To see bread in your dream, represents the basic needs of life. Bread may signify the positive qualities and great things you have learned on your journey of life. Alternatively, it suggests that you need to rise above the situation or rise for MORE?
Bread is a staple food prepared by baking a dough of flour and water. It is popular around the world and is one of the world's oldest foods.
The virtually infinite combinations of different flours, and differing proportions of ingredients, has resulted in the wide variety of types, shapes, sizes, and textures available around the world. It may be leavened (aerated) by a number of different processes ranging from the use of naturally occurring microbes to high-pressure artificial aeration during preparation and/or baking, or may be left unleavened. A wide variety of additives may be used, from fruits and nuts to various fats, to chemical additives designed to improve flavour, texture, colour, and/or shelf life.
Bread may be served in different forms at any meal of the day, eaten as a snack, and is even used as an ingredient in other culinary preparations. As a basic food worldwide, bread has come to take on significance beyond mere nutrition, evolving into a fixture in religious rituals, secular cultural life, and language.
The word itself, Old English bread, is common in various forms to many Germanic languages, such as Frisian brea, Dutch brood, German Brot, Swedish bröd, and Norwegian and Danish brød; it has been claimed to be derived from the root of brew. It may be connected with the root of break, for its early uses are confined to broken pieces or bits of bread, the Latin crustum, and it was not until the 12th century that it took the place—as the generic name for bread—of hlaf (𐌷𐌻𐌰𐌹𐍆𐍃 [hlaifs] in Gothic: modern English loaf), which appears to be the oldest Teutonic name. Old High German hleib and modern German Laib derive from this Proto-Germanic word for "loaf", and it is coradical with Polish chleb, Russian хлеб (khleb), and borrowed into Finnish leipä and Estonian leib as well.
In many cultures, bread is a metaphor for basic necessities and living conditions in general. For example, a "bread-winner" is a household's main economic contributor and has little to do with actual bread-provision. This is also seen in the phrase "putting bread on the table". The Roman poet Juvenal satirised superficial politicians and the public as caring only for "panem et circenses" (bread and circuses). In Russia in 1917, the Bolsheviks promised "peace, land, and bread." The term "breadbasket" denotes an agriculturally productive region. In Slavic cultures bread and salt is offered as a welcome to guests. In India, life's basic necessities are often referred to as "roti, kapra aur makan" (bread, cloth, and house). In Israel, the most usual phrase in work-related demonstrations is lekhem, avoda ("bread, work").
The word bread is commonly used around the world in English-speaking countries as a synonym for money (as is the case with the word "dough"). A remarkable or revolutionary innovation is often referred to in North America and the United Kingdom as "the greatest thing since sliced bread" or "the best thing since sliced bread". In Cockney rhyming slang, bread means money; this usage is derived from the phrase "bread and honey". During the 1950s the beatnik community used the term bread as a euphemism for money.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. Evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe revealed starch residue on rocks used for pounding plants. It is possible that during this time, starch extract from the roots of plants, such as cattails and ferns, was spread on a flat rock, placed over a fire and cooked into a primitive form of flatbread. Around 10,000 BC, with the dawn of the Neolithic age and the spread of agriculture, grains became the mainstay of making bread. Yeast spores are ubiquitous, including the surface of cereal grains, so any dough left to rest will become naturally leavened.
There were multiple sources of leavening available for early bread. Airborne yeasts could be harnessed by leaving uncooked dough exposed to air for some time before cooking. Pliny the Elder reported that the Gauls and Iberians used the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples." Parts of the ancient world that drank wine instead of beer used a paste composed of grape juice and flour that was allowed to begin fermenting, or wheat bran steeped in wine, as a source for yeast. The most common source of leavening was to retain a piece of dough from the previous day to use as a form of sourdough starter.
In 1961 the Chorleywood bread process was developed, which used the intense mechanical working of dough to dramatically reduce the fermentation period and the time taken to produce a loaf. The process, whose high-energy mixing allows for the use of lower protein grain, is now widely used around the world in large factories. As a result, bread can be produced very quickly and at low costs to the manufacturer and the consumer. However there has been some criticism of the effect on nutritional value.
Recently, domestic bread machines that automate the process of making bread have become popular.
Bread is the staple food in Europe, European-derived cultures such as the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Africa, as opposed to East Asia whose staple is rice. Bread is usually made from a wheat-flour dough that is cultured with yeast, allowed to rise, and finally baked in an oven. Owing to its high levels of gluten (which give the dough sponginess and elasticity), common wheat (also known as bread wheat) is the most common grain used for the preparation of bread.
Bread is also made from the flour of other wheat species (including durum, spelt and emmer), rye, barley, maize (corn), and oats, usually, but not always, in combination with wheat flour. Spelt bread (Dinkelbrot) continues to be widely consumed in Germany, and emmer bread was a staple food in ancient Egypt. Canadian bread is known for its heartier consistency due to high protein levels in Canadian flour.
The term quick bread usually refers to a bread chemically leavened, usually with both baking powder and baking soda, and a balance of acidic ingredients and alkaline ingredients. Examples include pancakes and waffles, muffins and carrot cake, Boston brown bread, and zucchini and banana bread.
Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed (e.g., mantou), fried (e.g., puri), or baked on an unoiled frying pan (e.g., tortillas). It may be leavened or unleavened (e.g. matzo). Salt, fat and leavening agents such as yeast and baking soda are common ingredients, though bread may contain other ingredients, such as milk, egg, sugar, spice, fruit (such as raisins), vegetables (such as onion), nuts (such as walnuts) or seeds (such as poppy). Referred to colloquially as the "staff of life", bread has been prepared for at least 30,000 years. The development of leavened bread can probably also be traced to prehistoric times. Sometimes, the word bread refers to a sweetened loaf cake, often containing appealing ingredients like dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts or spices, such as pumpkin bread, banana bread or gingerbread.
Fresh bread is prized for its taste, aroma, quality, appearance and texture. Retaining its freshness is important to keep it appetizing. Bread that has stiffened or dried past its prime is said to be stale. Modern bread is sometimes wrapped in paper or plastic film or stored in a container such as a breadbox to reduce drying. Bread that is kept in warm, moist environments is prone to the growth of mold. Bread kept at low temperatures, in a refrigerator for example, will develop mold growth more slowly than bread kept at room temperature, but will turn stale quickly due to retrogradation.
The soft, inner part of bread is known to bakers and other culinary professionals as the crumb, which is not to be confused with small bits of bread that often fall off, called crumbs. The outer hard portion of bread is called the crust.
Professional baker recipes are stated using a notation called baker's percentage. The amount of flour is denoted to be 100%, and the amounts of the other ingredients are expressed as a percentage of that amount by weight. Measurement by weight is more accurate and consistent than measurement by volume, particularly for dry ingredients.
The proportion of water to flour is the most important measurement in a bread recipe, as it affects texture and crumb the most. Hard US wheat flours absorb about 62% water, while softer wheat flours absorb about 56%. Common table breads made from these doughs result in a finely textured, light bread. Most artisan bread formulas contain anywhere from 60 to 75% water. In yeast breads, the higher water percentages result in more CO2 bubbles and a coarser bread crumb. One pound (450 g) of flour will yield a standard loaf of bread or two French loaves.
Calcium propionate is commonly added by commercial bakeries to retard the growth of molds.
Flour is a product made from grain that has been ground to a powdery consistency. Flour provides the primary structure to the final baked bread. While wheat flour is most commonly used for breads, flours made from rye, barley, maize, and other grains are also commonly available. Each of these grains provides the starch and protein needed to form bread.
