HISTORY OF BREAD
Grown in Mesopotamia and Egypt, wheat was likely first merely chewed. Later it was discovered that it could be pulverized and made into a paste. Set over a fire, the paste hardened into a flat bread that kept for several days. It did not take much of a leap to discover leavened (raised) bread when yeast was accidentally introduced to the paste.
Instead of waiting for fortuitous circumstances to leaven their bread, people found that they could save a piece of dough from a batch of bread to put into the next day’s dough. This was the origin of sour-dough, a process still used today.
In Egypt, around 1000 BC, inquiring minds isolated yeast and were able to introduce the culture directly to their breads. Also a new strain of wheat was developed that allowed for refined white bread. This was the first truly modern bread. Up to thirty varieties of bread may have been popular in ancient Egypt.
It was also during this time that bread beer was developed. The bread was soaked in water and sweetened and the foamy liquor run off. Beer was as popular in ancient Egypt as it is in America today.
The Greeks picked up the technology for making bread from the Egyptians; from Greece the practice spread over the rest of Europe. Bread and wheat were especially important in Rome where it was thought more vital than meat. Soldiers felt slighted if they were not given their allotment. The Roman welfare state was based on the distribution of grain to people living in Rome. Later the government even baked the bread.
Through much of history, a person’s social station could be discerned by the color of bread they consumed. The darker the bread, the lower the social station. This was because whiter flours were more expensive and harder for millers to adulterate with other products. Today, we have seen a reversal of this trend when darker breads are more expensive and highly prized for their taste as well as their nutritional value.
In the middle ages bread was commonly baked in the ovens of the lord of the manor for a price. It was one of the few foods that sustained the poor through the dark age.
Bread continued to be important through history as bread riots during the French Revolution attest. The famous quotation attributed to Marie Antoinette that if the poor could not get bread for their table then “let them eat cake,” became a famous illustration of how royalty had become ignorant of the plight of the lower classes. Actually, Marie Antoinette never said this and was merely being slandered by her detractors.
Still thought of as the “staff of life”, for centuries bread has been used in religious ceremonies. Even the lord’s prayer requests of God to “Give us this day our daily bread” – meaning not merely loaves, but moral sustenance.
Today, even with the competition of a growing variety of foods, bread remains important to our diet and our psyche. It has a prominent place in at the local market, in our cupboards, and even in our language. The word “bread” is commonly used as a slang term for money. It connotes importance as when we say that some aspect of our work is “our bread and butter”. In many households bread is still served with every meal.
Bread has a long history for a reason. It is a healthy and nutritious food that fills the stomach as well as the soul.
Whether it is done by hand or a machine try some of the bread recipes at this site and discover the magic that is in the very taste and smell of fresh baked bread!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING BREAD
A Bread, especially wholegrain, wholemeal or brown bread, is a healthy choice as part of a balanced diet. Bread is a starchy food, like pasta, potatoes and rice, and these foods should make up about a third of our diet.
Wholegrain, wholemeal and brown bread contains B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and a wide range of minerals. White bread also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, but it has less fibre than wholegrain, wholemeal or brown bread.
Bread has been a staple food in the UK for centuries. These days, more than 200 varieties of bread are available in this country, with origins from all around the world. These include ciabatta, pumpernickel, baguette, soda bread, bagels, flour tortillas, pitta and naan. There are lots of different tasty ways to eat bread. Try Italian appetisers made from toasted bread such as bruschetta (with olive oil and tomatoes or garlic) or crostini. Crusty bread is great dunked into soups and casseroles, or make your own pizzas with slices of tomato, mozzarella and pepper with olives and lean ham.
Sandwiches don’t have to be boring, especially if you try out different types of bread and fillings. Rye bread and soda bread both taste great with smoked fish and meats, and walnut bread goes especially well with cheese. Or why not try mini-pittas filled with humous or turkey and salad? Tuna, cottage cheese, Edam and sliced banana are all healthy sandwich fillings. Or spice up lunchboxes with chicken tikka rolled inside chapatti.
Some people avoid bread because they think they’re allergic to wheat, or because they think bread is fattening. But it’s very important to consult your GP before cutting out any type of food. This is because we all need to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy and by excluding foods you could miss out on a range of nutrients.
