The desire for the whitest, most refined bread continued through the modern era, and later advancements included the sifting of flour to remove the bran and the germ and the bleaching of the flour itself. The New York Public Library’s “Lunch” exhibit notes: “Nineteenth and early 20th-century cookbooks and magazines gave highly specific advice about lunchtime sandwich making.For ladies and children, the bread was supposed to be sliced very thinly and the crusts removed.However, within two years, 90% of store-bought bread was factory sliced.Progress led us to what was supposed to be the ideal loaf of bread: white, ultra-fluffy and pre-cut into even slices.A 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences discovered traces of starch (likely from the roots of cattails and ferns) in prehistoric mortar and pestle-like rocks.
Initially, many companies were convinced that housewives wouldn’t be interested, and his bread-slicing machine wasn’t installed in a factory until 1928.Bread, in all its various forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world.Not only is it an important source of carbohydrates, it’s also portable and compact, which helps to explain why it has been an integral part of our diet for thousands of years.Examples include Middle Eastern pita, Indian naan and Central American tortillas. Yeast floats around in the air, looking for a nice place to make a home—like a starchy bowl of flour and water.The first leavened bread was likely the result of some passing yeast making a home in a bowl of gruel.If you feel inspired to replicate a prehistoric recipe like I was, I’ll warn you that Bob’s Red Mill does not make a “Cattail/Fern Blend Flour”—yet.Settle for a “10 Grain Breakfast Cereal” full of ancient grains, like millet, coarsely ground.Finally, the paste would be cooked on heated rocks.But how did humanity get from this prehistoric flatbread to a fluffy, grocery store loaf?There were three primary innovations that created “modern” bread. Leavening Leavening is what makes bread rise into a light and fluffy loaf.Bread without leavening is a known as flatbread, and is the most closely related to mankind’s first breads.