At Bread Roots we pride ourselves on finding products that are nutritious and great tasting. We scour the market to
find Gluten Free, Spelt, Kamut and Organic products that will fit with our clients. We understand that customers
today are trying to stay healthy, that healthy feeling should also mean a piece of great tasting bread! Our
bakeries make handmade breads that are baked from the goodness of their hearts!
History of Bread
word itself, Old English bread, is common in various forms to many Germanic languages; such as German Brot,
Dutch brood, Swedish bröd, and Norwegian brød; it has been derived from the root of brew, but more probably
is connected with the root of break, for its early uses are confined to broken pieces, or bits of bread, the
Latin frustum, and it was not until the 12th century that it took the place-as the generic name for bread-of
hlaf (modern English loaf, which appears to be the oldest Teutonic name; Old High German hleib and modern
German, or Finnish, Estonian, and Russian „‡„|„u„q (khleb) are similar (all are derived from Old
is one of the oldest prepared foods, dating back to the Neolithic era. The first breads produced were
probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from ground cereal grains and water, and may have been
developed by accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of
these early breads are still commonly made from various grains worldwide, with the Mexican tortilla, Indian
chapati, Chinese poa ping, Scots oatcake, North American johnnycake, and Ethiopian injera all being
examples. The basic flat breads of this type also formed a staple in the diet of many early civilizations
with the Sumerians eating a type of barley flat cake, and the 12th century BC Egyptians being able to
purchase a flat bread called from stalls in the village streets.
The development of leavened bread can probably also be traced to prehistoric times. Yeast spores occur
everywhere, including the surface of cereal grains, so any dough left to rest will become naturally leavened.
Although leavening is likely of prehistoric origin, the earliest archaeological evidence is from ancient Egypt.
Scanning electron microscopy has detected yeast cells in some ancient Egyptian loaves. However, ancient
Egyptian bread was made from emmer wheat and has a dense crumb. In cases where yeast cells are not visible, it
is difficult to determine whether the bread was leavened by visual examination. As a result, the extent to
which bread was leavened in ancient Egypt remains uncertain.
There were multiple sources of leavening available for early bread. Air borne yeasts could be harnessed by
leaving uncooked dough exposed to air for some time before cooking. Pliny the Elder reported that the Gauls and
Iberians used the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples". Parts of the
ancient world that drank wine instead of beer used a paste composed of grape juice and flour that was allowed
to begin fermenting, or wheat bran steeped in wine, as a source for yeast. The most common source of leavening
however was to retain a piece of dough from the previous day to utilize as a form of sourdough starter.
Even within antiquity there was a wide variety of breads available. In the Deipnosophistae, the Greek author
Athenaeus describes some of the breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries available in the Classical world. Among
the breads mentioned are griddle cakes, honey-and-oil bread, mushroom shaped loaves covered in poppy seeds, and
the military specialty of rolls baked on a spit. The type and quality of flour used to produce bread could also
vary as noted by Diphilus when he declared "bread made of wheat, as compared with that made of barley, is more
nourishing, more digestible, and in every way superior. In order of merit, the bread made from refined
[thoroughly sieved] flour comes first, after that bread from ordinary wheat, and then the unbolted, made of
flour that has not been sifted."
Within medieval Europe bread served not only as a staple food but also as part of the table service. In the
standard table setting of the day the trencher, a piece of stale bread roughly 6 inches by 4 inches (15 cm by
10 cm), served as an absorbent plate. At the completion of a meal the trencher could then be eaten, given to
the poor, or fed to the dogs. It was not until the 15th Century that trenchers made of wood started to replace
the bread variety.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder is considered to be the father of sliced bread. In 1912 Rohwedder started work on
inventing a machine that sliced bread, but bakeries were reluctant to use it since they were concerned the
sliced bread would go stale. It was not until, when Rohwedder invented a machine that both sliced and wrapped
the bread, that sliced bread caught on. A bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri was the first to use this machine to
produce sliced bread.
For generations, white bread was considered the preferred bread of the rich while the poor ate dark bread.
However, the connotations reversed in the 20th century with dark bread becoming preferred as having superior
nutritional value while white bread became associated with lower class ignorance of nutrition.
Another major advance happened in 1961 with the development of the Chorleywood Bread Process which used the
intense mechanical working of dough to dramatically reduce the fermentation period and the time taken to
produce a loaf. This process is now widely used around the world.
