Americas and sorghum in sub-Saharan Africa, made bread out of them and formed the basis of alternative agricultural systems. Cereal crops gave possibility to agricultural societies to sustain much larger populations than had previously been possible which in time led rise of civilized states. Leavened bread also appeared in prehistoric times. Early ways of leavening was done by piece of dough from the previous day that worked as a form of sourdough starter. Gauls and Iberians used the foam skimmed from beer as a starter. Peoples that didn’t drink beer but had wine used a paste composed of grape must or wheat bran steeped in wine. The free-standing ovens that could be pre-heated, with a door for access, appeared for the first time in Ancient Greece. Even then, in ancient times, there was variety of breads: griddle cakes, honey-and-oil bread, mushroom-shaped loaves covered in poppy seeds and the military specialty of rolls baked on a spit. By the 5th century BC in Athens, bread was made in bakeries as well as in home. Greek bakers appeared in Rome in the 2nd century BC.
In medieval Europe, bread served as a staple food as always but it also had a special role. It was used as part of the table service. A so-called “trencher”, which is a piece of stale bread roughly 15 cm by 10 cm, was served as an absorbent plate beneath the food that was eaten. At the end of a meal the trencher was then eaten, given to the poor or fed to the dogs. There is a theory that pizza originated from trencher bread. In 15th century trenchers made of wood started to replace the bread variety.
With industrialization, bread making has also progressed. Mills that made flour and that worked on wind and water started working on steam and gas, and stones the grinded the wheat were replaced with ceramic and steel rolls. Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the machine that made sliced bread in 1912 and started using it in 1928. In 1961, Chorleywood Bread Process was developed. It used the intense mechanical working of dough to reduce the fermentation period. Process shortened the time taken to produce a loaf but at the expense of taste and nutrition. Chemical additives are also used that speed up mixing time and reduce fermentation time. A white bread was the preferred bread of the rich for a long time while the poor ate dark bread. In the late years of 20th century that idea changed because white bread has less nutritional values than dark. Domestic bread-makers that automate the process of making bread at home became very popular in the last 10 years.
It is estimated that 60% of world population eats bread daily. It takes 9 seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread. Each American consumes, on average, 27 kg of bread per year. The toaster was actually invented before sliced bread. Early Egyptian sent their children to school with bread and beer for their lunch. Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day or 350 slices in one second.