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Bread Maker Reviews

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Bread - One of the Oldest  Foods 
Making Bread with a Bread Maker 
Making Different Types of Bread  
Nutritional Benefits of Bread 
What Preservatives are in Bread  
Is Baking Your Own Bread Cheaper 
Busy Families Need a Bread Maker 
Can Store Bought Bread be Harmful



What Ingredients are in Bread

Bread is one of the oldest baked foods in existence and is in fact one of the first foods after mankind began farming. Moving from a hunting and gathering society into an agrarian one was a major step towards civilization. Bread is four ingredients: Flour, water, yeast and salt. Any ingredients after these four change the basics of bread on many levels, but originally it was these four ingredients.

Flour: The flour, likely barley flour, was the first ingredient. Barley is one of the oldest grains, much older than the wheat used to make common breads, like loaf bread. The first breads were unlike modern bread in many ways. The first breads were likely flat, very dense and rather bland due to a lack of salt. The first breads, with hand-ground flour, did not have uniform consistencies we see today. As the grinding methods and technology changed and increased, the bread texture changed. The discovery of allowing bread to sit and rise was likely more of a serendipitous accident due to the availability of wild yeast cultures.

Yeast : This is what makes bread rise. A quasi-living cell, yeast would dine on the natural sugars in the flour and create carbon dioxide gas. The bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, trapped in the now-rising bread, would cause the bread dough to inflate. It was not until much later that yeast was discovered and understood as an agent in the rising action of bread.

Gluten: This is a protein created when water is mixed with wheat flour. Gluten gives bread its chewiness. Gluten, with its elastic properties, assists rising because it efficiently traps the carbon dioxide bubbles created by the yeast.

Salt: This final ingredient, activates channels on the tongue to enhance taste buds. Leaving salt from a bread mixture will result in a bread that will be flat-tasting and not at all palatable. The old chestnut, "This is better than sliced bread!" has some historical truth to it. Until the late 1920's, bread was sold in full loaves; the buyer was expected to slice the bread themselves at home. A German-American, Otto Frederick Rohwedder, is credited with inventing a machine that would slice and bag bread. With this invention, housewives around the world rejoiced. 

Modern breads are much different than their ancestors. Most breads in the U.S. are baked in large, commercial ovens and the ingredients include stabilizers and preservatives to maximize shelf life. Europeans, like the French and Germans, still buy their breads daily as the bakers in their respective countries do not add preservatives like the American commercial bakeries.

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