Our daily bread - the tradition of baking bread

The smell of freshly baked bread usually evokes pleasant and comforting thoughts in all of us. For some, it is the fresh loaf of bread from the bakery, which was immediately devoured by the whole family with butter and salt, others remember the countryside and farms. And surely YOU also associate your own memories with this perhaps most down-to-earth of all fragrances.

The fact is, we Germans like to eat bread a lot. But with all the different types of bread and new inventions of bread, the tradition of baking bread is increasingly being forgotten.
That's why we're taking a closer look today: Where did bread baking originate? Why is there so much variety, especially in Germany?

Origin

In ancient times, emmer and einkorn were cultivated first. These two plants were the ancestors of today's wheat, so to speak, and were eaten raw by the farmers.
At some point, the farmers of our prehistoric times came up with the idea of crushing the grains, soaking them and mixing them into a porridge.
For a long time, people were satisfied with this porridge. One day, however, one of the farmers had a mishap and dropped some of the porridge on a hot stone.
And lo and behold, the porridge dried and turned into a kind of flat cake.
It wasn't thick or particularly firm, but it was firm enough - and therefore the perfect snack for on the go.

Bread, as we know it, was first baked by the ancient Egyptians.
Around 6,000 years ago, the Egyptians developed the first ovens and created the first bakeries.
Thanks to the Egyptians, we also know that bread becomes particularly light and fluffy if you let the dough "rise".
What we understand by fermentation today is basically nothing more than the following process: tiny yeasts and lactic acid bacteria, which occur naturally in the air, multiply in the dough and release carbon dioxide in the process. This carbon dioxide causes the dough to loosen and increase in volume.
This chemical process also gave the modern term "bread" its name. This is because the Old High German term "prôt" describes fermented dough and it was from this fermented dough that the ancient Egyptians kneaded several different types of bread.

Variety diversity

Once again we look back into the past, but this time not quite so far.

It goes back to the time of the Romans, who developed the first rotary mills to simplify the grinding of grains. However, the Romans soon realized that the type of wheat they were trying to grow did not grow well in the cooler and wetter north.
The large-scale bakeries that emerged in the Roman Empire did not help much. A new type of grain had to be found: rye.
At first they thought the plant was an unnecessary weed, but they soon realized that this "weed" was very suitable for bread making. The flour from this plant colored the bread darker than that previously produced. In addition, rye flour and bread withstood the harsh climate of the Alps and the newly discovered rye could be grown and harvested as far away as northern Germany.

From this time onwards, bread was baked with rye flour, wheat flour or even a mixture of the two. Bread became a staple food and was eaten at practically every meal and time of day. As a result, it was inevitable that many people tried their hand at bread and many new recipes were created that made bread taste different from place to place.
However, there was another reason for the diversity of bread. We look at Germany, which in the late Middle Ages consisted of many small independent towns and duchies. Within these borders, not only did different dialects, customs and traditions develop, but also different types of bread.

Whether urban or rural, the ingredients were supplied by local farmers and the recipes were passed down from generation to generation. Community events were held at which bread baking was essential and the focus of interest. And the bakehouses served an important purpose: as there was a risk of fire when baking bread, almost all of the town's bread was baked in the central village oven, which was constantly monitored. The bakehouses thus became meeting places and the hub of village life.

Today

After all these years, bread has more than stood the test of time and is now one of the essential staple foods that we consume every day. People's increased health and environmental awareness in particular has led to a sharp rise in interest and demand for sustainable products, including traditionally baked bread and healthy bread varieties.

So that you always have bread at home, with or without butter, here are the most common variations:

Wheat bread - consists of at least 90 percent wheat flour, which ensures a mild taste.
' Wheat breads are: White bread, baguette and ciabatta.

Mixed wheat bread - 51 to 89 percent wheat flour, has a stronger taste than wheat bread.
' Mixed wheat breads are: e.g: Hamburg fine bread and Kasseler.

Rye bread - at least 90 percent rye flour.
' Has a strong, often slightly sour taste.

Mixed rye bread - 51 to 89 percent rye flour. The higher the proportion of rye, the stronger the taste.
' Mixed rye breads are: Mecklenburger Landbrot and Paderborner Brot.

Wholemeal bread - at least 90 percent rye or whole wheat flour (or a mixture of both flours).
' Wholemeal flour contains all the components of the grain, either finely ground, as coarse meal or as a whole grain.


Because the smell of freshly baked bread in the air fills almost everyone with joy and a good loaf consists of very few basic ingredients, we are providing you with a recipe for baking it yourself:

Farmer's bread - Recipe

Ingredients:
500 g wheat flour
500 g wholemeal rye flour
1 sachet of dry yeast
1 sachet of sourdough extract (powder)
1 tbsp salt
750 ml lukewarm water
150 g sunflower and pumpkin seeds
some flour for kneading the dough Preparation time:
30 min Rest period:
180 min Baking time:
45 min