Bread in Time

Bread was first discovered, or rather created in Egypt more than 30,000 years ago. Since then it  has travelled across continents changing shape, size, texture and flavour along the way.  A staple in most cuisines, bread has had an important role to play in our history and culture. It was common across every strata of society; the rich and poor relished it with equally joy. It was one of the most primitive forms of evolution wherein a man first discovered how to cultivate fire and grains to create something edible, nutritious and delicious.

Bread is seen in different forms across the world. In Europe we see them primarily in the form of baguettes, ciabattas, focaccia, pumpernickels, etc. The French & Italians have mastered the art of transforming a humble loaf of bread into delicious concoctions using various oils, fats, flavours, herbs and techniques. In the middle east bread is usually found in a flatter version in the form of pita, naans and it’s likes. These breads have lesser yeasts and tend to be accompanied by gravies, dips and meat. In India we have whole wheat flat bread in the form of rotis which has no yeast or salt and is usually made with a mix of flour, water and some oil. These rotis vary as you travel across the country; paper thin along the coats, thick and flavoured with spices and onions in the central and northern regions. The San Francisco Sourdough is world renowned, getting its name from a bacteria present in the air there. The American corn bread is representative of the agricultural and eating practises of the country.

Although bread has such a significance to our culture, it has lost its place in our diets over the last decade. Today we view our food in the form of nutrients, calories or portion sizes and not as a whole. Here bread took the biggest hit because it provided equal good with bad. With the rise in industrialisation and automation of food production, bread got reduced to a packaged loaf of numerous additives, low quality flour, salt & sugar. Bread that once wore the mark of its maker become a mass produced product with no soul. Fad diets, misinformation and a growing concern for health caused bread to get further pushed down the pecking order, making it some kind of enemy of the modern health conscious individual.

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