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  Not Just Wine Issue 2, November 2002   
BreadBread Wine ParadeWine Parade ClassifiedClassified  Contents 
Issue 1, October 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 3, December 2002

Bread

Despite its apparent simplicity, bread is certainly one of the most important heritage of the entire humanity

 Bread is probably the most important food for the entire humanity, there is no doubt about it being a real and true richness and an extraordinary resource. Unfortunately we do not know the name of that real genius, or the name of those geniuses, who invented bread and baked it for the first time. What is certain is that bread had an amazing development during the course of its history, however its ingredients did not change that much and they are almost the same nowadays. We who live in such a frenetic society and afar from the times when the bread was “invented”, take the presence of this food in our lives as granted, we do not probably realize its real value and importance. Although we do not know who was the first man, or woman, to bake bread, he or she was surely someone who had a vivid and amazing imagination: thinking about milling wheat in order to get a powder, flour, and then thinking of making a dough from it by using water and then to bake it with fire, it may seem as something evident and expected, anyway we have to admit it is one of the most ingenious inventions of the entire history of humanity.

 Talking about bread, about a particular kind of bread, would make much not sense, because this food is such an integral part of almost every culture of the world and every country has its own traditions and bread styles: simple bread, leavened bread, unleavened bread, special bread, seasoned bread and so on, without even considering the many shapes bread can have. If we consider the many variations and local breads we found in every country of the world, the list is practically endless. No matter the variety of breads produced in the world there is one thing which is common to every one of them: goodness. Bread, compared to other foods, is pretty simple, however, no other food is capable of evoking such emotions and charm as the fragrance and the smell of baked bread. This surely makes bread special as well as unique, and it is indeed. If we also consider the real power of bread which is capable of satisfying so much people's hunger all over the world, for its simplicity and goodness it is usually considered as a “first-aid” food for all those people who, unfortunately, are living in conditions of hunger and desperate need. This is not something unimportant, for this reason only, bread deserves the highest consideration and the highest praise: bread is certainly a noble and precious food, maybe the most noble food of them all.

 

Short History of Bread

 The first historical facts about bread we got to know are concerned to production of unleavened bread and they are dated back to about 10000 years ago. However it was in Mesopotamia, about 7000 BC, where man started using stones as tools in order to mill wheat and obtain flour, it was subsequently kneaded with water and the dough was baked in a fireplace. There are some archaeological discoveries, dated back about 4000 years ago, where they found some bread pieces in a village of Switzerland. Other archaeological discoveries were made in some tombs in Thebes, Egypt, dated back about 3500 years ago. It was in Egypt, around 2600 BC, that the most important discovery about bread production was made: yeast and, therefore, leavening. Before man learnt how to cultivate yeasts, he was used to keep a small part of the bread's dough, which was left in contact with air, and this allowed yeasts naturally present in air, to ferment this dough and this also had the consequence to sour it. This dough was added to the the dough used to make bread and this started the leavening process. Ancient Egyptians were probably the first ones to consider baking as an art, they consumed lots of bread and it was mainly the food of lower social classes. For this reason Greeks were used to call Egyptians “artophagoi”, that is “bread eaters”.

 Baking traditions were very common in Egypt and they were a common practices since 2500 BC, where the refined and elegant foods of noble and higher social class were opposed to the foods consumed by poor people, mainly bread which was seasoned with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. In ancient Rome, bakers were considered as very prestigious persons and bakery was considered very important as well as ritual and they even built ovens in temples. Romans improved wheat's milling techniques and they were the first ones to produce a special kind of flour that allowed, for the very first time in the history of humanity, to bake the so called “white bread”. It is believed that around 100 BC there were more than 200 commercial shops in Rome that baked and sold bread and, around 100 AD, they established a school of baking.

