HISTORY OF BREAD

HISTORY OF BREAD

Bread is one of the oldest known recipes to man. It has been around for several millennia…

The recent low-carbohydrate craze has given bread a bad reputation, but not all breads are created equal. There are more varieties of bread than there are supplement companies.

The History of Bread
It is estimated that the first bread was made around 10000 years BC or over 12,000 years in the past.

This bread was more than likely flatbread, similar to a tortilla, made simply of ground grains (flour) and water that was mashed and baked. The first tools and implements used in the making of bread are dated to about 8000 years BC.

Egypt is attributed with popularizing the art of making bread. Egyptians are considered to be the agricultural pioneers of the old world, probably benefiting from interactions with Samaria.

The closed oven was invented circa 3000 BC and allowed for more varieties of bread to be produced. It is around this time that leavened bread is first described – bread with yeast added so that it would rise during production.

Refined grains were considered superior and therefore were prevalent in the higher courts, so the poorer populations used barley and sorghum in their breads.

Roman Bread :

  • Panem depsticium : Cicero mentions that the bread of the Roman forefathers was made simply of flour and water excluding even the salt: Wash the hands and kneading board well. Put flour on the kneading board, add water gradually, and work it thoroughly. When you have worked it well, mold it, and bake it under an earthen cover (De Agricultura 74). Proportions of flour to water will vary according to the type of flour used and to certain conditions. Humidity and the elevation of your location will alter the heat needed to make any bread, so it is only through experience that you can find the proper consistency of dough required for your locale. The dough should be smooth with a slight glisten. If too sticky, add more flour. If not smooth add more water.
  • Sala Cattabia Apiciana : Some of Apicius’ recipes are potted bread salads, sala cattabia, which call for Picene bread. This was probably a name he used for the kind of breads that were common throughout Italy before the Greek introduction of leavened breads. Cato’s panem depsticium is the simplest variety, to which other ingredients could have been added for extra flavor. These kinds of breads are very hard and must be further prepared after they are baked before using them. Turkish yufka ekmek is the same type of bread, coming out in stiff sheets that have to be watered and pressed before using. The Romans would use vinegar and water to first soak a panem depsticium. The bread is then pressed to remove excess water, then torn or crumbled by hand. (You can use hard, stale Italian bread in place of a panem depsticium.) The bread is then strewn in a pot, covered with a layer of cheese, then a layer of cucumbers. Then the layers are repeated two or three more times before a salad dressing is poured over the salad. The sala cattabia Apiciana calls for layers that include Picene bread, boiled chicken, onions, pine nuts, and goat cheese. A modern Italian equivalent is panzanella that is made of stale bread soaked in water then pressed and crumbled, tomatoes (peeled, seeded and diced), minced red onions, pitted black olives, fresh basil leaves, artichokes hearts, and tuna fish, covered with a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
  • Placenta : Cato’s placenta was a layered cheese and honey pie that was offered to Jupiter . It is something like a precursor for lasagna, but closer to Greek pitas made with filo. The amounts that he gives in his recipe, 8 pounds of flour and 14 pounds of cheese, are quite sizeable. Cutting the recipe to 1/8 its original will make it more manageable. Easier still would be to buy sheets of filo, although they are not the same as what Cato used.
  • Scriblitam. It is made in the same way, although without the honey. Cato’s erneum mixes the honey and cheese into the dough itself. The erneum is poured into a mold. The mold is then suspended in a pot of hot water, acting as a double boiler to bake the bread.
  • Casunezei : This is Italian pasta that is similar to ravioli. I include it here as it is used much in the way Romans may have used placenta. Whether a small farmer or a legionnaire on campaign, Romans relied on foraging wild foods to supplement their diet. Casunezei is one way to make a very filling meal out about anything you would find while foraging.
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  • Globula : These are Cato’s saut?ed cheese balls found at De Agricultura 79. Use a soft goat cheese like feta, broken up by your fingers and then crushed smooth with a fork. Soak spelt grits in water until soft, then place them on a kneading board and press them out to dry. Combine about two parts cheese with one part spelt grits to make a sticky dough. Form balls and saut? in hot oil, using batter sticks to turn them frequently and keep their shape. When golden brown drain the balls of oil, then place on a platter. Drizzle them with honey and sprinkle them with poppy seeds.
    A variation of globula, De Agricultura 80, is a poured pancake called encytum. The batter needs to be soupier than for globula, so the spelt grits are not pressed as dry. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and pour in your cakes, flipping them over to ensure they do not burn. Drizzle honey over them to serve, or else use a mixture of honey and wine. For a variation on the flavor, add cattail pollen into the batter.

