Grain porridge ran onto a hot stone and became bread, but it took a few more years after this Neolithic period “invention” to master the art of baking bread.
For centuries, our ancestors had mixed ground grain with water to make porridge, until one day it was accidentally tipped onto a hot stone. The porridge became firm; it tasted better and could be stored and transported. Bread had been invented, and its creator’s name was “chance”.
It still took a few thousand years, however, until man had mastered the art of baking bread, some 5000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians were the first to systematically cultivate grain; their settled lifestyle allowed for the construction of ovens, and their inventiveness the cultivation of yeast. Besides unleavened bread, it became possible to bake leavened bread at any time.
Bread and Games
The Romans combined the Egyptian sophistication with efficiency by building mills, kneading machines and large bakeries – everything they needed to supply enough bread to the games and their legions, who baked their own bread on the road, so that they did not come to a halt.
In their wake, the art of bread baking crossed the Alps, local cereals were used, and every town, every small state developed its own bread varieties, which meant that the bread diversity in Central Europe was far greater than in the Mediterranean. White bread dominated the Mediterranean region, but north of the Alps, until the 19th century, it was reserved for special occasions. The bread of the rich.