 During the course of its long history, bread has become more and more important for people's life and still today it plays an important and fundamental role in celebrations and religious rites in many cultures and traditions of many countries of the world. For example, bread is often cited in the Bible and it is considered as a food having a very high importance in rites and celebrations; the very same meaning is still used today and it is still fundamental for all the religions which have Bible as their Holy Book. Nowadays bread is spread everywhere in the world and every country, every culture and every tradition has its own bread styles as well as their typical ingredients. The process of the evolution of bread can be defined as in perennial development; thanks to its high popularity in the countries of the world, bakers are always creating and inventing new types every day: the history of bread is not over yet.

 

Classification and Production

 Bread is a product obtained by baking a leavened dough prepared with wheat flour, or other grains, water and yeast, sometimes salt may be added as well. Classification of bread varies according to every country where it is produced and each of them, more or less, has specific laws which regulate bread production and definition. The first category is about yeast usage, in this case we will have leavened bread, the most common type, and unleavened bread, usually shaped as buns and having little thickness. Other characteristics used to classify bread are color, crust type, friability and volume to weight ratio. Flour used to produce bread determines both the color and classification, the most common one used to make bread is wheat flour that gives “white bread” or bran flour, more rich in fibers, used to make a darker bread.


 

 Another important and vast category of bread depends on other ingredients used to make it, usually fats, flavors, spices and aromatic ingredients, which give the so called “special bread” or “flavored bread”. Typical fatty ingredients used to make flavored bread are lard, butter and oil, usually olive oil. Other ingredients used for the preparation of the dough are milk, beer, wine and yogurt. The availability of special breads is really impressive and vast and in the dough are usually added aromatic seeds, sometimes simply spread on the surface, such as anise, sesame, poppy and fennel. other ingredients used to prepare bread dough are sugar, raisins, hazelnuts, walnuts, many kind of dried fruits, such as apple, olives and sometimes vegetables such as onion. The list of ingredients used to make special bread is virtually endless, we can certainly say that the only limit for special bread is the fantasy and the creativity of bakers.

 Another classification of bred is represented by the type of flour used to make the dough. The most common flour used to make bread is wheat flour, however it can be mixed with meals and flours produced by other grains, such as rye, barley, rice, oat, spelt, corn as well as millet ad soybean. In this case the bread has the same name as the flour used to make it, such as “rye bread” or “soybean bread”. These grain flours or meals are usually mixed with wheat flour in variable proportions, however it may also happen to have breads exclusively made with a grain flour without using wheat flour at all. Another ingredient used sometimes for making bread dough is potato, which is usually boiled, and it usually allows bread to be saved for a longer time before it gets dried. Lastly, the production of bread can also be made by using durum-wheat flour, the same kind of flour used to make pasta, such as spaghetti, as well as extracts of malt.

 Preparation and production of bread is a relatively simple process where a dough made of flour, water and yeast is baked. This “simple” recipe requires a particular skill and mastery in every phase of the production, from making the dough to leavening and finally to baking. The most used flour for the production of bread is wheat flour which has, besides a good and pleasant smell and taste, a good amount of gluten, an elastic protein, which allows the making of a homogeneous, compact and elastic dough, a condition which is indispensable to obtain a good leavening and a good bake. The production of bread starts with kneading flour with water and then some yeast is added, therefore portions of dough are shaped according to the kind of bread to be made, and then are allowed to stay in order to leavening to take place. Leavening is a fundamental process because it gives the dough volume. Yeast in dough has the purpose to transform, or to be precise, to ferment sugar contained in flour into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This gas, being trapped in the dough, forms internal bubbles and therefore volume. The most used type of yeast used to make bread is the so called “beer yeast”, whose exact name is “Saccharomyces Cerevisiae”, the same used for making beer. This process is followed by baking which also has the purpose of interrupting the leavening process, to fix bread's shape and to form the crust, which is, according to the traditions of each country, more or less friable and crunchy. Moreover, the baking process has the purpose of improving the flavor of the dough. The time needed for leavening and of baking largely depends on the ingredients used to make the dough, quantity of yeast and of the kind of bread to be made.

