Who baked the first loaf of bread ever? I suspect that the first bread baked ever was a flatbread, way before someone finally discovered the concept of leavening the dough. Let’s explore some documents, pictures, and whatever we can find on the subject of early bread baking.
Around 4500 B.C., give and take a few days, grain had become a staple food. People ground it into a thick porridge, flattened and baked it in front of an open fire. Think tortilla! Somebody must have left some of the porridge sitting in the sun, and fermentation was discovered.
Early Egyptians leavened their dough for several days in the sun before baking it into tasty loaves. During the Middle Ages, European bakers made a pre-dough of flour, water, malt and hops, and then mixed their bread in always the same wooden trough, to take advantage of the residual leavening cultures.
By 500 B.C., the Romans had invented the rotary quern where a circular stone turned against a fixed one. This process enabled the Romans to mill four or five grades of flour, reserving the finest and whitest for the wealthiest citizens.
The modern refinement of milling the wheat removes most of the nutrients from the grain. The addition of flour improvers and other chemical substances, as well as the storage and baking process, present us with a greatly distorted natural product which now is blamed for a host of modern degenerative diseases.
In enriched white flour, only a few of the lost vitamins are replaced. It’s strange how we first destroy a perfect product and then try to restore it to its natural state, all in the name of baking a white bread which turns into cardboard the next day.
Please watch now “Flour & Bread Chat” with George Eckrich – Slice 1…
Bread oven image courtesy of jorge-11. Thank you.