The protein content of the flour is the best indicator of the quality of the bread dough and the finished bread. While bread can be made from all-purpose wheat flour, a specialty bread flour, containing more protein (12–14%), is recommended for high-quality bread. If one uses a flour with a lower protein content (9–11%) to produce bread, a shorter mixing time will be required to develop gluten strength properly. An extended mixing time leads to oxidization of the dough, which gives the finished product a whiter crumb, instead of the cream color preferred by most artisan bakers.
Wheat flour, in addition to its starch, contains three water-soluble protein groups (albumin, globulin, and proteoses) and two water-insoluble protein groups (glutenin and gliadin). When flour is mixed with water, the water-soluble proteins dissolve, leaving the glutenin and gliadin to form the structure of the resulting bread. When relatively dry dough is worked by kneading, or wet dough is allowed to rise for a long time (see no-knead bread), the glutenin forms strands of long, thin, chainlike molecules, while the shorter gliadin forms bridges between the strands of glutenin. The resulting networks of strands produced by these two proteins are known as gluten. Gluten development improves if the dough is allowed to autolyse.
Water, or some other liquid, is used to form the flour into a paste or dough. The weight of liquid required varies between recipes, but a ratio of 3 parts liquid to 5 parts flour is common for yeast breads. Recipes that use steam as the primary leavening method may have a liquid content in excess of 1 part liquid to 1 part flour. Instead of water, other types of liquids, such as dairy products, fruit juices, or beer, may be used; they contribute additional sweeteners, fats, or leavening components, as well as water.
Leavening is the process of adding gas to a dough before or during baking to produce a lighter, more easily chewed bread. Most bread consumed in the West is leavened. Unleavened breads have symbolic importance in Judaism and Christianity. Jews consume unleavened bread called matzo during Passover. Roman Catholic and some Protestant Christians consume unleavened bread during the Christian liturgy when they celebrate the Eucharist, a rite derived from the narrative of the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with his disciples, perhaps during a Passover Seder. In contrast, Orthodox Christians always use leavened bread during their liturgy.
A simple technique for leavening bread is the use of gas-producing chemicals. There are two common methods. The first is to use baking powder or a self-rising flour that includes baking powder. The second is to include an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk and add baking soda; the reaction of the acid with the soda produces gas.
Chemically leavened breads are called quick breads and soda breads. This method is commonly used to make muffins, pancakes, American-style biscuits, and quick breads such as banana bread.
Many breads are leavened by yeast. The yeast most commonly used for leavening bread is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same species used for brewing alcoholic beverages. This yeast ferments some of the carbohydrates in the flour, including any sugar, producing carbon dioxide. Most bakers in the U.S. leaven their dough with commercially produced baker's yeast. Baker's yeast has the advantage of producing uniform, quick, and reliable results, because it is obtained from a pure culture. Many artisan bakers produce their own yeast by preparing a growth culture that they then use in the making of bread. When this culture is kept in the right conditions, it will continue to grow and provide leavening for many years.
Both the baker's yeast and the sourdough methods of baking bread follow the same pattern. Water is mixed with flour, salt and the leavening agent (baker's yeast or sourdough starter). Other additions (spices, herbs, fats, seeds, fruit, etc.) are not needed to bake bread, but are often used. The mixed dough is then allowed to rise one or more times (a longer rising time results in more flavor, so bakers often "punch down" the dough and let it rise again), then loaves are formed, and (after an optional final rising time) the bread is baked in an oven.
Many breads are made from a "straight dough", which means that all of the ingredients are combined in one step, and the dough is baked after the rising time; others are made from a "pre-ferment" in which the leavening agent is combined with some of the flour and water a day or so ahead of baking and allowed to ferment overnight. On the day of the baking, the rest of the ingredients are added, and process continues as with straight dough. This produces a more flavorful bread with better texture.
Many bakers see the starter method as a compromise between the highly reliable results of baker's yeast and the flavor and complexity of a longer fermentation. It also allows the baker to use only a minimal amount of baker's yeast, which was scarce and expensive when it first became available. Most yeasted pre-ferments fall into one of three categories: "poolish" or "pouliche", a loose-textured mixture composed of roughly equal amounts of flour and water (by weight); "biga", a stiff mixture with a higher proportion of flour; and "pâte fermentée", which is simply a portion of dough reserved from a previous batch. Sourdough (also known as "levain" or "natural leaven") takes the pre-ferment method a step further, mixing flour and water to allow naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to propagate (usually Saccharomyces exiguus, which is more acid-tolerant than S. cerevisiae and various species of Lactobacillus).
Sourdough is a type of bread produced by a long fermentation of dough using naturally occurring yeasts and lactobacilli. In comparison with breads made with cultivated yeast, it usually has a mildly sour taste because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Sourdough breads are made with a sourdough starter (which differs from starters made with baker's yeast). The starter cultivates yeast and lactobacilli in a mixture of flour and water, making use of the microorganisms already present on flour; it does not need any added yeast. A starter may be maintained indefinitely by regular additions of flour and water. Some bakers have starters several generations old, which are said to have a special taste or texture. It is possible to obtain existing starter cultures to begin a new one.
At one time, all yeast-leavened breads were sourdoughs. The leavening process was not understood until the 19th century, when yeast was first identified. Since then, strains of Saccaromyces cerevisiae have been bred for their reliability and speed of leavening and sold as "baker's yeast". Baker's yeast was adopted for the simpicity and flexibility it introduced to bread making, obviating the lengthy cultivation of a sourdough starter. While sourdough breads survived in some parts of Europe, throughout most of the U.S., they were replaced by baker's yeast. Recently there has been a revival of sourdough bread in artisan bakeries.
There are other ways of sourdough baking and culture maintenance. A more traditional one is the process that was followed by peasant families throughout Europe in past centuries. The family (usually the woman was in charge of breadmaking) would bake on a fixed schedule, perhaps once a week. The starter was saved from the previous week's dough. The starter was mixed with the new ingredients, the dough was left to rise, and then a piece of it was saved (to be the starter for next week's bread). The rest was formed into loaves that were marked with the family sign (this is where today's decorative slashing of bread loaves originates from) and taken to the communal oven to bake. These communal ovens with time evolved into the modern bakery.
The rapid expansion of steam produced during baking leavens the bread, which is as simple as it is unpredictable. The best known steam-leavened bread is the popover. Steam-leavening is unpredictable since the steam is not produced until the bread is baked.
Steam leavening happens regardless of the rising agents (baking soda, yeast, baking powder, sour dough, beaten egg whites, etc.).
This is the main factor in the rise of bread once it has been put in the oven. 2CO generation, on its own, is too small to account for the rise. Heat kills bacteria or yeast at an early stage, so the CO2 generation is stopped.
Salt rising bread employs a form of bacterial leavening that does not require yeast. Although the leavening action is not always consistent, and requires close attention to the incubating conditions, this bread is making a comeback due to its unique cheese-like flavor and fine texture.
Aerated bread is leavened by carbon dioxide being forced into dough under pressure. From the mid 19th to 20th centuries bread made this way was somewhat popular in the United Kingdom, made by the Aerated Bread Company and sold in its high-street tearooms. The company was founded in 1862, and ceased independent operations in 1955. While it had some devoted adherents, it never eclipsed the use of baker's yeast worldwide.
The Pressure-Vacuum mixer was later developed by the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association at Chorleywood. With the application of both pressure and vacuum at different points in the mixing process, this mixer not only manipulates the gas bubble size, it may also manipulate the composition of gases in the dough via the gas applied to the headspace.