Recently, domestic breadmakers that automate the process of making bread are becoming popular in the
is a popular food in Western and most other societies except for the Asian societies that typically prefer
rice. It is often made from a wheat flour dough that is cultured with yeast, allowed to rise, and finally
baked in an oven. Owing to its high levels of gluten (which give the dough sponginess and elasticity),
common wheat (also known as bread wheat) is the most common grain used for the preparation of bread, but
bread is also made from the flour of other wheat species (including duru, spelt and emmer), rye, barley,
maize (or corn), and oats, usually, but not always, in combination with wheat flour. Although common wheat
is best suited for making highly-risen white bread, other wheat species are capable of giving a good crumb.
Spelt bread (Dinkelbrot) continues to be widely consumed in Germany, and emmer bread was a staple food in
Composition and Chemistry
amount of water and flour are the most significant measurements in a bread recipe, as they affect texture
and crumb the most. Professional bakers use a system of percentages known as Bakers'
Percentage in their recipe formulations, and measure ingredients by weight instead of by volume.
Measurement by weight is much more accurate and consistent than measurement by volume, especially for the
Flour is always 100%, and the rest of the ingredients are a percent of that amount by weight. Common table
bread in the U.S. uses approximately 50% water, resulting in a finely textured, light, bread. Most artisan
bread formulas contain anywhere from 60 to 75% water. In yeast breads, the higher water percentages result in
more CO 2 bubbles, and a coarser bread crumb. One pound of flour will yield a standard loaf of bread, or two
is a product made from grain that has been ground into a powdery consistency. It is flour that provides the
primary structure to the final baked bread. Commonly available flours are made from rye, barley, maize, and
other grains, but it is wheat flour that is most commonly used for breads. Each of these grains provides
starch and protein to the final product.
Wheat flour in addition to its starch contains three water soluble proteins groups, albumin, globulin,
proteoses, and two non-water soluble proteins groups, glutenin and gliadin. When flour is mixed with water the
water-soluble proteins dissolve, leaving the glutenin and gliadin to form the structure of the resulting dough.
When worked by kneading, the glutenin forms strands of long thin chainlike molecules while the shorter gliadin
forms bridges between the stands of glutenin. The resulting networks of strands produced by these two proteins
is known as gluten. Gluten development improves if the dough is allowed to autolyse.
or some other liquid, is used to form the flour into a paste or dough. The volume of liquid required varies
between recipes, but a ratio of 1 cup of liquid to 3 cups of flour is common for yeast breads while recipes
that use steam as the primary leavening method may have a liquid content in excess of one part liquid to one
part flour by volume. In addition to water, other types of liquids that may be used include dairy products,
fruit juices, or beer. In addition to the water in each of these they also bring additional sweeteners,
fats, and or leavening components.
Leavening is the process of adding gas to a dough before or during baking to produce a lighter,
more easily chewed bread. Most bread consumed in the West is leavened. But there is also unleavened bread
which has important symbolic use in Judaism (Matzo) and is used by some Christian
simple technique for leavening bread is the use of gas-producing chemicals. There are two common methods.
The first is to use baking powder or a self-rising flour that includes baking powder. The second is to have
an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk and add baking soda. The reaction of the acid with the soda produces
Chemically-leavened breads are called quick breads and soda breads. This technique is commonly used to make
muffins and sweet breads such as banana bread.
breads are leavened by yeast, a type of single-celled fungus . The yeast used for leavening bread is
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same species used for brewing alcoholic beverages. This yeast ferments
carbohydrates in the flour and any sugar, producing carbon dioxide. Most bakers in the U.S. leaven their
doughs with commercially produced baker's yeast. Baker's yeast has the advantage of producing uniform,
quick, and reliable results, because it is obtained from a pure culture.
