The Wonderful World of Bread
It’s very often the first thing you eat after being seated at a restaurant. The quality of this one item can be a predictor of the overall quality of the establishment and of the upcoming meal. We’re of course talking about the ultimate comfort food…bread.
Consumption of bread has been an integral part of social gatherings for thousands of years. We even have the expression “breaking bread together” which is used to describe a peaceful meeting between people. Of course bread plays a symbolic role in many religions, including Christianity, where the Eucharist serves as a reenactment of the Last Supper.
Another bread-related saying, “best thing since sliced bread” has been around for 82 years. How do we know this exactly? Because Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread-slicing machine 82 years ago in Missouri! The list of related sayings goes on and on, with “bread-winner”, “breadbasket,” etc.
So who was the first person to get the idea to make tasty bread?
Bread is one of the most ancient prepared foods, likely dating back 30,000 years, at the end of the Stone Age. Its beginnings might have been an accidental mixing of water and ground grains that were heated together. This simple type of unleavened bread is still made today and includes flat breads, tortillas, naan, and other similar foods.
Leavened bread came about naturally. Yeast is present in the air, so bread dough left unattended developed yeast spores over time. The Gauls were known to skim off foam from beer and use that as a yeast starter. Formalized addition of yeast and leavened bread likely began in Egypt.
There are dozens of different kinds of breads, from A-Z (Aish Merahrah, an Egyptian flatbread to Zopf, Swiss bread similar with a golden brown egg-brushed crust.
Let’s Review the Origins of Some of the Most Popular Bread Types:
- White bread – modern commerce necessitated white bread which resists spoilage. White bread has the bran and germ removed and needed to be fortified with nutrients after soldiers in WWII showed signs of nutrient deficiency.
- Sourdough bread contains lactobacillus, a scary sounding name for lacti-acid producing bacteria. They are used to produce yogurt and cheese as well as San Francisco’s famous bread. Sourdough production involves a unique process where the “starter’ for the dough is a piece of the previous batch. This process goes on indefinitely, which helps lend distinct flavors to every individual bakery product.
- Baguettes are French-created loaves that are long and thin. Traditional baguettes are crispier on top and less dense than typical American-baked loaves. Just think of any film where any given character comes home from the grocery store. Head of lettuce? Check. Paper bag? Check. And of course a baguette poking out on top! This bread is made with wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt without other additives.
Simply switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Washington reported in the April 2, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Belgian Waffle Works bakes fresh whole wheat grain hamburger buns and dinner rolls to serve to customers. Stop in and try a delicious cinnamon loaf made fresh with whole grain flour stuffed with golden raisins and topped with a gooey vanilla frosting. The Belgian Waffle Works also serves the Ruben, Tuna Melt and Patty Melt on a delicious marbled rye bread. Other choices for bread include our white, wheat berry and sourdough bread to go along with our famous Walnut Chicken, Tuna, Egg Salad or fresh cut meats.
The Belgian Waffle Works is a full-service family restaurant featuring 17 original specialty Belgian-style waffles, homemade soups, fresh market salads, gourmet sandwiches, juicy burgers, homemade breads, Espresso, Cappuccino, premium desserts, wine, beer, specialty drinks and more. Belgian Waffle Works’ waffles are made from an exclusive mix, which is available for sale on site and online. Come join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You’ll be glad you did!