Fats, such as butter, vegetable oils, lard, or that contained in eggs, affect the development of gluten in breads by coating and lubricating the individual strands of protein. They also help to hold the structure together. If too much fat is included in a bread dough, the lubrication effect will cause the protein structures to divide. A fat content of approximately 3% by weight is the concentration that will produce the greatest leavening action. In addition to their effects on leavening, fats also serve to tenderize breads and preserve freshness.
Bread improvers and dough conditioners are often used in producing commercial breads to reduce the time needed for rising and to improve texture and volume. Chemical substances commonly used as bread improvers include ascorbic acid, hydrochloride, sodium metabisulfate, ammonium chloride, various phosphates, amylase, and protease.
Salt is one of the most common additives used in production. In addition to enhancing flavor and restricting yeast activity, salt affects the crumb and the overall texture by stabilizing and strengthening the gluten. Some artisan bakers are foregoing early addition of salt to the dough, and are waiting until after a 20-minute "rest". This is known as an autolyse and is done with both refined and whole-grain flours.
In wheat, phenolic compounds are mainly found in hulls in the form of insoluble bound ferulic acid where it is relevant to wheat resistance to fungal diseases.
Rye bread contains phenolic acids and ferulic acid dehydrodimers.
Three natural phenolic glucosides, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, p-coumaric acid glucoside and ferulic acid glucoside, can be found in commercial breads containing flaxseed.
Bread can be served at many temperatures; once baked, it can subsequently be toasted. It is most commonly eaten with the hands, either by itself or as a carrier for other foods. Bread can be dipped into liquids such as gravy, olive oil, or soup; it can be topped with various sweet and savory spreads, or used to make sandwiches containing myriad varieties of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments.
Bread may also be used as an ingredient in other culinary preparations, such as the use of breadcrumbs to provide crunchy crusts or thicken sauces, sweet or savoury bread puddings, or as a binding agent in sausages and other ground meat products.
In 2009, a natural preservative for extending the shelf life of bread for up to two weeks (as opposed to a few days) had been patented and licensed to Puratos, a Belgium-based baking ingredients company that supplies to more than 100 countries. The breakthrough was pioneered by Prof Elke Arendt at the University College Cork (UCC) by incorporating into the bread a lactic acid bacteria strain which also "produces a fine crumb texture" and "improves the flavour, volume and nutritional value of the food as well." Prior to this, "About 20% of all bread is thrown out due to shelf-life issues."
The bread crust is formed from surface dough during the cooking process. It is hardened and browned through the Maillard reaction using the sugars and amino acids and the intense heat at the bread surface. The nature of a bread's crust differs depending on the type of bread and the way it is baked. Commercial bread is baked using jets that direct steam toward the bread to help produce a desirable crust.
The crust of most breads is less soft, and more complexly and intensely flavored, than the rest, and judgments vary among individuals and cultures as to whether it is therefore the less palatable or the more flavorful part of a particular style of bread. Some manufacturers, including as of September 2009[update] Sara Lee, market traditional and crustless breads.
The first and last slices of a loaf (or a slice with a high ratio of crust-area to volume compared to others of the same loaf) are sometimes referred to as the heel or the crust of the loaf.
Old wives tales suggest that eating the bread crust makes a person's hair curlier. Additionally, the crust is rumored to be healthier than the rest. Some studies have shown that this is true as the crust has more dietary fiber and antioxidants, notably pronyl-lysine. The pronyl-lysine found in bread crust is being researched for its potential colorectal cancer inhibitory properties.
Bread has a significance beyond mere nutrition in many cultures in the West and Near and Middle East because of its history and contemporary importance. Bread is also significant in Christianity as one of the elements (alongside wine) of the Eucharist; see sacramental bread. The word companion comes from Latin com- "with" + panis "bread".
The political significance of bread is considerable. In 19th century Britain, the inflated price of bread due to the Corn Laws caused major political and social divisions, and was central to debates over free trade versus protectionism.][ The Assize of Bread and Ale in the 13th century demonstrated the importance of bread in medieval times by setting heavy punishments for short-changing bakers, and bread appeared in the Magna Carta a half-century earlier.
Like other foods, choosing the "right" kind of bread is used as a type of social signalling, to let others know, for example, that the person buying expensive bread is financially secure, or the person buying whatever type of bread that the current fashions deem most healthful is a health-conscious consumer.
... bread has become an article of food of the first necessity; and properly so, for it constitutes of itself a complete life-sustainer, the gluten, starch, and sugar, which it contains, represents azotised and hydro-carbonated nutrients, and combining the sustaining powers of the animal and vegetable kingdoms in one product. Mrs Beeton (1861)
As a simple, cheap, and adaptable type of food, bread is often used as a synecdoche for food in general in some languages and dialects, such as Greek and Punjabi. There are many variations on the basic recipe of bread worldwide, including pizza, chapatis, tortillas, bocadillo, baguettes, brioche, pitas, lavash, biscuits, pretzels, naan, bagels, puris, and many others. There are different types of traditional "cheese breads" in many countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Italy, and Russia.
In the Christian ritual of the Eucharist, bread symbolically represents the body of Christ, and is eaten as a sacrament. Specific aspects of the ritual itself, including the composition of the bread, vary from denomination to denomination.
During the Jewish festival of Passover, only unleavened bread is eaten, in commemoration of the flight from slavery in Egypt. The Israelites did not have enough time to allow their bread to rise, and so ate only unleavened bread (matzoh).
Some traditions of Wicca and Neo-Paganism consume bread as part of their religious rituals, attaching varied symbolism to the act.
An enormous variety of bread is available across Europe. Germany lays claim to over 1300 basic varieties of breads, rolls, and pastries, as well as having the largest consumption of bread per capita worldwide, followed by Chile.
There is a wide variety of traditional breads in Great Britain, often baked in a rectangular tin. Round loaves are also produced, such as the North East England speciality called a stottie cake. A cottage loaf is made of two balls of dough, one on top of the other, to form a figure-of-eight shape. A cob is a small round loaf. There are many variations on bread rolls, such as baps, barms, breadcakes and so on. The Chorleywood process for mass-producing bread was developed in England in the 1960s before spreading worldwide. Mass-produced sliced white bread brands such as Wonderloaf and Mother's Pride have been criticised on grounds of poor nutritional value and taste of the loaves produced.
In Spain, bread is called pan. The traditional Spanish pan is a long loaf of bread, similar to the French baguette but wider. One can buy it freshly made every morning in the traditional bakeries, where there is a large assortment of bread. A smaller version is known as bocadillo, an iconic piece of the Hispanic cuisine. In Spain, especially in the Mediterranean area, there have been guilds of bakers for over 750 years. The bakers guild in Barcelona was founded in 1200 AD. There is a region called Tierra del Pan ("Land of the Bread"), located in the province of Zamora, where economy was in the past joined to this activity.
In Mexico, bread is called pan. Although corn tortillas are the staple bread in most of Mexico, bread rolls in many varieties are an important daily food for city dwellers. Popular breads in Mexico include the bolillo roll and pan dulce. There are many varieties, about 1,000.][ Pan dulce, which is Spanish for "sweet bread", is eaten in the evenings with hot drinks like traditional hot chocolate.
In Peru, pan has many variations due to the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. People usually eat pan de piso and pan serrano. There are also some kinds of bread made of potatoes; these are currently popular in the Andes. Bizcochos are sweet bread usually eaten with some butter and hot chocolate. A dough made with cooked pumpkin or squash, often shaped and fried into doughnuts and served with a sweet fruity dipping sauce, is a traditional favorite. Bread is an ingredient of sopas de ajo, gazpacho, and salmorejo.