Biblical Era ( see also our dedicated pages on the Bible )
Around 1000 BC the Mosaic laws were introduced. These laws, in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, contained instructions to the nation of Israel regarding proper food preparation.

When the Hebrew people fled Egypt during the legendary Exodus, they were forced to make unleavened (flat) bread in their haste. Leviticus declares a feast commemorating the exodus using flatbread.

Bread is a common symbol of bounty in the bible – Leviticus 21:22 declares, “He shall eat the bread of his God.” When the people of God were lost in the wilderness, they were fed manna, which was described as bread from heaven. The Christian Savior, Jesus Christ, is called the “Bread of Life”.

The bible also gives one of the earliest recipes for sprouted grain bread. It reads, in Ezekiel 4:9-17: “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”

While more than a year of nothing but this bread sounds like quite a marathon diet, analysis of products today using the same recipe show that it was a well-balanced, nutritious bread that yielded plenty of protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and healthy fat.

Early Greek
In 400 BC, around the time when Socrates was providing sage dietary advice, Plato imagined an ideal world. In this world, men would live to a ripe old age. Their main source of sustenance would be whole grain bread from local wheat.

168 BC saw the establishment of baker’s guilds in Rome. Bread even played a major role in politics when, in 40 BC, as part of a campaign, it was decreed that bread should be freely distributed to every male adult.

Middle Ages
In 1202 AD, English laws were passed to regulate the production of bread. While many people are aware of the differences between whole grain (brown) bread and white breads, few realize that it caused quite a stir in 1307 when the white bread bakers and brown bread bakers split to form separate guilds!

It was not until two centuries later, in 1569, that the guilds were reunited and called the “Worshipful Company of Bakers.”

The Age of Refined Bread
As early as 1826, the whole grain bread used by the military was called superior for health to the white, refined bread used by the aristocracy. In fact, the term refined today comes from this fact.

Before the industrial revolution, it was more labor consuming (and therefore costly) to refine bread, so white bread was the main staple for aristocracy. This made them “refined”.

  • 20th Century
  • In 1910, Americans were eating 210 pounds of wheat flour every year. The commercial bread-slicing machine was invented in 1912 by Otto Rohwedder, and unveiled in 1928.
  • The 1930s saw the United States pursue a diet enrichment program to begin fortifying breads with vitamins and minerals after their discovery in the late 1920s.
  • In 1941, calcium was added to help prevent rickets, observed in many female recruits to the military
  • In 1956, it became the law to enrich all refined breads.
  • By 1971 consumption of white bread had dropped to around 110 pounds per year, but by 1997 (possibly due in part to the low fat, high carbohydrate craze and the food pyramid) consumption was up to 150 pounds – still 60 pounds shy of the fit, trim Americans at the turn of the century.


Types of Bread
There are many types of bread. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

