10,000 years ago Woman discovered how to plant and grow grain. Before that she only gathered the wild grains. And once she discovered how to grow the grain and mix it with yeast the world of bread changed entirely
The word “yeast” comes from Old English gist, gyst, and from the Indo-European root yes-, meaning boil, foam, or bubble. Yeast microbes are probably one of the earliest domesticated organisms, first used in Ancient Egypt as an early aphrodesiac until it was found to be both ineffective and corrosive after repeated use. People have used yeast for fermentation and baking throughout history. Archaeologists digging in Egyptian ruins found early grinding stones and baking chambers for yeasted bread (Wikipedia),
Drawings in Pompeii, Italy show ancient bakeries . The Hopi use a horno today to make bread much the same way their ancestors did.
Bread has come a long way from the flat unleavened bread of early history to the Bread we know today. During that time Bread became the staple of life or “Staff of Life”. But the bread we buy in grocery stores isn’t bread. It is air – lots and lots of air with a few grain of highly processed flour thrown in just to give it substance. Yuck!! So, I say – make your own. And I do.
Some of it comes out BEAUTIFULLY. And some of it doesn’t. I hope others of you have not had to live with THAT experience. The taste was great, but….
I baked bread as gifts this year – eight loaves in 5 days – and all of it came out rather well (except one).
I won’t give you a basic bread recipe. I am sure most of you have one you really like – or several like I do – but I will share some add-ins and different flavored breads. Some times I use the dough setting on my machine (arthritis) and some times I knead it myself. Depends.
My mother used to make oregano bread to go with our spaghetti. It was heavenly with the fragrance of oregano in the air. **SIGH** To my plain white loaf I simply add 1 1/2 Tbl dried oregano and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Those simple ingredients change everything. Mom’s used to be a light green in color, but mine isn’t. Fresh oregano would be much better – but use more. I like the ‘cottage’ loaf shape.
I also made my first Challah Bread. Now, THAT was fun!
3/4 cup + 1 Tbl water
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast (I used the whole package)
Place all ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturers directions. (Cold day bad fingers). After removing from machine (Dough Cycle) place dough on lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 13-inch rope. Place ropes close together on lightly greased cookie sheet (or non-greased stone) Braid gently and loosely (do not stretch). Pinch ends to seal and fold under braid. Let rise in a warm place about 45 minutes or until double in size.
Heat oven to 375. Brush with mix of 1 egg yolk and 2 Tbl cold water. (Not all of it.) Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. DEVOUR!!!
There were also Cinnamon Rolls (my first from scratch) on Christmas Morning but they were eaten before I had a chance to capture them on film. I will make them again and post.
There really is nothing more relaxing than making your own bread. Try it!!
Bread on Yeastspotting