In Morocco and western North Africa a round bread that is roughly four inches (10 cm) tall is used to accompany most of the watery cuisine.][ Also consumed is a thick and chewy fried bread that is smothered in oil beforehand. The rghifa bread is a staple in the food of Morocco and consists of several layers of lightly cooked bread.
In Ethiopia in east North Africa, a bread called injera is made from a grain called teff. This is a wide, flat, circular bread that is also used as a utensil to pick up food. Teff has no gluten.
The traditional bread in China is mantou. It is made by steaming or deep-frying dough made from wheat flour. In Northern China and northern central China, mantou is often eaten as an alternative staple to rice. Steamed mantou is similar to Western white bread, but since it is not baked it does not have a brown outer crust. Mantou that have a filling such as meat or vegetables (cha siu bao, for example) are called baozi. The kompyang of Fuzhou is an example of a Chinese bread baked in a clay oven.
In South Asia (including India, Pakistan, and the Middle East), roti or chapati, types of unleavened flatbreads usually made from whole-wheat flour and baked on a hot iron griddle called a tava, form the mainstay of the people's diet. Rotis and naans are usually served with curry throughout the region. A variant called makki di roti uses maize flour rather than white flour. Another variant is puri, a thin flat bread that is fried rather than baked and puffs up while cooked. Paratha is another variation on roti. Naan (leavened wholewheat bread) is baked in a tandoor or clay oven and is rarely prepared at home. White and brown breads are also very common, but not as common as roti.
In the Philippines, pandesal (or pan de sal, meaning bread of salt or salt bread) is a rounded bread usually eaten by Filipinos during breakfast. The Philippines also produces a cheap generic white bread called Pinoy Tasty.
Traditional breads in the United States include cornbreads and various quick breads, such as biscuits. Cornbread is made from cornmeal and can differ significantly in taste and texture from region to region. In general, the South prefers white cornmeal with little to no wheat flour or sweeteners added. It is traditionally baked in a cast-iron skillet and ideally has a crunchy outside and moist inside. The North usually prefers yellow cornmeal with sometimes as much as half wheat flour in its composition, as well as sugar, honey, or maple syrup. This results in a bread that is softer and sweeter than its southern counterpart. Homemade wheat breads are made in a rectangular tin similar to those in the United Kingdom.
Rolls, made from wheat flour and yeast, are another popular and traditional bread, eaten with the dinner meal. Sourdough biscuits are traditional "cowboy food" in the West. The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its crusty sourdough. Spoon bread, also called batter bread or egg bread, is made of cornmeal with or without added rice and hominy, and is mixed with milk, eggs, shortening and leavening to such a consistency that it must be served from the baking dish with a spoon. This is popular chiefly in the South.
Up until the 20th century (and even later in certain regions), any flour other than cornmeal was considered a luxury; this would explain the greater variety in cornbread types compared to that of wheat breads. In terms of commercial manufacture, the most popular bread has been a soft-textured type with a thin crust that is usually made with milk and is slightly sweet; this is the type that is generally sold ready-sliced in packages. It is usually eaten with the crust, but some eaters or preparers may remove the crust due to a personal preference or style of serving, as with finger sandwiches served with afternoon tea. Some of the softest bread, including Wonder Bread, is referred to as "balloon bread".
Though white "sandwich bread" is the most popular, Americans are trending toward more artisanal breads. Different regions of the country feature certain ethnic bread varieties including the French baguette, the Ashkenazi Jewish bagel, scali (an Italian-style bread made in New England), Native American frybread (a product of hardship, developed during the Indian resettlements of the 19th century), and Jewish rye, a bread commonly associated with delicatessen cuisine.
Although eaten by nearly all people, some critics have rejected bread entirely or rejected types of bread that they consider inferior. The criticisms depended on the time and place: whole grain bread has been criticized as being unrefined, and white bread as being unhealthfully processed; homemade bread was deemed unsanitary, and factory-made bread was deemed adulterated, and so forth. Amylophobia, literally "fear of starch", was one such movement in the US during the 1920s and 1930s.
Sourdough is a bread product made by a long fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeasts. In comparison with breads made quickly with cultivated yeast, it usually has a mildly sour taste because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture in symbiotic combination with yeasts. It is one of the principal means of biological leavening in bread baking, the others using cultivated forms of yeast (Saccharomyces). It is important in baking rye-based breads, where yeast does not produce comparable results. Compared to breads made with baker's yeast it produces a mildly sour taste because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
The preparation of sourdough begins with a pre-ferment, (the "starter" or "levain", also known as the "chief", "chef" or "head"), made of flour and water. The purpose of the starter is to produce a vigorous leaven and to develop the flavour of the bread. In practice there are several kinds. The ratio of water to flour in the starter (the "hydration") varies and a starter may be a fluid batter or a stiff dough.
When wheat flour comes into contact with water, naturally occurring amylase enzymes break down the starch into maltose; the enzyme maltase converts the maltose sugar into glucose, which yeast can metabolize. Flour naturally contains a variety of yeasts and bacterial spores. With sufficient time, temperature, and refreshments with new or fresh dough, the mixture develops a balanced, symbiotic or stable culture. This culture will cause a dough to rise if the gluten has been developed sufficiently. The bacteria ferment sugars that the yeast cannot metabolise and their by-products are metabolised by yeast, which produces carbon dioxide gas, which leavens the dough. Obtaining a satisfactory rise from sourdough takes longer than in a dough leavened with packaged yeast because the yeast in a sourdough is less vigorous. In the presence of lactic acid bacteria, however, some sourdough yeasts have been observed to produce twice the gas of baker's or packaged yeast. The acidic conditions in sourdough, along with the bacteria also producing enzymes that break down proteins, result in weaker gluten and may produce a denser finished product.
As it ferments, sometimes for several days, the volume of the starter is increased by periodic additions of flour and water, called "refreshments". As long as this starter culture is fed flour and water regularly it will remain active.
The ratio of fermented dough to fresh dough is critical in the development and maintenance of a starter. This ratio is called "inoculation" or the "refreshment ratio". Higher refreshment ratios are associated with greater microbial stability in the sourdough. In San Francisco sourdough, the ratio is 40% of the total weight, which is roughly equivalent to 67% of the new-dough's weight. A high refreshment ratio keeps acidity of the refreshed dough relatively low. Acidity levels of below pH 4.0 inhibit lactobacilli and favour acid-tolerant yeasts.
A starter prepared from scratch with a salted wheat-rye dough takes about 54 hours at to stabilise at a pH between 4.4 and 4.6.
A drier and cooler starter has less bacterial activity and more yeast growth, which results in the bacterial production of more acetic acid relative to lactic acid. Conversely, a wetter and warmer starter has more bacterial activity and less yeast growth, with more lactic acid relative to acetic acid. The yeasts produce mainly CO2 and ethanol. A dry, cool starter produces a sourer loaf than a wet, warm one. Firm starters (such as the Flemish Desem starter, which may be buried in a large container of flour to prevent drying out) tend to be more resource-intensive than wet ones.
A stable culture in which L. sanfranciscensis is the dominant bacterium requires a temperature between 25–30 °C (77–86 °F) and refreshments every 24 hours for about two weeks. Refreshment intervals of longer than three days acidify the dough and may change the microbial ecosystem.
The intervals between refreshments of the starter may be reduced in order to increase the rate of gas (CO2) production, a process described as "acceleration". In this process, the ratio of yeasts to lactobacilli may be altered. Generally, if once-daily refreshment-intervals have not been reduced to several hours, the percentage amount of starter in the final dough should be reduced to obtain a satisfactory rise during proof.