BENEFITS OF BREAD PRODUCTS
You may have heard potential benefits of low-carbohydrate diets and some reasons to avoid bread, but bread products can be the foundation of a healthy, low-fat diet. They provide essential nutrients, and can be a satisfying component of any meal. Choose whole-grain or enriched bread products, and avoid those with added sugars or saturated fats.
MEET NATIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
One benefit of bread products is that they help you achieve a healthy eating pattern. Recommendations for a 2,000-calorie diet are to get 6 ounce-equivalents of grains, per day, and to get 45 to 65 percent of your total calories from carbohydrates. Most bread products are low in fat and high in carbohydrates, and they count toward your recommended servings of grains. Emphasize whole-grain choices, and be aware that some sweet breads, such as banana bread or sweet rolls, can be high in calories, sugars and fats.
Bread products are convenient, as you can take them almost anywhere, and store them without refrigerating them. They are readily available. You can eat them for any meal, plain or with a topping or filling. Another benefit is that you can probably find a product that you like, as there are so many different kinds, such as bread, bagels, tortillas, muffins, fruit breads and pita bread. Possibilities include wheat, rye and multigrain breads.
By law, bread products made with enriched flour must be high in iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Iron is a component of hemoglobin in healthy red blood cells, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin are essential for energy production in your body and folate is an essential vitamin for heart health. Refined bread products made with unenriched flour do not contain substantial amounts of these nutrients.
Bread products may contain additional healthy ingredients with nutritional benefits. Many types of bread contain heart-healthy nuts or seeds, which are high in unsaturated fats, and walnuts and flaxseed even provide omega-3 fatty acids. Breads may contain dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries or cranberries, which are high in potassium and dietary fiber. Be careful not to choose breads with items that are high in saturated fat or added sugars, such as icing, cinnamon-sugar swirl or chocolate chips.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAD
Bread is one of the first foods that humans began preparing for themselves eons ago. It is a staple for tons of meals and recipes, and knowing how to bake is an invaluable skill. Knowing how to bake bread is helpful when preparing all kinds of baked goods, including cookies, pastries, and cakes. This list of different kinds of bread will teach you about how many varieties of bread exist, and how they differ from one another.
AREPA – Arepa is a bread produced in South America. It has a similar texture to a soft tortilla, but is thicker, where tortillas are flat. It is made from maize flour, and frequently used for sandwiches with meat and cheese.
BAGUETTE – Baguettes are a very popular type of French bread, characterized by their long tube-like shape, as well as their crunchy crust and soft interior. Baguettes can be up to two feet long, and are used for a variety of purposes outside of sandwiches.
BÁHN MÌ – Báhn Mì is like the Vietnamese version of a baguette. It is made with a combination of rice flour and wheat, and used almost exclusively for traditional Vietnamese sandwiches. Like a baguette, its crust is very crunchy while its inside is softer.
BAGEL – Perhaps one of the most popularly consumed kinds of bread, bagels are made with yeast dough. They are rolled, boiled, and baked in an oven, and they have a denser texture than other types of bread. There are countless varieties and flavors of bagel available, including blueberry, everything, onion, whole wheat, and many more.
BIALY – A bialy is a round chewy roll, somewhat like a bagel, originally made in Bialystok, Poland. Bialys have a small indent in the center, which are commonly filled with onions and poppy seeds to provide flavor before they are baked. Like bagels, bialys are made with yeast, but they are prepared differently.
BREADSTICK – Breadsticks are available in nearly every restaurant in nearly every country of the world. They are long, thin pieces of bread that are baked for a long time, usually until they become crisp. The extra baking time lengthens the amount of time that the bread can be kept before being eaten.
BRIOCHE – A brioche is a glazed roll with a sweet and rich flavor. It is often served with breakfast foods because of its sweetness. It is made by combining yeast with butter and eggs, and glazing with an egg wash after baking. Brioche is sometimes flavored, particularly with almonds.
CHALLAH – Challah is a traditionally Jewish bread. It is braided before it is baked, giving it a very unique appearance. It has a sweet flavor, and is typically baked with yeast, eggs, honey, and flour.
CIABATTA – Ciabatta is an Italian loaf bread, with dense crumbs and a very hard and crisp crust. It is baked with wheat and often flavored with olive oil, rosemary or other spices, and dusted with flour when it comes out of the oven. Ciabatta is very frequently used for sandwiches, especially Panini, as it toasts particularly well,
CORNBREAD – Cornbread is made by baking corn that has been ground down into meal. Egg and buttermilk are often combined with the cornmeal before baking, making cornbread very cake-like in texture and taste. Cornbread can be very dense and crumby.