Both the baker's yeast, and the sourdough method of baking bread follow the same pattern. Water is mixed with
flour, salt and the leavening agent (baker's yeast or sourdough starter). Other additions (spices, herbs, fats,
seeds, fruit, etc.) are not necessary to bake bread, but often used. The mixed dough is then allowed to rise
one or more times (a longer rising time results in more flavor, so bakers often punch down the dough and let it
rise again), then loaves are formed and (after an optional final rising time) the bread is baked in an
Many breads are made from a straight dough, which means that all of the ingredients are combined in
one step, and the dough baked after the rising time. Alternatively, doughs can be made with the starter method,
when some of the flour, water, and the leavening are combined a day or so ahead of baking, and allowed to
ferment overnight. (Such as the poolish typically used for baguettes) On the day of the baking, the rest of the
ingredients are added, and the rest of the process is the same as that for straight doughs. This produces a
more flavorful bread with better texture. Many bakers see the starter method as a compromise between the highly
reliable results of baker's yeast, and the flavor/complexity of a longer fermentation. It also allows the baker
to use only a minimal amount of baker's yeast, which was scarce and expensive when it first became
sour taste of sourdoughs actually comes not from the yeast, but from a lactobacillus, with which the yeast
lives in symbiosis. The lactobacillus feeds on the byproducts of the yeast fermentation, and in turn makes
the culture go sour by excreting lactic acid, which protects it from spoiling (since most microbes are
unable to survive in an acid environment). All breads used to be sourdoughs, and the leavening process was
not understood until the 19th century, when with the advance of microscopes, scientists were able to
discover the microbes that make the dough rise. Since then, strains of yeast have been selected and cultured
mainly for reliability and quickness of fermentation. Billions of cells of these strains are then packaged
and marketed as "Baker's Yeast". Bread made with baker's yeast is not sour because of the absence of the
lactobacillus. Bakers around the world quickly embraced baker's yeast for it made baking simple and so
allowed for more flexibility in the bakery's operations. It made baking quick as well, allowing bakeries to
make fresh bread from scratch as often as three times a day. While European bakeries kept producing
sourdough breads, in the U.S., sourdough baking was widely replaced by baker's yeast, and only recently has
that country (or parts of it, at least) seen the rebirth of sour-vinegar dough in artisan bakeries.
Sourdough breads are most often made with a sourdough starter (not to be confused with the starter method
discussed above). A sourdough starter is a culture of yeast and lactobacillus. It is essentially a dough-like
or pancake-like flour/water mixture in which the yeast and lactobacilli live. A starter can be maintained
indefinitely by periodically discarding a part of it and refreshing it by adding fresh flour and water. (When
refrigerated, a starter can go weeks without needing to be fed.) There are starters owned by bakeries and
families that are several human generations old, much revered for creating a special taste or texture. Starters
can be obtained by taking a piece of another starter and growing it, or they can be made from scratch. There
are hobbyist groups on the web who will send their starter for a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and there
are even mailorder companies that sell different starters from all over the world. An acquired starter has the
advantage to be more proven and established (stable and reliable, resisting spoiling and behaving predictably)
than from-scratch starters.
There are other ways of sourdough baking and culture maintenance. A more traditional one is the process that
was followed by peasant families throughout Europe in past centuries. The family (usually the woman was in
charge of breadmaking) would bake on a fixed schedule, perhaps once a week. The starter was saved from the
previous week's dough. The starter was mixed with the new ingredients, the dough was left to rise, then a piece
of it was saved (to be the starter for next week's bread). The rest was formed into loaves which were marked
with the family sign (this is where today's decorative slashing of bread loaves originates from), and taken to
the communal oven to bake. These communal ovens over time evolved into what we know today as bakeries, when
certain people specialized in bread baking, and with time enhanced the process so far as to be able to mass
produce cheap bread for everyone in the village.
Breads across different
There are many variations on the basic recipe of bread, including pizza, chapatis,
tortillas, baguettes, brioche, pitas, lavash, biscuits, pretzels, naan, bagels, puris, and many other
Britain and the United States, the most widely consumed type of bread is soft-textured with a thin
crust and is sold ready-sliced in packages. It is usually eaten with the crust, but some eaters or
preparers may remove the crust due to a personal preference or style of serving, as for high
- Jews have traditionally baked challah, a type of egg bread with a thin, hard crust and a
soft, well-leavened center. It is made by wrapping plaits of dough and then lightly baking them in an
oven. Challah is sometimes sweetened using honey and sometimes includes raisins. It is customary to add
salt to it before eating it.
Scotland, another form of bread called plain bread is also consumed. Plain bread loaves are noticeably
taller and thinner, with burned crusts at only the top and bottom of the loaf. Plain bread has a much
firmer texture than British and American pan bread. Plain Bread is becoming less common as the Bread
consumed elsewhere in Britain is becoming more popular with consumers.
