Proportions of types of flour and other ingredients vary widely, as do modes of preparation.
As a result, types, shapes, sizes, and textures of breads differ around the world.
Bread, in all its various forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world.
In one form or another, bread has been one of the principal forms of food for man from earliest times.
Evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe revealed starch residue on rocks used for pounding plants. It is possible that during this time, starch extract from the roots of plants, such as cattails and
ferns, was spread on a flat rock, placed over a fire and cooked into a primitive form of flatbread.
Around 10,000 BC, with the dawn of the Neolithic age and the spread of agriculture, grains became the mainstay of making bread.
There is extensive evidence of bread making in Ancient Egypt in the form of artistic depictions, remains of structures and items used in bread making, and remains of the dough and bread itself.
Archaeological evidence confirms yeast as leavening agent was used in Egypt as early as 4000 B.C. Food historians generally cite this date for the discovery of leavened bread. [Image below: A depiction of the royal bakery from an engraving in the tomb of Ramesses III in the Valley of the Kings.]
The Greeks picked up the technology for making bread from the Egyptians; from Greece the practice spread over the rest of Europe.
Bread and wheat were especially important in Rome where it was thought more vital than meat. Soldiers felt slighted if they were not given their allotment. The Roman welfare state was based on the distribution of grain to people living in Rome. Later the government even baked the bread.
Through much of history, a person’s social station could be discerned by the color of bread they consumed. The darker the bread, the lower the social station. This was because whiter flours were more expensive and harder for millers to adulterate with other products. Today, we have seen a reversal of this trend when darker breads are more expensive and highly prized for their taste as well as their nutritional value.
Bread has a long history for a reason. It is a healthy and nutritious food that fills the stomach as
well as the soul.
Bread may be served in different forms at any meal of the day, eaten as a snack and is even used as an ingredient in other culinary preparations.
Toast is sliced bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning is the result of a Maillard reaction altering the flavor of the bread and making it firmer so that it is easier to spread toppings on it.
French toast is a dish traditionally made of stale bread soaked in eggs whisked with milk then fried. French toast was not invented in France. In fact, French toast was around long before France even existed as a country. The exact origins of French toast are unknown, but it isn’t surprising that humans seem to have come up with the recipe quickly, given that French toast is traditionally made out of stale bread.
The sandwich is named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is said to have asked his servant to bring him meat stuffed between two slices of bread so that he would be less inconvenienced while out hunting, playing cards, and just generally being a rich gentleman on the go. Apparently, his friends took notice and asked for ‘the same as Sandwich.’ And so, the name stuck.
Bread has a significance beyond mere nutrition in many cultures because of its history and contemporary importance.
Sacramental bread, sometimes called altar bread, Communion bread, the Lamb or simply the host, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist. Both Eastern and Western traditions insist that the bread must be made from wheat.
Bread appears 360 times in the Bible (KJV). 280 times in the Old Testament and 80 times in the New Testament.
The largest loaf of bread weighed 1,571 kg (3,463.46 lb) and was made by Joaquim Gonçalves (Brazil) in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, on 13 November 2008 in celebration of Guinness World Records Day.
A Spanish bakery Pan Piña in village of Algatocin is selling what it claims to be the world’s most expensive bread at €117 (about $140) a loaf. Each 400 grams (14 oz) bread made at the Pan Piña bakery contains wholewheat flour, spelt and dehydrated honey. It is also given a 250 mg sprinkling of one key extra ingredient: gold dust. The gold leaf bread is exported to buyers around the world.
The inner part of the bread encased by the crust is called the “crumb”, hence why small bits of this part of the bread are called crumbs.
While bread has been used since the the 17th century to clean the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, restorationists have found that Wonder Bread, and it’s sponge texture, it a remarkably efficient tool cleaning the Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam.”
In 1943, right in the middle of World War II, the U.S. government banned sliced bread. It was a deemed an unnecessary use of materials and resources with a war effort going on. This is did not sit well with the general public, nor baking companies. One woman wrote into the New York Times proclaimed “how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household.”
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”.
A remarkable or revolutionary innovation may be called the best thing since “sliced bread”.
In Slavic cultures bread and salt is offered as a welcome to guests.
The English word “lord” comes from the Anglo-Saxon hlāfweard, meaning “bread keeper.”
The ancient Egyptians used moldy bread to treat infections that arose from dirt in burn wounds.