CROISSANT – Croissants are flaky, buttery, and very rich, and shaped like crescent moons. They are French rolls, made by baking puff pastry and yeast dough together in layers. Croissants are traditionally considered a breakfast pastry, and are often served with coffee in European countries, particularly France. Chocolate croissants are very popular as well; they are baked the same way, but a piece of dark chocolate is placed in the dough first.
CRACKER – Crackers are like small segments of very crispy bread, originally made by combining flour, salt and water and baking the mixture. Crackers are distinguished from bread because they are not prepared with leavening. There are countless brands and flavors of crackers available today.
CROUTON – A crouton is a small piece of very crunchy bread that has been baked twice, usually after bread has gone stale. Croutons are cut into small cubes, seasoned, and used to garnish foods like soups and salads.
DATE NUT – Date nut bread is made by combining dates, walnuts, and sometimes pecans, with egg, baking soda and a dough-like batter. It is rather rich and sweet, and is often topped with cream cheese.
DOUGH – Dough is used to make almost all bread. It is made by grinding grains down into a fine flour, and adding water. It is often seasoned, and leavening is added in order to allow the bread to rise when it is baked.
DOSA – Dosa is native to the southern regions of India. It is a very thin and flat bread, and is used to wrap fillings such as spiced vegetables and nuts.
ENGLISH MUFFIN – The English muffin is a round yeast roll, often prepared by cooking dough on a griddle. Like a crumpet, an English muffin can be very dense and filled with air pockets. They are most often used as a breakfast roll, particularly as a base for breakfast sandwiches.
FOCACCIA – Focaccia bread was originally made in Italy. It tends to be relatively flat, as it is not kneaded before it is baked. It is not an entirely flat bread, because yeast is still one its ingredients, which causes it to rise slightly. Focaccia has a very rich flavor, and retains a lot of moisture, since it is brushed with olive oil before it is baked.
FRUIT BREAD – Fruit bread comes in almost countless varieties, consisting of dried fruit, and sometimes nuts. One of the most popular fruit breads is banana bread. Fruit bread is prepared very much like a cake, usually in a pan rather than as a freestanding loaf, and the mixture does not rise.
HOT CROSS BUN – Hot cross buns are very sweet round rolls, made with yeast and raisins, and often with a cross shape cut into the dough before baking. They are frequently garnished with icing and served on the Christian holiday Good Friday.
LEAVENING – Leavening refers to the process by which bread is made to rise; this produces a lighter and chewier texture to bread. Leavening is accomplished by adding either chemical agents (such as baking powder or baking soda) or yeast to the dough prior to baking bread.
MARBLE BREAD – Marble bread is made by combining pumpernickel and rye dough, and twisting the two together to create a swirl pattern in the finished product. Marble bread is baked in dense loaves and often used for deli sandwiches.
MATZO – Matzo is an unleavened flatbread, with a crisp and crunchy consistency similar to crackers, traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday known as Passover.
M’SMEN – M’smen is traditionally made in Morocco. It is a flatbread, usually eaten as a breakfast food, with a flaky texture and a buttery flavor.
NAAN – Naan is a Middle Eastern bread. It is a flatbread, similar to pita bread without a pocket. It is made by combining dough and leavening, and baking the mixture in a clay oven. Naan is sometimes served topped with butter, cheese, garlic, or spiced vegetables.
PANETTONE – A traditional Italian bread served at Christmas, panettone is prepared by curing dough for many days, then adding a variety of candied fruits, raisins, and sometimes lemon zest. The finished product is a tall loaf with an airy and light interior, and a sweet flavor.
PARATHA – Paratha is an Indian flatbread similar to naan. It is prepared with whole wheat flour, which is then fried in oil. Paratha is frequently served stuff with cheese or vegetables.
POORI – Poori is another Indian bread made with whole wheat flour, combined with salt and water. The mixture is fried in oil, and the finished product looks like a puffy pillow.
POPOVER- A popover is a roll made by cooking egg batter in muffin tins. The rolls are crispy and light, with a hollow interior. Their name comes from the cooking method, which allows the batter to pop over the edge of the muffin cups.