France, pan bread is known as pain de mie and is used only for toast or for making stuffing; standard
bread (in the form of baguettes or thicker breads) has a thick crust and often has large bubbles of air
inside. Some fancy breads contain walnuts, or are encrusted with poppy seeds.
- Focaccia is quite popular in Italy, and is known in Provence as fougasse or as fouace in the
rest of southern France. It is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs, and often either topped with
cheese or stuffed with meat or vegetables. Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza
- White bread is made from flour
containing only the central core of the grain (endosperm).
- Brown bread is made with endosperm and
- Wholemeal bread contains the whole of
the wheatgrain (endosperm and bran).
- Wheatgerm bread has added wheatgerm for
- Wholegrain bread is white bread with
added wholegrains to increase the fibre content.
- Granary bread is bread made from granary
flour, trademarked to Hovis made from malted white or brown flour, wheatgerm and
- Stottie cake is a
thick, flat, round loaf. Stotties are common in the North East of England. Although it is called a
cake, it is a type of bread.
- Being the simplest, cheapest and most basic type of food, bread is often referred as a
metaphor for 'food' in general, in some languages and dialects, such as
- Christian traditional societies (usually in poor communities), used to respect bread since
Jesus symbolised his body with it. The sign of the cross was performed with the knife on the bread's
surface, before the loaf was cut. Sometimes it was considered a sin to desecrate bread (eg. throw it
- Spelt flour can substitute for wheat flour in many products (breads, pasta, cookies,
crackers, cakes, muffins, pancakes and waffles). The starch in spelt is more soluble than wheat and
recipes containing spelt flour will frequently require less water than when using wheat flour. People
with 'allergies' to wheat starch commonly report that spelt is easier to digest. Spelt does however
contain gluten, and people with gluten allergies (celiac disease) are likely to be allergic to spelt,
similar to wheat and other gluten grains. Most of the Ontario crop is sold for human consumption but it
can also be used in livestock rations similar to oats for its protein and fibre
- SPELT vs. WHEAT While many people have compared Spelt to commercial strains of wheat, it is
markedly different. All grains of this family are derived from grasses, some, such as Spelt, are closer
to the earliest cultivated crops in the western world. Spelt's origins can be traced back to
approximately 5,000 BC in the area now know as Iran. Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a distant cousin to
modern wheat (Triticum aestivum). Perhaps a better description would be that spelt is a great uncle of
modern wheat. Modern wheat varieties have been bred to be easier to grow and harvest, to increase
yield, as well as to have a high gluten content for the production of high-volume commercial baked
goods. Spelt, on the other hand, has retained much of its original character. It retains a sturdy husk
or hull which remains with the kernel, as opposed to modern wheat varieties which have been bred to
lose their husks when harvested (free threshing). This hull protects the Spelt grain from pollutants
and insects. Furthermore, unlike other grains, spelt is not normally treated with pesticides or other
chemicals., Spelt is stored and shipped with its protective hull intact; it is separated just before
being milled into flour. Leaving the husk on the grain not only protects the kernel, but enhances the
retention of the nutrients in the kernel and improves freshness.
section does not cite its references or sources.
- Bread is mentioned in the Lord's Prayer, where it is commonly understood to mean necessities
- Similarly, the word bread is now a commonly used around the world in English speaking
countries as a synonym for money. Derived from the rhyming slang "Bread and
- The anime and manga Yakitate!! Japan chronicles the quest of a young baker to create a 'bread
that tastes better than rice'; i.e., one that the Japanese people would accept as a staple
- The phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread", to mean something of superlative quality,
is common in the UK and United States, there is also at least a German
- Lithuanian folk saying: "Bread cries when a lazy person eats it". Refers to how difficult it
was to produce bread, from sowing to baking, in antiquity.
- The word "companion" literally means one with whom bread is shared (com with + pani
- In some Asian Christian churches, the people eat rice cakes instead of bread served in the
- During the 1960s, the hippie community used the term bread as a euphemism for
- Turkmen President Saparmyrat Niyazov re-named the word bread (core [chorek]) after his mother
(Gurbansoltan e?e [Gurbansoltan edzhe]), as another of his eccentric
- In Israel, the most usual phrase in work related demonstrations is "lehem, avoda" [bread,