Faster starter processes, requiring fewer refreshments, have been devised, sometimes using commercial sourdough starters as inoculants. These starters generally fall into two types. One is made from traditionally maintained and stable starter doughs, often dried, in which the ratios of micro-organisms are uncertain. Another is made from micro-organisms carefully isolated from Petri dishes, grown into large, homogeneous populations in fermentors, and processed into combined baker's products with numerically defined ratios and known quantities of microorganisms well suited to particular bread styles.
Bakers have devised several ways of encouraging a stable culture of micro-organisms in the starter. Unbleached, unbromated flour contains more micro-organisms than more processed flours. Bran-containing (wholemeal) flour provides the greatest variety of organisms and additional minerals, though some cultures use an initial mixture of white flour and rye or whole wheat flour or "seed" the culture using unwashed organic grapes (for the wild yeasts on their skins). Grapes and grape must are also sources of lactic acid bacteria, as are many other edible plants. Basil leaves are soaked in room-temperature water for an hour to seed traditional Greek sourdough. Using water from boiled potatoes is said to increase the activity of the bacteria by providing additional starch. Some bakers recommend unchlorinated water for feeding cultures. Adding a small quantity of diastatic malt provides maltase and simple sugars to support the yeasts initially.
Bakers often make loaves with fermented dough from a previous batch (which they call "mother dough", "chef" or "seed sour") rather than making a new starter every time they bake. The original starter culture may be many years old. Because of their pH level and the presence of antibacterial agents, such cultures are stable and able to prevent colonization by unwanted yeasts and bacteria. For this reason, sourdough products keep fresh for a long time and are good at resisting spoilage and mold.
The flavour of sourdough bread varies from place to place according to the method used, the hydration of the starter and the final dough, the refreshment ratio, the length of the fermentation periods, ambient temperature, humidity and elevation, all of which contribute to the microbiology of the sourdough.
Finally, the starter is mixed with flour and water to make a dough of the desired consistency. The starter's flour weight is usually 13 to 25% of the total flour weight, though formulas may vary. The dough is shaped into loaves, left to rise and baked.
Because the rise time of most sourdough starters is longer than that of breads made with baker's yeasts, sourdough starters are generally unsuitable for use in a bread machine.
A sourdough is a stable symbiotic culture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast in a mixture of flour and water. Typically, the LAB metabolises sugars that the yeast cannot metabolise and the yeast metabolises the products of the LAB fermentation. Broadly speaking, the yeast produces the gas that leavens the dough and the LAB produces lactic acid, which contributes flavor.
The yeasts Candida milleri or Saccharomyces exiguus usually populate sourdough cultures symbiotically with Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. The perfect yeast S. exiguus is related to the imperfect yeasts C. milleri and C. holmii; while Torulopsis holmii, Torula holmii, and S. rosei are synonyms used more frequently prior to 1978. C. milleri and C. holmii are physiologically similar, but DNA testing established them as distinct. Other yeasts reported found include C. humilis, C. krusei, Pichia anomaola, C. peliculosa, P. membranifaciens, and C. valida.
L. sanfranciscensis prefers to consume maltose, while C. milleri is maltase negative.
There have been changes in the taxonomy of yeasts in recent decades. Lactobacillus species' phylogenetic groupings have also been undergoing reclassification, first being studied in 1991 by Collins, et al. In 1995, Hammes and Vogel phylogenetically grouped L. sanfranciscensis to L. casei-Pediococcus. In 2003, Hammes and Hertel grouped it to L. buchneri. In 2007, Dellaglio and Felis grouped it to L. fructivorans.
LAB are anaerobic, which means they can multiply in the absence of oxygen. Hammes and Vogel in 1995 distinguished three metabolic groups of LAB:
Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis was named for its discovery in San Francisco sourdough starters, although it is not endemic to San Francisco. In general, San Francisco sourdough is the same as a Type I sourdough. Type I sourdoughs have a pH range of 3.8 to 4.5 and are fermented in a temperature range of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F); Saccharomyces exiguus leavens the dough, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis and L. pontis highlight a lactic-acid bacterial flora that includes L. fermentum, L. fructivorans, L. brevis, and L. paralimentarius. In Type II sourdoughs Saccharomyces cerevisiae is added to leaven the dough, L. pontis and L. panis highlight the flora. These sourdoughs have a pH less than 3.5 and are fermented within a temperature range of 30 to 50 °C (86 to 122 °F) for several days without feedings, which reduces the flora's activity. This process was adopted by some in industry, in part, due to simplification of the multiple-step build typical of Type I traditional sourdoughs.
Dutch wheat sourdough investigations found that, even though S. cerevisiae exerted infection pressure on sourdough's microbial ecosystem, it had died off after two refreshment cycles. Continuously maintained, stable sourdough cannot be unintentionally contaminated by S. cerevisiae. 4% salt inhibits L. sanfranciscensis, while C. milleri can withstand 8%.
A Belgian study of wheat and spelt doughs refreshed once every 24 hours and fermented at in a laboratory environment provides insight into the three-phase evolution of first-generation-to-stable sourdough ecosystems. In the first two days of refreshment, atypical genera Enterococcus and Lactococcus bacteria highlighted the doughs. During days 2-5, sourdough-specific bacteria belonging to the genera Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Weissella outcompete earlier strains. Yeasts grew more slowly and reached population peaks near days 4-5. By days 5-7, "well-adapted" Lactobacillus strains such as L. fermentum and L. plantarum had emerged. At their peaks, yeast populations were in the range of about 1-10% of the lactobacilli populations or 1:10-1:100. One characteristic of a stable dough is that the heterofermentative have outcompeted homofermentative lactobacilli.
In order to produce acetic acid, L. sanfrancisensis needs maltose and fructose. Wheat dough contains abundant starch and some polyfructosanes, which enzymes degrade to "maltose, fructose and little glucose." The terms "fructosan, glucofructan, sucrosyl fructan, polyfructan, and polyfructosan" are all used to describe a class of compounds that are "structurally and metabolically" related to sucrose, where "carbon is stored as sucrose and polymers of fructose (fructans)." Yeasts have the ability to free fructose from glucofructans which compose about 1-2% of the dough. Glucofructans are long strings of fructose molecules attached to a single glucose molecule. Sucrose can be considered the shortest glucofructan, with only a single fructose molecule attached. When L. sanfrancisensis reduces all available fructose, it stops producing acetic acid and begins producing ethanol. If the fermenting dough gets too warm, the yeasts slow down, producing less fructose. Fructose depletion is more of a concern in doughs with lower enzymatic activities.
Sourdough likely originated in Ancient Egyptian times around 1500 BC and was likely the first form of leavening available to bakers. Sourdough remained the usual form of leavening down into the European Middle Ages until being replaced by barm from the beer brewing process, and then later purpose-cultured yeast.
Bread made from 100 percent rye flour, which is very popular in the northern half of Europe, is usually leavened with sourdough. Baker's yeast is not useful as a leavening agent for rye bread, as rye does not contain enough gluten. The structure of rye bread is based primarily on the starch in the flour, as well as other carbohydrates known as pentosans; however, rye amylase is active at substantially higher temperatures than wheat amylase, causing the structure of the bread to disintegrate as the starches are broken down during cooking. The lowered pH of a sourdough starter, therefore, inactivates the amylases when heat cannot, allowing the carbohydrates in the bread to gel and set properly. In the southern part of Europe, where baguette and even panettone were originally made with wheat flour and rye flour, sourdough has become less common in recent times; it has been replaced by the faster-growing baker's yeast, sometimes supplemented with longer fermentation rests to allow for some bacterial activity to build flavor.
