Bread is the most widely-eaten food in the world. It is a staple food served and consumed in almost all households every single day especially in Western countries such as in Europe and the United States.
It’s no different in the Philippines.
Here, the top five most commonly consumed foods are rice, salt, cooking oil, coffee and bread, according to a food consumption survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
Here the Pandesal stands as the unofficial king of pastries, alongside iconic variants like pan de regla, ensaymada, pita, and the mamon.
But bread not only fills our tummies, but also gives us the nutrients our bodies need.
Furthermore, bread is an essential source of carbohydrates aside from other starchy food such as pasta, rice, potatoes, breakfast cereals and other grains like rye and barley. Beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and corn are carbohydrates, too. All these provide fuel for the brain and energy for a person to function properly throughout the day.
By combining together a dough of flour and water, a baker could have a very tasty creation; crispy on the outside that would make someone lick lips, fluffy and soft in the inside that would melt on the tongue.
And don’t forget the inviting aroma of freshly-baked goods and pastries wafting along the street when you pass by cafés starting to open their businesses, as you stroll around and drink your joyous cup of morning coffee.
As early as 30,000 years ago, it is believed that baking bread has already been an activity done by pre-historic humans, thus, making it one of the oldest food made by humans.
From water and grains, they used to prepare the liquid gruel then turned them solid by frying them on heated stones. Traces of starch have been discovered in ancient mortar and pestle-like rocks, according to a 2010 study by the National Academy.
It is believed that the ancient Egyptians were the first to use yeast to leaven the dough. The Romans invented two types of ovens which are the brick oven and the “three-legged” pot. Also, the Normans used crop rotation practices and built watermills and windmills for improved flour production.
Bread-making further evolved from the 18th century up to the present where roller flour mills, loaf tins, steam powered mills, then steel roller mills were invented; from wooden and coal burning brick ovens to gas ovens; and then finally, highly-automated flour mills with steel rollers were created in the 20th century.
There are traditional bread recipes that have been passed down from the ancient generation to the next in many of the varying cuisines worldwide.
Bread is usually made from wheat, but other cereals, including rye, barley, oats, maize, rice, millet, and sorghum can also be used.
Today, endless varying flours and other ingredients such as additives like nuts, fruits, margarine and dairy products such as cheese, butter, eggs, milk, and cream helped evolved bread-making to make different types, shapes, sizes, and textures of these deliciously-baked goods.
Chemical but safe additives such as artificial color and flavoring are used also, to not only improve apperance and taste but for improved shelf life as well.
Some of the best types of bread are croissants, baguettes, brioche, sourdough, focaccia, ciabatta, rye bread, garlic bread, whole-wheat bread, pita, naan, banana bread, bagels, multigrain breads and so much more.
Bread is also considered an important ritual element in some religions, including Christianity and Judaism.
Initiated by the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners (IUBC), this occasion has been observed throughout the years as dedication to a staple food that has been crucial for people around the world to survive since the break of dawn.
Also, this celebration was started to commemorate the anniversary of the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Created in 1945 to defeat hunger, it has a Latin motto, Fiat panis, which means “Let there be bread”.
Furthermore, World Bread Day also coincides with World Food Day.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this bread!