The first homemade bread recipes were very simple and they only involved cereal grains mixed with water, and it is believed that the first bread was baked by mistake, but people liked the taste so they decided to experiment with grain flour and water. At the time being, there are tens of different types of breads all around the world, and some of them are round while others are flat: the Scottish oatcake, the Mexican tortilla or the Middle Eastern pita are only three of them.
Throughout the centuries, people have made bread not only for personal consumption, but also as offerings to the Gods, and some of these offerings contained a mix of wine and wheat that was allowed to ferment before it was turned into bread. Some of the world’s strongest empires relied on the use of bread: the Greeks and the Romans consumed bread on a wide scale, and it is believed that the first oven that was especially designed for bread making was invented by the Greek people.
As mentioned above, the first breads only contained basic ingredients, but as the time passed people have started to experiment with more and more ingredients, some of which were very sweet. For example, honey was added to the bread, to make it more nourishing and easier to digest. During the medieval times, bread was usually served as an absorbent rather than as a dish.
The history of bread making is strongly related to the industrialization period: it was then when bread was produced at a larger scale, and when the first variations of sliced bread were introduced. This happened at the beginning of the 20th century, and after the introduction of bread slicing machines, bakeries started to use automated machines for wrapping the bread as well.
The meaning and color of bread have also changed throughout time: at first, white bread was considered to be superior to dark bread, the latter being made from whole grains. However, modern studies have revealed that dark bread is far superior to white bread in terms of nutritional value, as it has more minerals and vitamins.
At first, bread was handmade: people added and mixed the ingredients manually, and then the dough was manually introduced into the oven. However, industrialization has lead to the development of machines and tools that reduced the fermentation period and boosted the nutritional value of bread: today, we can make bread far more nutritious by using high-quality grain and by adding extra minerals to it. This is not as time-consuming as traditional bread making, although the taste of the bread may be slightly different.
Modern bread making, however, often involves the use of automated bread makers. These machines can be industrial (and can make hundreds of breads at the same time) or residential, for personal use. The first bread maker was released in the 1980s and it was designed by the company that is now known as Panasonic. Soon after that, bread machines have become popular across the United States and the United Kingdom. However, it must be said that personal bread makers are not suitable for commercial use given their limited duty cycle.