 

Bread and Cooking

 Bread is probably the food that more than any other else, has been source of a multitude of other products: “children of bread” make a long and vast list of products renowned and appreciated everywhere. Among the most famous “children of bread” we have the huge multitude of buns, cakes, as well as the renowned and colored pizza. Bread is also an essential element of a certain kind of modern nutrition, because of lack of time, or worse, because of those frenetic social impositions, which force people to have frugal and quick meals; the vast availability of sandwiches filled with many ingredients, practically represent the most common choice. Bread is also used in many recipes, either sliced or, when it is dried, ground and added to many mixtures and fillings as well as for breading meat and cheese. Bread is also used to make excellent soups: bread is not just an important ingredient of many recipes, it can also be consumed alone, with nothing else, bread is really a fundamental ingredient of cooking of all times.

 Bread despite it can be considered as a modest and simple food, is always capable of adding a genuine and good touch everywhere it is being used: just consider the simple toasted slice of bread seasoned with excellent olive oil, a simple and genuine gourmet food very popular in central Italy. Bread is really the most worthy and deserving food which represents that philosophy based on the most supreme goodness of the genuine and simple things. Even today, despite many millennia have passed since it was “invented”, bread is still a firm and indispensable element of the nutrition of the people all over the world; there are few human inventions that proved to resist the course of time and to remain an important element of daily life: bread is surely one of them.

 Perhaps the success of bread was determined, and continues to be determined, by its very important content of nutritive elements and because of being an important source of calories. 100 grams of bread (about 3½ ounces) gives about 260 Kilo calories, in case it is flavored or “seasoned”, the quantity of calories can also be as twice as that. Bread is mainly composed by the 8% of proteins, a good amount of starch, about 56%, it is an important source of carbohydrates and therefore of energy. Contents of fat is pretty low, about 0.5%, this figure is of course referred to simple bread, that is the bread made without using any fat. Bread belongs to the food category of carbohydrates and, according to nutrition research, carbohydrates should represent about 60% of total calories consumed during the day. This is another good reason that makes bread a noble food because of its capacity of allowing humanity to survive and to live in good health. Lastly, bread has the most genuine and efficient simplicity along with the most fragrant goodness: the joy of smelling the aroma of just baked bread, to eat it alone, while it is still warm, with no other ingredient, evokes in anyone pleasing sensations and allows us to understand the reason why when we talk about simple and tasty foods, we inevitably end up saying “it is as good as bread!”.

 






 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 2, November 2002   
BreadBread Wine ParadeWine Parade ClassifiedClassified  Contents 
Issue 1, October 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 3, December 2002

Wine Parade


 

The best 15 wines according to DiWineTaste's readers. To express your best three wines send us an E-mail or fill in the form available at our WEB site.


Rank Wine, Producer
1 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 2000
2 Muffato della Sala 1999, Castello della Sala
3 Masseto 1998, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
4 Gevrey Chambertin DB Boillot 1998
5 Cape Mentelle Semillon Sauvignon 2001
6 Rioja Reserva “Pagos Viejos” 1997, Bodega Artadi - Cosecheros Alavares
7 Chardonnay 2000, Planeta
8 Champagne Ayala Brut
9 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac 2000
10 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1995, Fattoria dei Barbi
11 Meursault 1er cru 1999, Perrieres Louis Latour
12 Monbazillac Cuvée Prestige 1996, Château Theulet
13 Terre Alte 1999, Livio Felluga
14 Crozes Hermitage Rouge Meysonnsiers 1998, Chapoutier
15 Hamilton Russel Pinot Noir 2000

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 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 2, November 2002   
BreadBread Wine ParadeWine Parade ClassifiedClassified  Contents 
Issue 1, October 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 3, December 2002

Classified


 


In this column we will publish your classifieds. Send your classified, with a length up to 255 characters, to our staff




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