is one of the oldest known recipes to man. It has been around
for several millennia…
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.
History of Bread
It is estimated that the first bread was made around 10000 years
BC or over 12,000 years in the past.
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.
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.
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.
grains were considered superior and therefore were prevalent in
the higher courts, so the poorer populations used barley and sorghum
in their breads.
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.
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.
: 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
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.
: 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.
: 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
was not until two centuries later, in 1569, that the guilds were
reunited and called the “Worshipful Company of Bakers.”
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
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”.
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
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 (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.
: 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.
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.
can often be passed on from loaf to loaf for years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
to Purchase Healthy Bread
first thing to look at when purchasing breads is the ingredients
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.
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.
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).
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.
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”.
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.
not try a slice of our bread?