Origins Of Bread: The Humble Loaf Was Once A Status Symbol
Updated : August 19, 2021 11:08 IST
A condensed history of how bread was made from ancient times to its current form
Bread and not rice is the food that’s most eaten around the world. Bread is a paste of water and flour and other things like yeast and milk powder, which is baked, to give a golden-brown crust and soft and airy interiors.
Bread has been around for a long time. It has been a staple food for the people. The earliest records indicate that bread was first enjoyed in 8000 BC in the Middle East around current Egypt. The Egyptians were supposed to be masters at brewing. Besides bread, they are also credited with being skilled at beer brewing. They used wild yeast to make sourdough or something resembling modern sourdough. Another type of their bread looked like chapati (from India) and Tortillas (from Latin America).
However, throughout history, civilizations have had their version of bread. Around 4500 BC, Romans created water-milling and they elevated bread making to an art form. The higher Romans considered bread to be for the wealthy and educated. Even in the British medieval times, bread was thought of as good for the higher class of people. The upper class was privileged enough to enjoy white bread however the poor people only had access to rye or bran bread. In 600 BC, the Persians had a version of bread. The Mexicans also developed their quintessential corn tortillas around 100 BC.
It wasn’t until 1834, that bread baking was commercial with the development of the steel roller mill in Switzerland. In the 20th century, chemicals were added to bread which made it whiter, softer, and helped to last longer.
Today, bread can also be produced without gluten (which is the very basis of making bread) thanks to health enthusiasts out there.