The Fascinating Origin Of Bakeries

Kneading some dough by hand or popping a container of cake batter into the oven is not a new development like it may seem. By definition, a bakery is a place or establishment where an individual or group of individuals prepare and sell to customers baked goods. For the longest time, baked foods mostly included bread but today, but can find a plethora of sweet and savoury pastries, cakes, cookies, and pies. Some bakeries also have a cafe element wherein they offer to customers tea and coffee or any kind of liquid to drown down the sugary foods. 


Baking which most of us resorted to doing as an activity during the lockdown was once treated as an art form. It is assumed that baked goods date back thousands of years. 


The early Romans have been credited with this development. The people under the roman empire loved baked goods and baking. Baked goods would even be offered at their celebrations like weddings. Around 300 BC, baking became a profession. The Romans would mostly bake bread and nothing that would be considered (sugar was not available then and honey was not very mainstream). 


And in 168 BC, the first bakers’ guild was set up in the city of Rome. And even then, bakers mostly continued to prepare bread. 


From Rome, the trend of baking spread to different parts of Europe. From here baked goods also found a place in the city in East Asia. In cities of East Asia, sweetbreads became popular. 


As interest in baked goods increased and the population grew simultaneously, bakers realised that people needed a place to enjoy the goods they purchased. Something resembling a bakery (though in open) was set up in Paris. The city of Paris, lead to the start of many sweet pastries and goods to be sold in bakeries like croissants and macaroons (though they are not credited for the invention of either). 


But there is a double-edged sword linked with this industry. As demand for baked goods rose, the demand for sugar rose and subsequently there was more pressure on the slave to produce greater amounts of sugar. In fact, the industry suffered quite a bit when the enslavement of people was abolished in the early parts of the nineteenth century. By this time, people in Europe could buy everything from croissants to cakes to buns at their local bakeries.


But despite everything, bakeries were once again booming by the twentieth century. India too got its first bakery after the coming of the British (who by that time had much embraced the bakery culture).