Sunday, September 8, 2013

The history of bread goes back

The history of bread goes back at least 30,000 years. The first bread produced was probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from roasted and ground cereal grains and water, and may have been developed by accidental cooking or deliberate 
experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of these early flatbreads are still commonly made from various grains in many parts of the world.
The Hungarians have a saying that "bread is older than man".
12,000 years ago, primitive people made flat breads by mixing flour and water and placing these "cakes" in the sun to bake.
The earliest method of baking bread was to place lumps of dough, unleavened, on hot stones in the embers of a wood fire, and leave them to cook until they were hard. In other words it was the bakestone sytem. Baking on stones was early as the Bronze Age in Europe.
Later bread was baked on heated rocks or in the hot ashes of a fire. It was the Egyptians who are credited with using a "starter" of wild yeast from the air that was kept and mixed with other dough and baked to create a leavened product. Legend has it that a slave in a royal Egyptian household forgot about some dough he had set aside. When he returned, it had doubled in size. Trying to hide the mistake, the dough was punched down furiously and baked.
The result was a lighter bread than anyone had ever tasted.
The bread spread from the areas along the Nile in Egypt to the all parts of Europe and everywhere the bread was seen as valuable and thereby offered to Gods. The most important part of the baker's equipment is, and always has been, his oven. For six thousand years and more it is the oven, however crude or complex, which has transformed the sticky wet dough into bread. It is the oven which influences the final character of the loaf.
What is a "Baker's Dozen?"
A "Bakers Dozen" is 13 items (cookies, muffins, bread, etc.). This practice comes from Medieval times when bread was sold by the loaf. Because some loaves were lighter than others laws were enacted requiring bread be sold by weight. Adding an extra baked good to the customer's standard dozen ensured customers they were getting their money's worth. This practice remains active today in many bakeries across America. Flatbreads like pita, roti, paratha, naan, lavash, lefse & tortillas are the oldest breads of all.
All through the ancient days, bread and bakers were held in the highest respect; this respect lives on to our times.

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