We had a paper on baking in my PG course.When I was given an assignment on bakery goods,I went around looking for books that would be useful.The topic being vast, I was so confused that I didn't know how many pages the assignment would run into.My professor was noted for giving extra credits for creativeness.I decided to make use of this and started pouring over umpteen books.During my search I found a dog-eared book lying in the corner of the bookshelf.This dusty book contained a lot a things I need for the assignment as well as interesting stuffs that was good to read. I dutifully included that in my assignment and earned the extra credits and was the class topper!!!And the treasure that I found was my assignment paper which looks like a mini thesis!
Here are those inetersting facts for you to read and relish from the book - 'The bread tray' by Louis P.Degouy.
- Evidence indicates that as primitive man had no flour,he made a kind of bread out of crushed acorn or beechnuts .To rid them of bitterness,he soaked them in water.The mass was taken up , squeezed into a solid cake and dried in the sun
- The Egyptians made bread from wheat,spelt,durra,kneading it with their feet.This struck Herodotus,the Greek historian who visited Egypt ,as odd."Dough they knead with their feet",he observed ,"but they use their hands for clay".
- We know that ancient Pompeii boasted professional bakers;for excavations in the buried city have turned up loaves of bread that bears imprints of the bakers names presumably as a guaranty of purity and weight at the time of sale.
- The ancient Greeks were the most skillful bakers of theirs day;They knew how to make at least 72 varieties of bread.
- In 51 B.C. Athenian judges were ordered to eat wheaten loaves only on holidays and barley cakes at other times,to bring them nearer the people.
- Before 55 B.C. the use of ovens for baking was unknown in Rome.After the loaf of bread was kneaded ,it was toasted either upon a warm hearth or bake-stone,as it was later called when made of metal.Thus was the griddle invented.
- In 1467,the early Leicester created a bread sauce which he called "saucealiper".
- In 1487,it was unlawful to purchase flour except by physicians prescription.
- In 1541 Michelangelo Buonarroti,the famous Florentine painter ,derived inspiration from a meal of a dozen onion and bread.
- In 1615,Canny Scots used to bake bread in the form of boxes for use as containers in the pantry.When these bread-boxes were stale,they soaked them in water and ate them as breakfast bread.
- In 1626 Louis XIII of France became so fond of gingerbread that his courtiers carried it around in ornamental cases.
- General Jean Cuvie-Prescent in 1613 paid an equivalent of $2000 to obtain the services of a French chef who was reputed to be the best cinnamon bun baker in all of France.
- To ensure and assure authentic foreign bread-making and cooking ,Count Albard de Resnek of Sweden engaged a skilled chef from each European country
- It was in 1671 that the whimsical Paris bakers made the first 5 foot long french bread thus making culinary history.
- In 1695 when "Civilite",a book of etiquette a la Emily post was published,readers were informed that it was no longer good manners to wipe their fingers on the bread.
- In the 17th century,in the Baltic states,a girl could propose to a bashful youth by baking a loaf of bread and sending it to him.There was just one catch-the girl had to produce a witness who could testify that her intended bridegroom received the loaf while it was still warm.
- In the 17th century,the "bread and cake eating lady" was a familiar figure at English fairs.One such performer ate 12 pounds of cakes and bread in less than 30 minutes at each of the 6 daily performances.
- At the height of bread shortage in Sicily in the 17th century,bread was actually used for currency.
- 'Deacon Porter's hat' is a bread pudding shaped like a hat and since 1837 it has been very popular as a dessert in New England's oldest family.
- In the 18th century it was the custom for a Bulgarian bridegroom to carry a loaf of fresh bread with him to the alter as a token that he would provide well for his bride.
- The common 'X' mark on the flour bags originated in the California gold rush.It indicated the price,not in quality.Thus a sack marked 'XXXX' showed that the price was $40.
- In medieval England,bread was both food and plates for all but the wealthy.Food was served in hollowed-out bread loaves.The juice soaked loaves were the forerunner of 'Bread and Gravy'
- While writing,Anatole France,the french satirist,used to nibble on white bread,claiming that by doing so he was much more inspired and could write better.
- The first "Kitchen Raider" was Julius Caesar who used to get up at 3 am for some bread and cheese,then return to bed to digest in peace.
- Homemakers of Reykjavik,the Iceland capital which is named for its hot springs,often use the hot flowing earth nearby for baking their bread.
- A bakers dozen of rolls must weigh a fixed amount .If it does not,the baker will be beheaded-so decreed Henry VII.His bakers took no chances.To insure themselves against the loss of their heads they began adding an extra roll.So the term 'Baker's Dozen' came into being.
- The famous monument called the 'Uneven dozen' in Suere, Bolivia, was built with the money collected from bakers who were fined for not selling a 'bakers dozen'[13 pieces to a dozen]
- In olden times English housewives scratched a cross in a loaf of bread before baking so that it would be bewitched and "turn out heavy"
- In colonial days it often took more than 2 days to make bread.Home-prepared yeast was made from malt,potatoes and hops.Dough was mixed in troughs and the loaves were baked in either indoor or outdoor brick ovens.
- In Elizabethan days every Englishman carried a knife in his belt for cutting his bread and meat in case the host failed to provide one.
This Day That Year
2010 - Strawberry Smoothie - A vegan version.
Porridges - Our weekend breakfast.
Chuttaracha Chammadhi - A fiery red chillies chutney to go with our porridge.