Watch It Rise
Some people just have the touch. They can walk into the kitchen, put all the ingredients together, and turn out light, fluffy bread and pastries. Others are not nearly so successful. Their baking products are flat, hard, and generally inedible. Chemistry will only take you so far. That indefinable “something” is still needed for baking success.
Why It Matters
- Bread making has been with us since the beginning of time. Although we cannot tell with certainty when that first loaf of bread was baked, we do know that the ancient Egyptians considered it an important skill. One of their contributions was the development of a “starter” material, a portion of bread dough that was mixed with new dough to start the raising process. This practice is the origin of the sourdough bread technique used today.
- Today there is a wide variety of breads available in grocery stores. In addition, you can purchase entire books on how to make bread. At the store there is the usual white bread, whole wheat bread, bread made of various other grains, raisin bread, dinner rolls, and many other flavors and forms. For the person who wants to make their own bread, the possibilities are almost endless. Packaged materials are available that require little more than water to be added. The truly adventurous can bake bread “from scratch”, assembling and mixing all the different ingredients to produce a unique product. For those who don’t want to do all the mixing and kneading required for a successful outcome, there are bread machines that do all the hard work for you.
- Baking powder came on the culinary scene in the 1800s. The first really successful baking powder was developed by Alfred Bird in 1843. Various innovators worked with different formulations to come up with today’s product. Initially, baking powder consisted of two packages: one of calcium acid phosphate and one of sodium bicarbonate. Later improvement led to the production of a single-package backing powder.
Can You Apply It?
Use the links below to learn more about baking bread. Then answer the following questions.
- When was the first process for milling wheat developed and by whom?
- What materials did the ancient Romans use for baking bread?
- What is the role of yeast in bread making?
- When was yeast first used for baking bread?