POTATO BREAD – Potato bread was originally baked in Ireland, when a large amount of flour was replaced with mashed potatoes before baking bread. Potato bread has a denser texture than other breads, and a unique flavor.
PUFF PASTRY – Puff pastry is made by combining wheat dough with butter or fat, then rolling the mixture out many times over. Puff pastry is very flaky in texture and buttery in flavor.
PRETZEL – Pretzels are made by rolling yeast bread into a long tube, and twisting and knotting the tube into a specific pretzel shape.
PUMPERNICKEL – Pumpernickel bread is with a combination of sour dough and crushed rye grains, covered and baked at a low temperature for a long time. Pumpernickel can range from brown to black in color, and is frequently used to make deli sandwiches.
RYE – Rye bread is made from rye flour, which can range from light to dark based on the density and amount of fiber. Rye’s flavor is much stronger than that of traditional wheat bread, and its texture is much more dense.
SCONE – A scone is classified as a quick bread. They are prepared by combining flour, baking soda, sugar, eggs, milk and butter and baking the mixture. The texture of a scone is very dense and dry, with a very hard crust. They are traditionally eaten as a breakfast food, with butter, clotted cream, or honey, and are often flavored with fruit in the dough, such as blueberries or raisins.
SODA BREAD – Soda bread is prepared by substituting baking soda for yeast in a traditional bread recipe. Soda bread is very sweet with a light texture, and is frequently flavored by adding nuts or raisins to the dough.
SOURDOUGH – Sourdough bread is baked with certain bacteria that produce lactic acid and create a sour taste. Sourdough typically has a crispy outer crust and a softer, crumbier interior.
WHITE BREAD – Classic white bread has actually been around for a relatively short time, compared to other breads. It is made with bleached, chemically refined white flour, resulting in its white color. Similarly, whole wheat bread is made with whole wheat flour, which is not refined.
Now that you know more about different kinds of bread, you can try to bake some of these varieties on your own, in order to improve your baking skills. With a little practice, you’ll be able to bake all kinds of bread and other baked treats in no time.
WHAT TYPE OF BREAD IS USED FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF SANDWICHES?
When it’s lunchtime, the sandwich is king. The lunch staple dates back to the 1700s, when the Earl of Sandwich, a notorious gambler, asked for meat placed between two slices of bread so he could eat and gamble concurrently. The craze caught on as other gamblers ordered the same, and a lunchbox addition was born. Although a traditional sandwich may seem a bit boring, changing the types of bread and fillings can yield a different flavor and texture that allows the sandwich to be a versatile food.
WHITE AND WHOLE WHEAT
When you head to the grocery store, chances are that you make a beeline for the bakery. There, you’ll find rows of bagged sandwich bread. White and whole wheat bread varieties have a mild flavor, which make them best for mild fillings such as meat, vegetables and various butters. Unfortunately, white bread has been stripped of the whole wheat nutrients, so when in doubt, reach for the whole wheat variety. Two slices of whole wheat bread offers 3.6 g protein and 1.9 g fiber as opposed to white bread, which has only 1.9 g of protein and 0.6 g of fiber.
FLATBREADS AND PITAS
Traditional bread is made with yeast, which causes the texture to be light and airy. Yeast bread is a traditionally a Western culture item. In Middle Eastern cultures, bread is made unleavened so it does not rise. The result is chewy, dense types of bread such as pita and naan. Ideal for making wraps and stuffed pockets, unleavened breads typically have fewer carbohydrates than leavened breads, so they’re a good choice when you’re watching your daily carb intake.
Breads such as rye, pumpernickel and sourdough have distinct flavors that can often be acquired tastes. These breads are often sold as specialty items in bakeries and grocery stores. Because the flavor is often strong, they make the best sandwiches when paired with flavorful fillings, such as pastrami and strong cheese. Two slices of rye bread have 83 calories, 2 g of fiber and 3 g of protein, making it a sensible choice come lunchtime.
BAGELS AND ENGLISH MUFFINS
Although sandwiches are often associated with lunchtime, breakfast can be an ideal time for a sandwich as well. Eating a breakfast sandwich made with lean meat and vegetables is a fiber-filled way to start the day and feel full until lunch. Bagels, which are circular and have a center hole, are notorious for being large, so check serving sizes before you eat one as a healthy breakfast. Or make a breakfast sandwich made with egg and lean meat with a whole wheat English muffin for a healthy alternative to fast food fare.