Sourdough was the main bread made in Northern California during the California Gold Rush, and it remains a part of the culture of San Francisco today. The bread became so common that "sourdough" became a general nickname for the gold prospectors. The nickname remains in "Sourdough Sam", the mascot of the San Francisco 49ers. A "sourdough" is also a nickname used in the North (Yukon/Alaska) for someone having spent an entire winter north of the Arctic Circle and refers to their tradition of protecting their Sourdough during the coldest months by keeping it close to their body.
The sourdough tradition was carried into Alaska and the western Canadian territories during the Klondike Gold Rush. Conventional leavenings such as yeast and baking soda were much less reliable in the conditions faced by the prospectors. Experienced miners and other settlers frequently carried a pouch of starter either around their neck or on a belt; these were fiercely guarded to keep from freezing. However, freezing does not kill a sourdough starter; excessive heat does. Old hands came to be called "sourdoughs", a term that is still applied to any Alaskan old-timer.
In English-speaking countries, where wheat-based breads predominate, sourdough is no longer the standard method for bread leavening. It was gradually replaced, first by the use of barm from beer making, then, after the confirmation of germ theory by Louis Pasteur, by cultured yeasts. Although sourdough bread was superseded in commercial bakeries in the 20th century, it has undergone a revival among artisan bakers.
San Francisco sourdough is the most famous sourdough bread made in the U.S. today. In contrast to sourdough production in other areas of the country, the San Francisco variety has remained in continuous production since 1849, with some bakeries, e.g., Boudin Bakery among others, able to trace their starters back to California's Gold Rush period. It is a white bread characterized by a pronounced sourness (not all varieties are as sour as San Francisco sourdough), so much so that the dominant strain of lactobacillus in sourdough starters was named Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. Sourdough also became popular because of its ability to combine well with seafoods and soups, such as cioppino, clam chowder, and chili.
Sourdough has not enjoyed the popularity it once had since bread became mass-produced. However, many restaurant chains, such as Cracker Barrel, keep it as a menu staple. Manufacturers make up for the lack of yeast and bacterial culture by introducing into their dough an artificially-made mix known as bread improver.
There are many breads that use techniques similar to that used in the making of sourdough bread.
Baking soda (and sometimes baking powder) may be added to a sourdough-type starter. This neutralizes the acid in the starter and generates carbon dioxide in the process, providing a lift to the dough or batter in a manner similar to Irish soda bread. This method is used in kitchens where the starter is kept off-balance with a high acid level. It is common in Alaska.
The 49er flapjack is a sourdough crepe which is popular in the United States, getting its name from the popularity of this style of pancake during the gold rush. During the Klondike gold rush of 1898, it was said that a real "Alaskan Sourdough" would just as soon spend a year in the hills without his rifle, as to tough it through without his bubbling sourdough pot. Since food was scarce, food provisions were more valuable than gold. In extreme cold, miners would put the dough ball under their clothes, next to their skin, or tuck it into their bedroll with them at night, anything to keep the yeast in it alive. The 49er is a signature menu item at The Original Pancake House, Walker Bros., and Good Day Cafe among other establishments. OHP advertises the crepe as "ooey, gooey, and chewy." Because it is similar to a Swedish pancake the 49er is sometimes served with lingonberry sauce, although most often it is rolled up with butter and powdered sugar, or served open faced and topped with maple syrup.
Amish Friendship Bread uses a sourdough starter that includes sugar and milk. It is also leavened with baking powder and baking soda, making like a quick bread. An Amish sourdough is fed with sugar and potato flakes every 3–5 days.
German Pumpernickel is traditionally made from a sourdough starter, although modern pumpernickel loaves often use commercial yeasts, sometimes spiked with citric acid or lactic acid to inactivate the amylases in the rye flour.
The Flemish Desem bread is a popular form of whole-wheat sourdough, cultured in a dryish medium.
Other recipes use starters that are not natural leavens. The Italian Biga and French Poolish add sourdough-like flavors to breads by allowing the yeast to ferment for at least half a day. Unlike a true sourdough, these recipes usually start with commercial yeast, and the production of lactobacillus is incidental.
In Azerbaijan, whole-wheat sourdough flatbreads are traditionally eaten.
In Ethiopia, teff flour is used to make Injera. A similar variant is eaten in Somalia (where it is called canjeelo or lahooh) and Yemen (where it is known as lahoh).
Spelt, also known as dinkel wheat, or hulled wheat, is an ancient species of wheat from the fifth millennium BCE. Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the closely related species common wheat (T. aestivum), in which case its botanical name is considered to be Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta. It is a hexaploid wheat, which means it has six sets of chromosomes.
Spelt has a complex history. It is a wheat species known from genetic evidence to have originated as a hybrid of a domesticated tetraploid wheat such as emmer wheat and the wild goat-grass Aegilops tauschii. This hybridisation must have taken place in the Near East because this is where Ae. tauschii grows, and it must have taken place before the appearance of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum, a hexaploid free-threshing derivative of spelt) in the archaeological record c. 8,000 years ago.
Genetic evidence shows that spelt wheat can also arise as the result of hybridisation of bread wheat and emmer wheat, although only at some date following the initial Aegilops-tetraploid wheat hybridisation. The much later appearance of spelt in Europe might thus be the result of a later, second, hybridisation between emmer and bread wheat. Recent DNA evidence supports an independent origin for European spelt through this hybridisation. Whether spelt has two separate origins in Asia and Europe, or single origin in the Near East, is currently unresolved.
The earliest archaeological evidence of spelt is from the fifth millennium BC in Transcaucasia, north-east of the Black Sea, though the most abundant and best-documented archaeological evidence of spelt is in Europe. Remains of spelt have been found in some later Neolithic sites (2500–1700 BC) in Central Europe. During the Bronze Age, spelt spread widely in central Europe. In the Iron Age (750-15 BC), spelt became a principal wheat species in southern Germany and Switzerland; by 500 BC, it was in common use in southern Britain.
References to the cultivation of spelt wheat in Biblical times (see matzo), in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and in ancient Greece are incorrect and result from confusion with emmer wheat.
In the Middle Ages, spelt was cultivated in parts of Switzerland, Tyrol and Germany. Spelt was introduced to the United States in the 1890s. In the 20th century, spelt was replaced by bread wheat in almost all areas where it was still grown. The organic farming movement revived its popularity somewhat toward the end of the century, as spelt requires fewer fertilizers.
Spelt contains about 57.9 percent carbohydrates (excluding 9.2 percent fibre), 17.0 percent protein and 3.0 percent fat, as well as dietary minerals and vitamins. As it contains a moderate amount of gluten, it is suitable for some baking. Because spelt contains gluten, it is not suitable for people with coeliac disease.
Spelt flour is becoming more easily available, being sold in British supermarkets since 2007. Spelt is also sold in the form of a coarse pale bread, similar in colour and in texture to light rye breads but with a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. Biscuits, crackers, and pretzels are also produced, but are more likely to be found in a speciality bakery or health food store than in a regular grocer's shop.
Spelt pasta is also available in health food stores and speciality shops.
Dutch Jenever makers distil with spelt. Beer brewed from spelt is sometimes seen in Bavaria and spelt is distilled to make vodka in Poland and elsewhere.
Flour from sprouted spelt grains is increasingly available throughout North America in grocery and health food stores.
In Germany, the unripe spelt grains are dried and eaten as Grünkern ('green grain').
