What is corn bread made of

The story of bread

The crux of the matter is - the crust. It can really crack when you bite into it. No question about it, we Germans often miss "our" crusty bread abroad. The art of baking bread comes from ancient Egypt

To enjoy this story you need: a slice of fresh bread or a crunchy roll (both without toppings), a little time and of course a good portion of knowledge. Because you can't just read a text about bread. You have to smell it, taste it, word for word and bite for bite. So now please - bite your bread! Crisps on the crust, nibbles the soft crumb.

The story of bread

And chew your way into history: Thousands of years back to the Neolithic Age, when our ancestors started growing crops. It was then, around 11,000 years ago, that the history of bread began.

The farmers first planted einkorn and emmer, the ancestors of our wheat, so to speak, whose grains they ate raw. Until at some point they came up with the idea of ​​crushing the grains and soaking them, in other words mixing them into a pulp. This is how they mauled, this is how they mashed and one day evidently dumped the pudding on a hot stone. And lo and behold: the porridge dried to a flat cake! Not thick, but firm and durable and can therefore also be used as a snack on the go.

The ancient Egyptians invented bread

"Real" bread, however, was probably only baked by the ancient Egyptians - you can learn a slice of their inventive talent anyway. Because in this high culture, people built their first bakeries, developed ovens and baked in heated clay pots. That was around 6000 years ago!

Above all, however, the Egyptians discovered how bread becomes fluffy - by allowing the dough to stand and thus rise. Tiny yeasts and lactic acid bacteria, which occur naturally in the air, ensure what is known as fermentation: they multiply in the dough, releasing carbon dioxide and loosening the dough in this way.

He is increasing in volume. This chemical process is also the name giver for our word "bread". The term comes from the Old High German "prôt", which means something like "fermented". And the ancient Egyptians kneaded more than 30 types of bread from this fermented material - which at that time earned the people of the Nile the nickname "bread eaters".

Today there are more than 300 types of bread in Germany

This would suit us Germans pretty well nowadays: "There are over 300 types of bread in this country," says Kai Budde from the Technoseum in Mannheim, where the exhibition "Our daily bread ..." can be seen. Not counting: 1200 small baked goods such as rolls and pretzels. And maybe, probably even, bakers bake many more different types.

The German bakery trade is currently checking this with a bread register on the Internet. All regional specialties are recorded on the website www.brotregister.de. Experts compare the recipes and decide which types of bread are actually their own and which are not. Regardless of the number that comes out in the end, one thing is already certain: In no other country on earth is there such a diversity as in Germany!

The Romans also had bakeries

Well, this would be a good place to take another bite of your bread. So as food for the journey. Because in order to understand where the many types of bread in Germany come from, we travel back in time once more, this time to the ancient Romans. The handicraft made its way to Greece and from there to the Roman Empire via the Israelites, who had copied the art of baking bread from the ancient Egyptians.

"The Romans already had real large bakeries," says Kai Budde. They also developed stone rotary mills that made it easier to grind the grain. However, they found that the wheat they were trying to grow did not sprout in the wet north. A new grain was needed! So they tried a wild plant that had previously been misunderstood as a weed: rye. Its flour colored the bread darker, but it also withstood the damp and cold climate beyond the Alps and was easy to plant and harvest even in what is now northern Germany.

So people now bake with wheat flour, with rye flour or with a mix of both. So they invented many new recipes and varieties, and bread became a staple food for everyone. In the morning, at noon, in the evening, with soup, with vegetables, with meat or on its own - bread was always served. And it tasted different from place to place.

There is another reason for the variety of breads: in the late Middle Ages Germany was like a patchwork of countless independent cities and duchies. Customs and customs developed within the borders - and so did breads. Exactly the wealth has persisted to this day - also on these GEOlino pages: With our recipes you can once again feed your way through the history of bread!