WHEN AND WHERE WAS THE FIRST BREAD MADE?
Each country or region has its own traditional food. However, there is one store common to all people, which can be found anywhere in the world. That is bread. For thousands of years bread was the basic food of the human population.
Due to significant differences of individual world regions, in terms of natural conditions and economical development, and also to the multitude of bread varieties and the diversity of production methods, one would expect to see substantial changes in this grocery. However, this has not happened. There is no substantial difference in whether the bread is made from corn or wheat flour, whether it’s black or white, baked in the oven or on the stove, whether it is salted or not; bread is bread.
The fact that bread has become an essential food item is based on the fact that people have eventually noticed its importance and nutritional value. Basically, anyone who dared to try a raw wheat grain can guess what this is all about.
The cultivation of primitive grains first started in ancient Mesopotamia, some nine thousand years ago. About the same time, the inhabitants of the part of South America that is now California, cultivated a kind of grain from which they made bread.
In the beginning, people just used to chew wheat grains, and later on they got the idea of turning it into powder. 3000 years B.C. the Egyptians crushed wheat with stones to make flour. In order to turn it into a puree, they added water and kneaded it. They molded the dough and processed it thermally in stone cracks or on the ground directly.
Scenes of women producing flower were painted on the walls of ancient Egypt. In those days the bread was very hard, but it was edible for a couple of days and it could easily be taken to military campaigns or hunting.
The first wheat bread, which can still be seen, was roti (capăt, Chapati) – it was made in India, and the first oat bread was made in Scotland. The fact that all of the breads mentioned in this text so far did not contain yeast shows that they were flattened and hard. Yeast is considered to be the oldest industrial microorganism. Two thousand years B.C. a baker in Egypt accidently forgot his dough in the sun. During that time the mixture accidentally came into contact with the yeast from the surroundings. When the baker returned and put the dough to bake, he noticed that the bread rose. Instead of waiting for another accident to happen in order to get the yeast into the dough, the Egyptians got the idea to preserve a piece of dough from the previous mixture and leave it for the next dough; hence the sourdough, and this process is still in use today. At that time the Egyptians largely improved the bread production technology. It was baked in closed dome shaped ovens.
In these furnaces, heat circulated hence the temperature was uniformly distributed. The bread was baked evenly, it was therefore tastier and the process itself could be easily controlled. There were around thirty types of bread in ancient Egypt in the first century BC. At that time the Greeks created the mill, and 700 years AD, the Arabs constructed the windmill. In Rome, bread was considered more important for the vitality of ones body than meat. There was a belief amongst soldiers that they wouldn’t have the strength for the upcoming battle unless they eat bread. The well being of the Roman empire was based on the distribution of wheat per person. Bread was baked and distributed at public expense.
Throughout history, the bread color determined the social status of its consumers. Since the white bread was more expensive, the darker kinds were consumed by the lower social layers. Bread made from white flour was considered a luxury and was unavailable to most of the population. Today, the trends change, darker bread becomes more expensive and favored because of its richer flavor and higher nourishment (nutritional) value.
The first successful flower manufacturing started in Switzerland in 1880. The ground up grain was sifted and darker bran particles were singled out, and the whiter and smaller particles formed flower from which bread was made. Today, bread is baked in small bakeries that are located in various parts of the city with a high consumers concentration. These bakeries mainly offer hot freshly baked bread all day long. In previous years, bread was usually baked in industrial bakeries - bread factories. Preservatives and vitamins were also added to bread.
Through history, bread is also linked to the French revolution. Marie Antoinette's famous phrase was: "If the poor can not have bread on the table, let them eat cake." Bread is still considered the basis of life. For centuries it has been used in religious ceremonies. It is even mentioned in the Prayer (Our Father) "Give us this day our daily bread". Nowadays, even though there are many new and diverse foodstuff, bread is still consumed in large amount and holds a very important place in the market, in our homes and in our vocabulary as well. The word bread is used in slang as a term for money or existence. "You take the bread out of his mouth." These connotations also confirm the importance of bread. In many households, bread is served with every meal. It is healthy and nutritious, and fulfills both the belly and the soul. Whether made by hand or in a bakery, be sure to try out the magic of taste and aroma of freshly baked bread.