It was initiated by the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners (UIBC). The observance is dedicated to an essential food that has been of important around the world since the dawn of agriculture.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. It is possible that people used starch extract from the roots of plants to cook a primitive form of flatbread as early as 30,000 years ago. Grains became the mainstay of making bread with the dawn of Neolithic age. The ancient Egyptians are believed to be the first to use yeast to leaven the dough.
Bread is the staple food in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and in European-derived countries, whereas rice is the staple in East Asia. It is usually made from wheat, but bread can be also made from other cereals, including rye, barley, oats, maize, rice, millet, and sorghum. In many cuisines, there are traditional bread recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Since ancient times, bread has had significance beyond mere nutrition in many cultures, where it is a metaphor for basic necessities and living conditions in general. In some religions, including Christianity and Judaism, bread is an important ritual element.
Bread in different culture
Bread is a popular food in almost all cultures of the world, with an ancient history and ritual uses that go well beyond economics: bread is a symbol, a bond, a value.
There is one food that definitely unites most of the civilizations of the world: bread.
Prepared in a many different forms for thousands of years, in very different and distant parts of the world, it is a crucial of the human diet across many cultures. Cereal products, bread, buns, pizzas, pastas and desserts are the staple of most of the world’s population. The carbohydrates which are rich provide energy and nourishment just to face the day; they also contain proteins, salts and vitamins essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Different types of breads
There are thousands of types of bread, all different according to the ingredients used, the techniques of their processing and cooking, forms, contexts of use, and so forth. Here we take a look at some of important breads which are used by most of the people in Britain.
- Sliced wrapped. With many different varieties including white, brown and whole meal, the sliced wrapped loaf is convenient bread which makes perfect toast and sandwiches.
- Rolls. Many different varieties, shapes and sizes ranging from crusty white rolls to soft whole meal.
- Sandwich. Large flat-topped loaf baked in a lidded square tin.
- Soda Bread. Flat, round, heavy loaf usually marked into quarters and risen with baking powder, not yeast. Soda Bread comes originally from Ireland.
- Stottie. A flat round large bap from the North East of England. The Geordie stottie has a fluffy texture and was often traditionally eaten filled with bacon and pease pudding.
Popular world breads
Here is a list of breads which are very common in the world.
Baguette. Originally from France, the baguette is now sold around the world.
Bagel. Originally from Eastern Europe, the bagel is characterized by its ring shape and almost chewy texture
Foccacia. It’s from Italy. Often punctured with a knife to relieve surface bubbling, or dotted
Naan. From Northern India and Pakistan
Tortilla. A flatbread which originated in Mexico
Chapatti. A south Asian bread, usually eaten with cooked dhal, vegetable curry, chicken and mutton curry dishes; pieces are used to wrap around and pick up each bite of the cooked dish
Brioche. Originally from France. A highly enriched French bread, noted for its high butter and egg content, commonly served as a component of French desserts.
Some key nutritional facts about bread
You may have heard potential benefits of low-carbohydrate diets and some reasons to avoid bread, but bread products can be the foundation of a healthy, low-fat diet. They provide essential nutrients, and can be a satisfying component of any meal. Here are a few benefits of bread that we are going to mention.
- Protein. Bread is a low fat source of protein which is required by our bodies for growth, renewal and repair.
- Fibre. We need to eat more fibre. Bread contains fibre.
- Energy. Bread is relatively low in calories. An average medium slice of white bread contains 77 calories, brown contains 72 calories and whole meal contains 79 calories.
- Iron. Iron is needed to transport oxygen round the body. Most young women do not eat enough iron; therefore most young women should probably eat more bread.
- Calcium. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. Bread provides over 10% of the calcium in our diet.
- Sugar. Most breads are low in sugar which is important for healthy teeth and maintaining a healthy weight.
Bread, when consumed in proper quantities, not only does not contribute to weight gain but it can also give our body plenty of nutritional values necessary for its good functioning!
Bread as a sacred food in religions
In many cultures, bread has a significance beyond mere nutrition from the West and Near and Middle East because of its history and contemporary importance. And it has symbolic roles in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. During the Jewish festival of Passover, only unleavened bread is eaten, in commemoration of the flight from slavery in Egypt.
Bread is also significant in Christianity as one of the elements of the Eucharist; see sacramental bread.
It is a symbol in every religion because it is both a way of sustaining the body and a reminder of basic blessings. The Synoptic Gospels present the Last Supper as a Passover meal and suggest that the bread at the Last Supper would be unleavened. However, in the chronology in Gospel of John, the Last Supper occurred the day before Passover suggesting that the bread would be leavened.
There are at least seven words referencing bread in the Hebrew language version of the Old Testament and three Greek words referring to it in the New Testament. Mentioned at least 492 times in the original languages of the Bible, it is easy to see how important bread was to everyday life.
In Bible times (for most people in and near Israel), bread was a part of a basic diet that included vegetables, fruit, olives and cheese. Meat and fish were seldom eaten because of their need animals alive.
Similarly, in Islam bread is considered as a basic food and a highly respected source of nutrition and blessing too. Imam Ali said: “Respect bread as God has placed the blessings of the heavens and the earth in it. He was asked: how should we respect bread? Imam replied: it should not be cut with a knife or be left on the ground” and “respecting bread is to start eating as soon as it is placed on the table (and not to wait for other foods).
Bread is also mentioned as the best of foods.
The holy Prophet said: “The best of your foods is bread and the best of your fruits is grapes.”
In another tradition in Islam: “Man’s body is based on bread.” Muslims would avoid putting bread under something like a plate. And another important thing about bread is that disrespecting bread is one cause of poverty. Imam Ali said: “There are twenty things that cause poverty, one of them is disrespecting bread”.
Imam Sadiq, one of Shia imams, also states, “The foundation of the body is based on bread.” For this reason, the instrumental role of eating in the direction of worship and performing obligations has been pointed out in narrations, as the Prophet said: “O’ God, grant us abundance of bread and do not let us be separated from it, for without it we will not be able to perform ritual prayer, fast, and perform our divine obligations.”
However, bread is a sacred food in all religions especially Abrahamic ones. For this reason, we should select the right type of bread for our diets. One that is healthy, halal and properly made using either wheat or barley as these are both two valuable gifts God has provided man with.