While today spelt is a speciality crop, its popularity as a peasants' staple food of the past has been attested in literature. Although today's Russian-speaking children perhaps don't know exactly what polba (spelt) looks or tastes like,][ they may recognize the word as something-or-other that can be made into porridge—having heard Pushkin's well-rhymed story in which the poor workman Balda asks his employer the priest "to feed me boiled spelt" ("есть же мне давай варёную полбу").][ In Horace's Satire 2.6 (late 31 - 30 B.C.), which ends with the story of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse, the country mouse eats spelt at dinner while serving his city guest finer foods.
Spelt is also mentioned in the Bible. Ezekiel 4:9 says: "Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof ...", though as noted above this is presumably a mistranslation and should be "emmer". It is mentioned again in Isaiah 28:25: "...and put in the wheat in rows and the barley in the appointed place and the spelt in the border thereof?"
Rye bread is a type of bread made with various percentages of flour from rye grain. It can be light or dark in color, depending on the type of flour used and the addition of coloring agents, and is typically denser than bread made from wheat flour. It is higher in fiber than white bread and is often darker in color and stronger in flavor. Rye bread has notable health benefits when compared to white bread.
Dark rye bread became a staple which lasted to the Middle Ages. Many different types of rye grain have come from places all over Europe such as Finland, Denmark, Baltic countries and Germany. In Austria, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, and Russia, rye is the most popular type of bread][. In 500 AD, the Saxons and Danes settled in Britain and introduced rye, which was well suited to cold northern climates.
While rye and wheat are genetically similar enough to interbreed (resulting in hybrids known as triticale), their biochemistries sufficiently differ to affect the breadmaking process. The key issue is differing amylases, the enzyme which breaks starch down into sugar. While wheat amylases are generally not heat-stable and thus do not affect stronger wheat gluten that gives wheat bread its structure, rye amylase remains active at substantially higher temperatures. Since rye gluten is not particularly strong, rye dough structure is based on complex polysaccharides, including rye starch and pentosans. As a result, amylases in rye flour can break down dough structure, inhibiting it from rising.
There are two common solutions: The traditional manner, developed where obtaining wheat was traditionally impractical because of marginal growing conditions or supply difficulties, uses dough acidification to impede the function of rye amylases. Lowering dough pH, however, compromises the use of relatively acid-intolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae-based "baker's yeast". Instead, addition of naturally acidic Lactobacillus "sourdough" cultures lowers bread pH, provides an acid-tolerant yeast strain, and helps gelatinize starches in the dough matrix. The byproduct of this approach is lighter breads.
In areas where high-gluten hard wheat is readily available the need for a complex polyculture of bacteria and yeast can often be reduced or removed by adding a large proportion of hard wheat flour to the rye flour. Its added gluten compensates for amylase activity on the starch in the dough, allowing the bread to retain its structure as it bakes. The "deli rye" tradition in the United States is based upon this mixing of grains. Use of high-gluten wheat flour also makes possible multigrain breads, such as the "rye and Indian" bread of the American colonies, which combined rye and wheat with cornmeal in one loaf.
Rye bread contains phenolic acids and ferulic acid dehydrodimers.
Pure rye bread contains only rye flour, without any wheat. German-style pumpernickel, a dark, dense, and close-textured loaf, is made from crushed or ground whole rye grains, usually without wheat flour, baked for long periods at low temperature in a covered tin. Rye and wheat flours are often used to produce a rye bread with a lighter texture, color and flavor than pumpernickel. 'Light' or 'dark' rye flour can be used to make rye bread; the flour is classified according to the amount of bran left in the flour after milling. Caramel or molasses for coloring and caraway seeds are often added to rye bread. In the United States, breads labeled as "rye" nearly always contain caraway unless explicitly labeled as "unseeded." In Canada (especially Montreal), breads labeled as "rye" often have no seeds, whereas breads labeled as "kimmel" are usually rye with caraway seeds. Some unique rye bread recipes include ground spices such as fennel, coriander, aniseed, cardamom, or citrus peel. In addition to caramel and molasses, ingredients such as coffee or cocoa (or even toasted bread crumbs) are sometimes used for both color and flavor in very dark breads like pumpernickels.
A simple, all-rye bread can be made using a sourdough starter and rye meal; it will not rise as high as a wheat bread, but will be more moist with a substantially longer keeping time. Such breads are often known as black breads, from their darker color than wheat breads (enhanced by long baking times, creating Maillard reactions in the crumb). The German Vollkornbrot (whole grain bread) is something of an archetypical example, containing both rye meal and cracked whole rye grains (which are generally soaked overnight before incorporating into the dough). It is used both as an appetizer substrate for such things as smoked fish and caviar and as a sandwich bread. A very similar, but darker, bread, German-style pumpernickel, has an even darker color derived from toasted leftover bread and other agents. Due to the density of the bread, the yeast in the starter is used at least as much for the fermentation character in the bread itself as it is for leavening. Danish rugbrød (rye bread), another archetypical example, is typically made with sour dough, with either straight rye flour, or mixed with whole and/or cracked rye kernels. Any breads containing wheat flour are not considered rugbrød, but white bread. A variety of seeds, such as pumpkin, poppy and caraway, may be added for taste. Rugbrød is a staple lunch food, typically eaten topped with cold or warm fish and meats, cheese or any other cold cut.
As stated above, all-rye breads may have very long keeping times, measured in months rather than days, and are popular as storage rations for long boat trips and outdoors expeditions. Such breads are usually sliced very thin because of their density, sometimes only a few millimeters thick, and are sometimes sold presliced in this manner.
It is fairly common to combine rye with other grains and seeds. In southern Germany and Switzerland, for example, it is not uncommon to find a variant of Vollkornbrot with sunflower seeds instead of the rye seeds, and some traditional recipes also substitute whole wheat grains for the rye grains. In the colonial era in North America, particularly in the United States, it became common to mix rye and cornmeal in what was known as "rye and Indian" or, if wheat flour was added, "thirded" bread; the resulting bread, though less dense than a whole-rye bread, was still heavier than the more expensive wheat-only breads that later became commonplace.
In England, a mixed rye/wheat bread known as maslin (or variants of the name) was the bread of the peasants for hundreds of years, in contrast to the manchet bread eaten by the rich.
Wheat-rye breads, particularly light rye (sissel) and American pumpernickel, but also a combination known as "marble rye", are very closely associated with Jewish-American cuisine, particularly the delicatessen. The bulk of the flour is white wheat flour (often a less-refined form known as "first clear"), with a substantial portion of rye mixed in for color and flavor. The dough is often, but not necessarily, leavened, in whole or in part, with sourdough, but sometimes uses a small addition of citric acid or vinegar to achieve the lowered pH needed to neutralize the rye amylases; so-called "Jewish rye" is further seasoned with whole caraway seeds and glazed with an egg wash, and is traditionally associated with salted meats such as corned beef, pastrami, and (outside kosher circles) ham. High-gluten wheat flour can be used with rye flour to make a dough suitable for bagels, as well. Jewish-style American rye bread is sometimes referred to as "corn bread" or "corn rye"; the term comes from the use of cornmeal as a coating and handling aid and does not necessarily imply the use of cornmeal within the dough itself as in rye and Indian.
The Jewish-American variety has Eastern European antecedents, including Russian-style brown bread and Riga-style rye bread. In Scandinavia, similar breads are made, some of which (in Swedish, called limpa) also include sweeteners and/or citrus peel, as well as spices such as anise, fennel or cardamom, sometimes reserved for festive occasions.
In Canada, Winnipeg-style rye bread does not actually contain much, if any, rye flour. Instead, this Jewish- and Slavic-influenced bread is made from cracked rye or coarse rye meal, added to wheat flour. Winnipeg-style rye bread from does not commonly contain caraway seeds.