White and Whole Grain : In the most basic form, grinding grains, adding water, and heating it produces whole grain flatbread. Whole grain bread is similar, only yeast is added so that the bread rises. White bread starts out similar to whole grain bread. The grain is processed, however. The hard, outer portion of the grain is stripped, removing fiber and many vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that are naturally available. The remaining portion is ground to a fine powder, the enriched with a generic spray of vitamins and minerals. This is then used to bake the bread.
Spelt : Spelt (called Dinkel in Germany) bread is a grain-bread, and is closely related to common wheat. Spelt does contain gluten. Gluten, a form of protein, is a common allergen and gluten intolerance or allergies are quite common. However some sufferers with a mild gluten tolerance do sometimes use Spelt as a substitute for wheat.
Sourdough : Supermarket “sourdough” breads are often simply wheat bread with no sweetener added. Once a sweetener is added – often high fructose corn syrup in commercial breads, but typically brown sugar, honey, or molasses in fresh baked breads – it becomes the typical bread you are used to buying.
True sourdough however is something completely different. Sourdough is a culture of lactobacilli bacteria and yeasts used to leaven bread. The culture is used as a “starter” whereby new flour and water are added. The bread has a sour or tangy flavor.
Cultures can often be passed on from loaf to loaf for years.
Other Varieties : Varieties such as oat, barley, rye, kamut, triticale, millet, and even rice bread are simply variations using different grains other than traditional wheat. Sometimes seeds and spices are added, creating varieties such as basil, garlic, onion, or cinnamon bread.
Sprouted Grain : Sprouted grain bread has increased in popularity in recent years. Traditional bread is made from ground flour from the hardened kernel of grain. Sprouted grain bread involves soaking the grain and allowing it to sprout. The sprouted seedlings are then mashed together and baked. Sprouting allows the enzymes in the grain to convert some of the carbohydrates and fats to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Due to the changes that take place, sprouted grain bread typically is higher in protein, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals than regular bread. It is also less refined and processed than even stone ground wheat bread, so it has less of an impact on your blood sugar.
Refined and Enriched : Many commercial types of bread are highly refined. Enriched breads have the original nutrients stripped out and replaced with inferior, often lesser quantities of standard vitamins and minerals.

Some companies will try to produce wholesome-looking bread by adding grains to the outside, even when the main ingredient is enriched bread. High fructose corn syrup is often added as a sweetener.

 

How to Purchase Healthy Bread
The first thing to look at when purchasing breads is the ingredients list.
  • Look for breads where the very first ingredient is “whole grain” or “stone ground” rather than “enriched” (even if whole grains follow the enriched flour ingredient).
  • Look for natural sweeteners like molasses or honey over high fructose corn syrup. Preferably, the sweetener and salt should be last on the ingredients list.
  • If you consume high quantities of bread or keep the bread refrigerated, it will last longer and you can purchase fresher varieties that do not contain additives or preservatives.
Basic Ingredients List
The most basic ingredients list will look like this: whole-wheat flour, water, salt. There should be a few grams of protein and fiber per slice – low protein and/or fiber is a sign of excessive processing that has stripped these nutrients, and implies that the other nutrients will be missing as well.
Rye bread typically contains moderate portions of protein and fiber per slice. A 100-calorie slice will contain a few grams of protein, a few grams of fiber, around 20 grams of carbohydrate, and decent amounts of calcium and iron. The addition of flaxseed increases protein and fiber (for the same 100 calorie slice) but also adds trace amounts of healthy, unsaturated fats.


There are actually some amazing bread recipes that can be very beneficial for the bodybuilder. A variety of bread , Organic whole wheat flour, filtered water, organic flaxseed, organic pumpkin seeds, organic oat fiber, organic low fat soy flour, organic wheat flour, organic sesame seeds, organic raw sprouted fava beans, organic sunflower seeds, organic millet, organic pea protein isolate (non-GMO), organic wheat flour (wheat germ restored), soy germ isoflavone concentrate (non-GMO).

Breadlink produces organic sprouted quinoa, organic sprouted rye, organic sprouted spelt, organic sprouted kamut, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted oats, organic sprouted wheat, unrefined sea salt.

Summary
Bread has been around for ages. While trends such as low carbohydrate nutrition or low fat dieting come and go, bread is here to stay – people “earn their bread” or “bring the bread home” and are constantly looking for the “best thing since sliced bread”.

Before eliminating bread from your diet, consider the many types of bread that are available and decide if there is one that suits your needs. Bread can increase your protein intake, add fiber to your diet, refill you muscles by supply quality carbohydrate in addition to healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. eople are always looking for the next great protein or power bar.

Why not try a slice of our bread?