There are three different types of rye crisp bread: yeast fermented, sourdough fermented and cold bread crisp bread. Most of the crisp bread produced in Scandinavia is baked following three to four hours of fermentation. Sourdough crisp breads are used in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and India. The third type of crisp bread is the so-called cold bread crisp bread, essentially a type of hardtack (known in Sweden particularly as knäckebröd and in Finland as näkkileipä), which is baked without the addition of any leavening. The dough gets the right texture from a foaming process, where air is incorporated into the cooled dough, which also leads to the sometimes almost white color of the finished bread, although not all types are light in color. Crisp bread owes its long shelf life to its very low water content (5–7%).
One of the largest producers of rye flatbreads, and one of the most prominent in overseas markets, is the Swedish-founded company Wasabröd.
Rye flour is sometimes used in chemically leavened quick bread recipes as well, either batter-type or dough-type (similar to Irish soda bread). In such cases, it can be used in similar applications as whole wheat flour, since an egg matrix often provides the bread structure rather than the grain's gluten.
Rye bread contains a large amount of fiber and a small amount of fat. Rye bread has a low Glycemic Index, which means it does not cause a spike in blood sugar as white bread and other breads do. In addition, whole-grain rye flour has more soluble fiber than whole-grain wheat flour making whole-grain rye more effective for controlling the cholestrol level in the blood.][
In many European countries, there are various traditions surrounding the use of bread during the Easter holiday. Traditionally the practice of eating Easter bread or sweetened "communion" bread traces its origin back to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian church. The recipe for sweetened or "honey-leavened" bread may date back as far as the Homeric Greek period based on anecdotal evidence from classical texts that mention this type of special food. It is also widely known that sweetened bread desserts similar to panettone, were a Roman favorite.
In Sardinia, Italy, bread is a part of a wide social context. It is the most important food in Sardinia, as well as all over Italy and the Mediterranean. "Bread is a nexus of economic, political, aesthetic, social, symbolic, and health concerns". Bread is symbolic for life. A peasant proverb mentions, "Chie hat pane mai non morit — one who has bread never dies". The Easter Holiday is one where bread brings itself into the symbolic realm. Bread is significant for religious purposes. Luisa Fois described bread in her life after she was married and for the Easter holiday. The bread was made into a cross to represent the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Since they were married, they needed to eat it together. They would share their lives now, and they must share their "cross" together (their life's burden) as well. "Bread was a product of their union, and its shared consumption reaffirmed their interdependence". From this we gather that bread also displays a message, rather than being an item purely for consumption and nutritional purposes. Two kinds of Easter Bread are described in Counihans article. One contained two points, and an egg covered with a cross. "The egg and the points that recall birds in flight speak of fertility, sexuality, and procreation — basic themes in Easter and its pagan precursors". The second bread was designed to have no overall shape, but was rather baked to encircle an egg, with the initials "BP" put on it. The initials BP stand for Buona Pasqua or Happy Easter. "Letters rather than forms express meaning. Letters are symbolic of civilization and ... meaning".
A kulich is a traditional Russian Easter Bread. Kolach is a traditional Czech bread made at Christmas in the shape of a ring. Usually, three rings are stack on top of each other to represent the Holy Trinity. Ukrainian Easter Bread is called Paska, which is a rich, white bread decorated on the top with symbols, including crosses, flowers, braids, wheat, or other designs representing aspects of Orthodox and Eastern Catholic faith. Babka is a Ukrainian and Belarusian bread also made at Easter. Rather than being broad and round, like Paska, Babka typically is tall and cylindrical. It frequently contains raisins, may be iced on top, and is much sweeter than Paska. Babka usually is only made, like Paska, to celebrate Easter Sunday and the rising of Christ.
Romania and Moldova also have a traditional Easter bread called Pasca (The term “pasca” is Easter in the Eastern Orthodox faith, similar to Pâques in French. It is derived from the Hebrew "pesah".). The Romanian Pasca bread is made with cheese (and may also include fruits, nuts, or chocolate for decoration). It will always be found alongside another traditional sweet bread which Romanians make for Easter and Christmas called cozonac.
A bread roll is a small, often round loaf of bread for one person. Bread rolls are commonly served as a meal accompaniment (eaten plain or with butter), or else – cut transversely and with a filling placed between the two halves – used to make sandwiches similar to those produced using slices of bread.
There are many names for bread rolls but the real term to use is batch, especially in local dialects of British English. Originally, these originated with bakers terms for different forms of bread roll depending on how the dough was made and how the roll was cooked. However, over time, most people have come to use one name to refer to all similar products regardless of whether it is technically correct or not.
Bread rolls are common in Europe, especially in Germany, in Italy (called panino or panini) and in Austria. They are equally common in both Australia and New Zealand, and very common in Canada. Just like English, the German language has many local and dialectal terms for rolls, such as Brötchen (Rhineland and parts of Northern Germany; non-dialectal high German uses this term too), which is the diminutive of "Brot" (bread), Rundstück (in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein), Semmel (Bavaria, most parts of Saxony and Austria, from Latin similia wheat flour, originally from Assyrian samidu white flour; the Hungrarian term zsemle derives from the same root), Schrippe (in Berlin and parts of Brandenburg), or Weck (especially in Baden-Württemberg, Franconia and Saarland). In Germany and Austria, there is a large variety of bread rolls, ranging from white rolls made with wheat flour, to dark rolls containing mostly rye flour. Many variants include spices, such as coriander and cumin, nuts; or seeds, such as sesame seeds, poppy seed or sunflower seeds. The Doppelweck is a Saarland specialty which consists of two rolls joined together side-by-side before baking.
An Italian form is a small loaf of ciabatta which can be used to make a panino (or panini in plural). In Sweden they are called (frukost)bullar ("breakfast buns"), in Denmark and Norway rundstykker (literally "round pieces") and are comfort food eaten with butter and any kind of topping (marmalade, cheese, ham, salami) for special weekend breakfasts.
Paska (from Ukrainian Паска, meaning Form) is an Easter bread eaten in Eastern European countries including Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, and parts of Bulgaria. It is also eaten in other countries with immigrant populations from Eastern Europe, including the US, Canada and the UK. Paska is made with milk, butter, eggs, flour and sugar locally (Romania) having an inside made with different ingredients (most commonly cottage cheese and/or sour cream, eggs, sugar, raisins, rum). An egg and water mixture is used as a glaze.
The Christian faithful in many Eastern Christian countries eat this bread during Easter. Christian symbolism is associated with features of paska type breads. The inside of paska can be a swirl of yellow and white that is said to represent the risen Christ, while the white represents the Holy Spirit. In Romania the inside is a sweet cream with eggs made, most frequently from cottage cheese and/or sour cream. Other versions include chocolate, rice or even savoury mixtures based on cheese. A version is made with maraschino cherries added to symbolize royal jewels in honor of the resurrection of Jesus.
Paska is eaten with "hrudka", also called syrek, a bland sweet custard similar to cheese made from separated eggs and milk and beets mixed with horseradish (chren/hrin) and kielbasa (in Polish) or kovbasa (in Ukrainian).
It is believed to have been brought to the United States by both the Mennonites and the Molokans, and is served in the Midwest along with other Eastern European foods such as pierogi and kielbasa.
American paska is made from a mixture of flour, cream, sugar, eggs, butter, and yeast cakes. A cheese topping made from cottage cheese and egg yolks is sometimes spread on the slices. It is often frosted with creamy white frosting (icing), decorated with rainbow sprinkles. White raisins used in parts of the U.S. are said to symbolize the "living bread coming down from heaven". The bread is traditionally eaten at Easter.
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